Many people consider the kitchen to be the heart of the home. Kitchens often take on a life and soul all of their own, far beyond being simply a practical room in which food is prepared.
When you have a family, the kitchen can easily become even more of an important room, especially when children reach an age where they're interested in food and cooking. But kitchens aren't often designed with families in mind, which can make them impractical or even dangerous with children running around.
Renovating a kitchen is a great opportunity to make it more child-friendly, so follow these tips and invite the youngest members of your family to help you cook.
Put things at the right height
Many children enjoy getting involved in cooking, especially baking. To encourage their interest, your design should include a table or work surface that's easy for them to reach. This lets you assign them tasks like stirring or kneading while keeping them in your sight.
Remember, too, that certain things should be kept well out of the reach of children. Sharp knives and any other dangerous pieces of kitchen equipment are best stored high up, so they can't be grabbed by small hands.
Make cleaning easy
If your children are helping you cook, you can probably expect them to make a mess. After all, that's a big part of the fun.
To make clean-up easier, choose work surfaces that are made from a material like quartz, which is less likely to stain because it's non-porous. Laminate is also a good option, especially if you want a wide choice of colours and finishes.
Create safe walkways
During the planning stage, work out a logical flow that allows children to walk through or around the kitchen while avoiding the particularly dangerous areas.
It's useful to let them wander through without going near hot pans and ovens.
Include a seating space
When they're not cooking with you, children still like to keep you company while you're working hard in the kitchen. Chairs and tables or a seating bar at a height they can reach means they can sit and talk, play or draw while you're busy cooking.
The best way to maintain a safe, clear kitchen is to include plenty of storage. Keep pans, appliances and food off surfaces as much as possible and there will be less opportunity for children to cause a mess or break expensive items.
Minimising kitchen clutter also makes the room safer, so you can worry less about what your kids are up to while they're hanging around.