The kitchen has long been considered the heart of the home. In most cases, it is the nerve center, where everything happens. Meals are prepared and served, friends gather, homework gets done.... it is the space that does it all! Does your kitchen function for you in all of these ways? Is it beautiful too? Your kitchen CAN be beautiful and functional all at the same time. Here are my 8 tips for making your kitchen beautiful and functional, whether you are remodeling it or just trying to make it better.
Keep your counters clutter free. Nothing makes a kitchen feel more cramped than clutter. Keep your counters free of other "stuff" so you can actually use them for their intended purpose - cooking, preparing and eating.
Set up stations. Are you a coffee drinker? Have a coffee station; an area where you keep all of the equipment and ingredients for making the best cup of coffee. Do you cook a lot? Have a prep area where you can chop and prep all of the ingredients and toss skins, stems, and seeds right into the trash. Even if you aren't remodeling, you can do this.
Use every inch of storage. Whether or not you are remodeling, you can still make the most efficient use of space. There are cabinet inserts for pots and pans, lids, tupperware, canned goods, etc. If you are remodeling, your cabinet maker can help you design these. If you are working within your existing space, any of your big box home remodeling stores have these that are easy to install on your own.
Have a place for everything. This goes back to using every inch of space. Have a place for all of your utensils and kitchen gadgets. If you don't use it, get rid of it. There is no need for unnecessary clutter in a hard working space such as your kitchen.
Choose your counters carefully. Evaluate the type of material you want to use for countertops very carefully. For example, marble is beautiful, but it does stain. Soapstone can scratch easily. Granite is hard wearing but the veining is not going to be symmetrical. You have to decide what material to used based on your individual wants and needs.
Be honest with yourself. If you know you don't cook, don't splurge on top of the line, restaurant grade appliances. You can still have a beautiful range (or refrigerator, or microwave) without breaking the bank. If you know you aren't tidy, don't put in open shelving.
Have a focal point. Just like any other room, you want your kitchen to have a focal point. Do you want it to be a stand out island? Maybe a stunning tile on your backsplash? Choose what part of your kitchen you want to make people notice, then make it amazing!
Light it up. There's nothing worse than a dark kitchen. You can't see what you are doing or how good the food looks. Add over head lighting if you are remodeling and put it all on a dimmer. That way it isn't too bright if you don't want it to be. If you are working with your existing kitchen, think outside the box. Maybe add a cute little lamp in the corner or install a dimmer switch for existing lighting.
Those are my 8 tips for having a beautiful and functional kitchen, but I have to leave you with one more that is ALWAYS my #1 belief when I create a space.... design it for how you live your life! That is the epitome of livable luxury!