The kitchen isn’t just for cooking. Family members go in and out of the kitchen throughout the day. It’s a place where everyone can talk, relax, read, work, and play. With that in mind, here are some tips for making your kitchen family-friendly.
Kitchen safety is always important, and this is especially true if you have young children. Children can get hurt on kitchen tables with sharp, pointed corners, so opt for round tables or tables with rounded corners instead. Store sharp utensils up high and out of reach of children. Keep easily-broken items out of reach as well.
Place a mat near the sink to keep water from spilling directly onto the floor and posing a danger. When choosing a material for your kitchen floor, think twice about materials such as ceramic tiles, which can be slippery. If your floor is slippery, look into anti-slip solutions such as sprays that increase traction.
Think about safe seating, too. For example, choose chairs over stools, since children can easily fall off of stools. Chairs are also more stable than stools, which can tip over.
If kids enjoy using the kitchen to play, set up low cabinets and drawers to hold toys, art supplies, etc. You can even set up a special area for play and study. Breakfast nooks are great for this purpose, but really, you don’t need anything more than a table and chairs. Just make sure to set up the area away from the work triangle, so that it doesn’t interrupt the flow of kitchen traffic.
Put out bowls of fruit and other snacks so that kids can help themselves when you’re busy. Another idea is to get a bottom-freezer refrigerator so that kids can get ice pops and other frozen snacks on their own.
Then there’s technology. If you and your family enjoy watching television, consider setting up a TV in the kitchen. You may also want to get outlets installed near the counter, island, or play area, so that family members can use laptops and other devices. Tablets and smartphones can provide portable entertainment, display recipes, and let you talk to friends while cooking.
If children or pets are moving around in the kitchen, spills and messes are bound to happen. You’ll want countertops and other areas to be made out of an easy-to-clean material. Solid surface, such as Corian, is a good choice. So is granite, stainless steel, quartz, and laminate. For floors, linoleum, vinyl, and laminate are all easy to clean.
Finally, consider setting up a family message center in your kitchen. Hang up a chalkboard or pegboard where you can display shopping lists, meal schedules, and reminders.