Three Tips for Making the Most of Your Kitchen
by Brett Freeman
The kitchen is no longer just a place to cook meals. For many families, the kitchen is the nerve center of the home. It's where you gather after school or work. It's where the party always ends up. Oh, and it's also where you cook. When remodeling, keep your kitchen's vital but diverse role in mind.
Often the impetus to remodel comes from a sense that your kitchen just "doesn't work." This is generally because of a poor layout that forces you to move around a lot while you cook. When designing a floor plan, begin by remembering that your kitchen's primary function is as a place to prepare meals, and you want that to be as easy as possible. Therefore, identify your workspace--the place where you'll be doing most of your prep work. You want your entire work zone--the stove, refrigerator, pantry, sink, and garbage can--within two steps of your workspace. If you typically have helpers in the kitchen, consider a secondary workspace that is close to, but outside of, your work zone.
In the Kitchen but Out of the Way
Gone are the days when one person slaves away in the kitchen while family or friends await mealtime elsewhere. These days it is more typical to socialize while cooking, and you want to make sure your kitchen is conducive to that. Extending your countertop away from the wall to form a breakfast bar lets people sit and talk to you while you cook, while keeping them safely out of the way. In larger kitchens, the same can be accomplished with a kitchen island, but make sure to place the bar stools well away from your work zone.
How to Keep Cleanup Quick
Cleaning up after you cook is a drag, so make it easy on yourself. Whether your garbage can is a stand-alone, fits under the sink, or pulls out from under the countertop, make sure it is large enough that you don't constantly have to change the garbage bag. A garbage disposal also reduces rubbish and speeds cleanup. And if you have the space, consider adding a second dishwasher, particularly if you entertain frequently.
This Old House
About the Author
Brett Freeman is a freelance journalist. He also owns a landscaping and irrigation company in North Carolina. Previously he has worked as a beat reporter, a teacher, and for a home improvement company, and he used to own a bar/live music venue.
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