Tips for creating a social kitchen
Jona Lewie famously sang “you will always find me in the kitchen at parties”. However, we pose the question — why not the whole family and friends having a social gathering at a home enjoy the festivities in the kitchen? You can do just that by creating a social kitchen and making this room the true heart of your home. Here’s how to go about setting up this space…
Take care when opening up your kitchen
While a social kitchen should be designed in a way that it opens out into the living room — and possibly the garden too (which we’ll go into more detail shortly) — you want to take care about just how many barriers you eliminate. Ensure you maintain traffic flow while still creating a sense of openness with some half-walls or arched openings.
As your kitchen will be integrated into other parts of your home, you also want the visual effect to continue through the entire space. To achieve this, pick a key colour and apply this hue from the living room to the kitchen with cushions, artwork, covers, furnishings and kitchen utensils.
Allow the kitchen to open out into the garden
Obviously, this advice will only apply if you have a garden and a kitchen that is situated in a right next to it. If this is the case, then you can make the kitchen feel like the centre of the home by affording the opportunity for the room to open directly into your outdoor living space whenever the sun shines and the weather heats up.
Bifolding doors are a great way to open all of your kitchen onto a home’s terrace quickly — BBQ parties that go long into the evening will never have felt so entertaining.
Splash your kitchen in natural light
Natural light will flood into your kitchen if you allow the room to open out into the garden. Even if you don’t opt for this design approach, you should make sure to splash your kitchen in as much natural light as possible.
A kitchen which shines will be instantly pleasant when guests lay eyes on it, while a bright space will make people want to feel uplifted compared to one that is designed in a way that makes it dark and dingy.
It doesn’t take much to increase the amount of natural light that can enter your kitchen either, as simply decluttering windowsills and choosing windows that can open out fully will both work wonders.
Establish attention-grabbing activity areas (if you have kids)
This one’s steered towards parents — if you have kids running around your home then you want to make sure they are safe around a social kitchen that will be more open for them to access.
To keep their attention away from hot ovens and drawers containing sharp knives, create activity areas that will keep them entertained for hours during a social gathering. Think beverage and snack stations to expansive playing areas, all of which are positioned within a parent’s eyesight but away from the main kitchen work triangle of the fridge/freezer, cooking areas and sink.
Add a kitchen island & breakfast bar
There are two physical features that should be added to your social kitchen above anything else — a kitchen island and a breakfast bar. This is because both will give your kitchen key focal points, but will also serve different purposes.
A kitchen island will be the central counter of your new open-plan kitchen, with its location making it ideal for guests to sit around and socialise with you while you go about preparing food. Breakfast bars, meanwhile, are fantastic informal settings for people to enjoy a nice snack or a refreshing drink.
Finish off both your kitchen island and breakfast bar with a set of comfortable and matching bar stools.
Work in technology & charging stations
If you want to make your kitchen a central hub for socialising, then you will want to avoid people going into the room where the TV is if you’ve invited them round for a big sporting event or some must-see entertainment.
Solve this problem by either fitting a TV somewhere in your kitchen or in a place of the home that can still be viewed from the kitchen. That way, the conversations can still be enjoyed and the drinks poured without the risk of anyone missing a crucial goal being scored or the showbiz moment of the year going down.
While we’re on the topic of technology, it’s also wise to subtly add charging stations into kitchen cabinets and drawers or upgrade your kitchen’s electrical outlets with built-in USB ports. That way, you and guests can keep tablets, smartphones and other electronic devices full of juice — especially if they are being used as a source of entertainment.
By now, you should have plenty of ideas to create a social kitchen that you’ll be eager to show off to friends and family. If you want more design inspiration for your kitchen though, be sure to visit our kitchen design page for lots of expert guidance and advice.