The task of creating your dream kitchen will take you straight to the heart of your home design scheme. Of all the rooms in which you and your family live, the kitchen has to do more multi-tasking than any other. After all, this is a workspace where food is stored, where meals are prepared, and where they are sometimes also served. It’s the most likely place where neighbors will comfortably perch when they drop in for a quick coffee and a chat. Your kitchen table might take on alternative roles as the control hub for homework assignments, or the repairs center for mending punctured bike tires or damaged toys.
Given all these requirements, how do you find a way to balance the demands of modern living and your desire to make your kitchen traditionally simple and homey? Here are five ideas for you to think about that might just help you to achieve a perfectly poised position between the two.
- Form and function
The idea that form (how well something looks) follows function (how well something works) has been one that has been debated by architects for many years. On balance, the idea that form follows function is quite a good rule of thumb for kitchen design. For example, in terms of “function”, the position of chief working areas, such as stove, refrigerator and sink, should be such that it’s easy to move between them without being obstructed. Traditional kitchen design sets great store by this triangular relationship. However, in the modern kitchen, you may well want to pay more attention to “form” and how things look, plus you probably have extra appliances to address some of your specific kitchen jobs; these might include a coffee percolator, electric toaster, or waffle maker.
- Hide the clutter
The best solution to dealing with what could become unnecessary clutter on your countertops is to make sure that you have built in adequate storage so that you can tuck away smaller appliances once they have been used. Contemporary cabinets and drawers can be customized to match your kitchen style, so whether you want to create a Victorian, Edwardian, or Early American ambiance, there are certain to be suitable units to meet your requirements.
- Let in the light
Once you’ve made sure that you can keep the countertops clear, your kitchen needs to let in as much light and air as possible. This is one modern change that you can make that is healthier for the whole family. In Victorian times, many kitchens were located in the basements of upscale households, so little daylight penetrated. You probably won’t want to replicate that particularly gloomy atmosphere, so aim to show off the clean lines of your window frames and use timeless and elegant window shutters, such as café-style shutters, to make the most of the natural daylight in your home.
- Angles and lines
Just like the most desirable window treatments, designs for traditional kitchens place a lot of emphasis on the architectural lines and aesthetic appeal of work surfaces, cabinets, and overhead wooden beams, where these are in place. In general, such schemes promote a sense of how robust these features are and how they have withstood the test of time. Modern kitchen designs often exploit other qualities, such as those presented by shiny, streamlined surfaces. To successfully combine both components, aim to keep your kitchen cabinets chunky and solid, and their surfaces sleek and smooth. Make the most of your opportunities to introduce contemporary recessed lighting above work areas, matched with a traditional chandelier to enhance your dining area.
- Your favorite bits and pieces
When all is said and done, this is your kitchen, and you’ve got to love it and live with it. For that reason, you should consider what you’d like to put on display in the heart of your home and simply follow your instincts. Sometimes, an old-fashioned kitsch mirror is a successful addition; or a contemporary piece of wall art simply “works” in a particular space. The important thing is to take ownership and to make sure that you stamp your kitchen with the artefacts that are important to you and your family.
Balancing the demands of contemporary living and your wish to make sure that your kitchen is as cozy and comfortable as traditional versions is not so difficult when you take on board the fact that there are some relatively small things that you can do to make this happen.