Make the Heart of the Home Reflect the Way You Live
Families are like snowflakes: no two are ever quite the same. This is especially true when it comes to what a family needs out of the kitchen. Some families look for kitchen designs that allow for open movement into a living or patio, while others prioritize space-saving features like pantries and extra cabinets. Every family wants to find a kitchen to match its lifestyle, and thankfully that is much easier than you might think.
Here are five different kitchen ideas that are just as unique as the families that occupy them. First up are kitchens for...
1. Families That Like to Entertain
For some families, the kitchen is the true heart of the home, looking at the space as more than just the area where you prepare food. There are several different approaches to creating a kitchen suited for entertaining, starting with the addition of a spacious center island. An island allows you to add some casual seating right in the midst of the action, keeping the space inviting without taking away from anyone’s ability to cook. Frequently, these islands also include additional features to enhance its usefulness in the kitchen, such as built-in cabinets or even a secondary sink.
A modern kitchen: The open floor plan of a 4-bedroom, 4-bath Prairie-style home plan has a beautiful center island with additional seating, a sink, and built-in cabinets. The entire space is open to the living room, hearth room, and casual and formal dining areas (House Plan #161-1058).
Another approach to this kitchen design is to create what’s commonly known as a great kitchen, which is a kitchen designed specifically to make use of wide, open spaces to create an inviting, functional, and luxurious space. Think features like a secondary breakfast bar, pantries, or even an attached outdoor cooking area. The goal here is to encourage a steady flow between the kitchen, the dining area, and the living room, as you would find in an open floor plan. There are really no limitations to this style of kitchen, as its sole purpose is to encourage friends and family to gather comfortably, whether for eating, sharing stories, or enjoying an afternoon cup of coffee.
Open and breezy: A gorgeous kitchen in a 2-story, 3-bedroom Craftsman style home plan features a center island, peninsula eating bar, and walk-in pantry. Its design allows family, friends, and guests to walk around freely or gather in the living room or the breakfast nook, or to step out to the patio (House Plan #108-1789).
2. Two-Cook Households
Anyone who’s tried to cook more than one dish at a time in a standard kitchen knows that things can get very cramped very fast, such as during holidays or special events. For those families who love to cook together, a multi-station layout may be the best choice. The idea here is to create two separate, stand-alone cooking areas so that more than one person can prepare food at the same time without getting in each other’s way. Frequently, this is accomplished by adding an additional cooktop to a center island, usually electric instead of gas-powered, though this secondary cooking area can also exist along one of the walls, depending on the size of the kitchen.
One cook, two cooks? A 3-bedroom Shingle-style home plan provides a spacious kitchen where a few cooks can navigate the space smoothly – and enjoy the luxury of an island with a cooktop stove (House Plan #108-1521).
The cooking areas are just the starting point in these two-cook household kitchens, as they also tend to include additional storage areas in the floor plan to make access to food as easy as possible. It’s common to find extensive cabinetry, under-counter storage, walk-in pantries, and more in these kitchens. Everything is designed to make the entire cooking experience effortless and enjoyable for everyone involved.
Cooking afficionado? You will love this kitchen in a 2-story, 5-bedroom European-style home plan. There’s plenty of countertop space and sinks for food preparation on the center island and the eat-in bar – also built-in cabinets and a walk-in pantry (House Plan #161-1030).
3. One-Cook Households
Not every family needs to accommodate multiple chefs during each meal’s prep session, which leads to another common and highly functional kitchen design: the U-shape kitchen. As you might be able to guess based on the name, the functional areas of the kitchen are arranged in the shape of the letter U, frequently placing on element of the work triangle on each of the walls – this means that the refrigerator, the sink, and the stove will each sit on one wall, spaced perfectly for a single cook to have access to each element.
In some larger spaces, a center island may be incorporated into the U-shape, though the specific features of the island depend on the amount of space available. Sometimes the kitchen layout doesn’t allow for any seating, though it’s possible to integrate if one of the longer edges of the island faces the section of the kitchen that does not have a wall.
Another take: This sleek, modern U-shape kitchen design includes a modest-size eat-in bar.
4. Active Families
Big families typically need a lot of space to move around, and the kitchen is no exception. When looking at creating a roomy, open kitchen, the first step is to consider how it will connect with the other rooms in the home. This is easy when working with an open concept floor plan, as the main floor is typically structured so that there are no major obstructions between the kitchen and living areas. In other instances, adding space and flow to the kitchen may require knocking down a wall to give it more breathing room.
An open floor plan: With no walls dividing the kitchen/dining/living area, a family has plenty of space to move around and interact with each other. The floor-to-ceiling windows in this 2-bedroom, 2-bath Contemporary style home plan provide an abundance of natural light and views of the outdoors (House Plan #149-1837).
Many families also seek to incorporate windows within an open kitchen design, taking advantage of their surroundings to create an even bigger sense of space. If the home has a great view of the ocean, lush forestry, or even a big backyard, sliding glass doors can bring the outdoors inside without having to modify the home itself. It’s also common for open kitchens to include full dining areas as well.
5. Households Tight on Space
Many homeowners may not have much to work with when it comes to the size of the kitchen, making a galley kitchen design one of the best options. Galley kitchens are all about maximizing space, as they typically consist of a single area that runs in a straight line with the majority of the appliances and components on the two long walls.
Galley kitchen: Here’s an attractive and stylish galley kitchen with the typical design of appliances positioned against two walls and a space between big enough for one person to move around freely.
The exact positioning of the sink, stove, or refrigerator can vary, depending on the layout of the space. Some galley kitchens can place the sink or cooktop at the end of the galley way, with an ample amount of cabinetry above all of the appliances. These kitchens rarely have any eating areas incorporated but may extend off of a dining area. Also, some galley kitchens may remove the upper portion of one of the walls looking into the living space, creating a bar situation that can support some seating.
These five kitchen ideas are just the tip of the design iceberg. If you’re want to see more kitchens that match your lifestyle, make sure you check out our collection of house plans that put the kitchen layout front and center. Also, don’t forget to share your favorite kitchen layout tips and ideas in the comments below.
Footnote: The lead image in this article is the spacious kitchen in a 2-story, 4-bedroom Prairie-style home plan. For more information, click here. (House Plan 108-1791)