For home cooks, the kitchen is essentially a culinary workshop. It’s where you can experiment with new dishes and improve on old recipes. Despite the need for functionality, your kitchen doesn’t have to be as boring and bare as a hard materials workshop. Your kitchen can be elegant and classy while also being a reliable workspace where things are allowed to get a little messy.
Getting the right mix between looks and practicality, however, isn’t an easy task. Planning the perfect kitchen goes beyond just choosing a stone benchtop and calling it day.
To help you out, we’ve listed five tips on how to balance your kitchen’s aesthetics and functionality.
1. Prioritise the working space
It’s important that you plan the layout of your kitchen before you consider adding aesthetic features. Spacing is an essential factor in setting up a functional cooking area.
To get this right, you need to pay attention to the three main kitchen stations: the sink, the cooktop and the refrigerator. These commonly used stations make up what is known as the kitchen triangle. You need to make sure that your kitchen is laid out in such a way that allows you to access this triangle with ease. This means each station needs to be relatively close to each other with no obstructions in between. At the same time, you need to have enough space in each station to be able to work properly.
Once you get the triangle sorted, then you can think about the particulars and the aesthetics of your kitchen. For example, maybe you want one of your stations to be on an island. Perhaps you’d like a breakfast bar in front of the stove. Since you set up a solid foundation by sorting out the triangle beforehand, you won’t have to worry about your aesthetic choices compromising functionality.
2. Choose the right benchtop
The benchtop will likely be the very first thing your guests will notice about your kitchen. Because of this, you need to make sure that you choose the right material for it.
There are plenty of material options when it comes to kitchen benchtops. You can get them in marble, steel, concrete, granite, porcelain or even timber. Each of these materials have their own pros and cons. If you find this range of options too overwhelming, it helps to categorise them into natural materials and synthetic materials.
Generally speaking, natural materials offer more pleasing aesthetics due to their rich, natural patterns. However, natural benchtops (especially stone benchtops) tend to be porous and therefore prone to staining and moisture damage. Engineered materials on the other hand are often non-porous, which makes them easier to maintain and clean. However, they don’t offer the same sense of grandeur as something like marble or granite.
When choosing a material, consider your design preferences. Will natural patterns fit your home decor, or will a simple engineered stone slab be more suitable? Also, if you were to get natural benchtops, would you be willing to put in the effort and maintain it regularly?
3. Invest in modern appliances
Nowadays, there are plenty of new devices that can help with the cooking process. There are automatic slicers and shredders, ice makers, air fryers and even smart refrigerators. All these devices will make your kitchen more functional and easier to use.
Additionally, most modern kitchen appliances tend to have a sleek, contemporary design, making them perfect for newer homes.
That being said, it is important to keep such appliances to a minimum. Having too many may clutter your kitchen space, which in turn, makes the cooking process a little bit more difficult. Not to mention, a cluttered kitchen is often not a pretty sight.
4. Be smart with your storage space
Managing storage space can be tricky. Sometimes you have bulky and awkwardly shaped appliances that can’t be put in a cupboard. And when you take them out, they simply take too much space on your benchtop.
Other times, you find yourself with too many utensils in a drawer, making it difficult to find what you need at any given moment.
To make your kitchen tools easier to access and to ensure that your benchtops aren’t cluttered, it helps to know a few important storage tips:
- Store things vertically
Storing things vertically allows you to use the empty space in the upper portion of tall cupboards.
- Use the walls
You can use hooks or a peg board to hang commonly used utensils and pans on the wall. It’s an efficient way to use kitchen space and gives you easy access to the tools.
- Open shelves
Open shelves are perfect for storing appliances that aren’t used very often. It’s also a great way to display special plates, bowls and wine glasses.
Minimalism is both a stylistic choice and a practical approach. A minimalistic kitchen won’t be cluttered with obsolete items, making it much easier to use, clean and maintain.
Though it sounds simple enough, minimalism can be tough to implement. This is especially true if this is your first time attempting to incorporate the philosophy.
If you’re struggling with minimalism, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Buy quality items
If you really need a particular tool, make sure to buy a product that’ll last for a long time. This will prevent you from having to buy more items in the future.
- Personal value
If you own something that is of sentimental value to you, you don’t even think about throwing it away. Everything else that doesn’t fall under this category or isn’t a necessity, you should consider donating it to a charity or binning it.
If you can’t figure out what you need and what you don’t, simply think back to the last time you used the item. If it’s been a few months or a few years, it’s probably time to say goodbye.
- Manage your emotions
Buying material things is a temporary fix that can distract us from worldly issues. Unfortunately, this is simply a coping mechanism that could lead to more serious problems in the future.
However, if you’re able to manage your emotions either through exercise, spirituality or even just through a simple hobby, you’re less likely to rely on such unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Hopefully, this list helps you visualise the kitchen of your dreams. If you need further advice, we recommend consulting professional builders, benchtop suppliers and interior designers. They should be able to help you with budgeting, layouts and installations.