Inevitably, every gathering in your home sees an influx of guests visiting you in the kitchen. The space is a natural draw for socialization, and focusing an element of your interior design efforts with this in mind will make it even more inviting and comfortable for those with the urge to chat while you work. Conscientious placement of seating and counter space, as well as enlivening design features will have your guests leaving with warm memories and a sense of feeling welcomed.
Careful counter thought
Whether your kitchen is large or small, counter space always seems to be in demand real estate. Blenders, displayed mixing bowls, and stacked dishes take up a premium, but keeping the surfaces clear of clutter should be your main concern. If there seems to be no storage space within the cabinets for all of your cooking goodies, consider simplifying and reducing what you have. Take a good look at that old counter top microwave and consider upgrading to an under cabinet model, one that hangs down leaving a good chunk of counter space free.
Cooking utensils are a traditional counter-eater, with wide mouthed crockery designed to sit conveniently next to your food preparation area and stove. Consider moving these to a nearby drawer to free up space for your guests to place a glass of wine while conversing, even it is is only a temporary move.
The wonderful thing about kitchen designers is their ability to creatively place seating where you might not have thought it possible. Swivel bar stools placed against a center island alleviatesthe awkward bumping of knees against the sides, as guests can turn comfortable to face you while socializing.
Not only are bar stools possibilities for kitchen use, but so are straight backed, long legged ladder chairs for everyday comfort. These little gems can come in a variety of wood tones as well as being paintable, making them customizable to your color scheme. Often marketed as breakfast chairs, these inviting seating options beckon guests so they are not standing in your way while you try and cook.
Self service stations
There are plenty of options for smaller refrigeration units for specialized uses, far beyond the traditional college dorm room cubed fridge. Designed for everything from wine bottles to snacks, these appliances draw guests away from the food prep area and encourage them to help themselves.
On the same note, a creatively placed chopping block stand with ready to prepare nibbles creates a second social space where guests are encouraged to help without having the need for you to ask. Placed to the opposite side of the kitchen away from the cooking stove, visitors will feel compelled to assist, even if it’s to give them something to do.
When designing your kitchen space, give careful consideration as to how people and food will move through it. The rule of three applies, where food moves from the refrigerator to the stove, and then dishes from the stove to the sink. In between, a great many things may pass including pets and children, and these corridors seem to draw guests to stand in the way. Keep your passages narrow to suggest a standing body move elsewhere, while remaining wide enough for your everyday use.
If your kitchen has two entrances, focus on setting up your appliances and counter tops to serve both conveniently, with the access most used getting primary concern. Counter space for preparation and serving should be relatively close for moving food, but should also keep you as the host close to the action without having to leave to feel a part of the conversation.