How to create the perfect entertaining space with your new fitted kitchen
With the easing of lockdown restrictions finally on the horizon, many of us are turning our thoughts to just how much we’re looking forward to seeing all our friends and family again. We’re at that stage where we’re constantly planning parties in our head, getting excited about eating, drinking and laughing like it’s 2019 again!
If we know anything about gatherings, it’s that without fail, everyone always ends up congregating in the kitchen. When you’re hosting it’s inevitably where you spend a big chunk of your time, making food or ensuring your guest’s glasses are constantly topped up, and so it’s usually where your guests end up too. The kitchen is the heart of the home and always the hub of the party!
So how do you create a kitchen that’s perfect for entertaining? Lots of people think it’s just about having a large open space, and yes that definitely is an advantage, but there are lots of other things you can do to make your new kitchen ideal for hosting guests.
We’ve designed many new kitchens for homes in Oxfordshire and Berkshire and have learned a thing or two about how to create the perfect entertaining space, so here are our top tips for making a party-perfect kitchen.
Open up the space
There is no getting away from the fact that large, open-plan kitchens lend themselves really well to entertaining, but the trend for open-plan living is a fairly modern phenomenon and so not all houses have these proportions. In the past our preference was for more formal dining, so many houses have separate dining rooms and slightly smaller kitchens. As the way we live changes, so can our houses and dividing walls can be taken down to open up the space, creating larger rooms and a more modern layout.
If a dividing wall is not load-bearing it can be taken down very quickly and inexpensively to totally transform your home. Even if the wall is structural it can still be removed, as long as the right supporting materials are installed in it’s place. If you’re in any doubt as to whether a wall is structural or not we would always recommend consulting a structural engineer before you do any work to check it out for you and advise you on how best to proceed.
We’ve designed kitchens for lots of clients who are looking to do just this, and are able to design your new room before the wall has been taken down, allowing you to see just how your beautiful new kitchen will look, before you’ve removed a single bit of plaster. It’s always really exciting to see a new kitchen design when a room is going to be so fundamentally changed. We offer a high quality CAD design to everyone as part of our free homes design visit service.
Add an Island or breakfast bar
If space allows, we would always look to include an island or breakfast bar for those who desire a really sociable kitchen – they are a total people magnet! Creating a peninsula in your new fitted kitchen not only looks great, but is a fantastic way of creating zoning within the room, which is really important, particularly when dealing with larger spaces. We believe that each part of your kitchen should have a purpose to really make the most of the space, which is why zoning is key.
On a very practical level, islands and breakfast bars are a great way of introducing extra storage and food preparation space, which is something you can never have too much of. They can also house things like your sink, making it a focal point, or even your hob, which makes them a really great tool for making cooking a sociable endeavour. There’s nothing more frustrating than being separated from your guests as you go off to cook, and this way you can cook and chat at the same time!
Make it comfy
Gone are the days when kitchens were all hard surfaces and functionality. Yes, those things are still really important and very much needed, but for a kitchen to be a properly sociable space it also needs to exude comfort. For us the best way to achieve this is by really thinking about your seating. Adding a lovely comfy sofa with lots of soft, textured cushions is a really popular choice with our customers, and also really helps with the zoning mentioned previously, creating a dedicated chill-out space, ideal for relaxing as the evening of entertaining progresses.
Bar stools are another really popular choice with our clients as they’re very non-imposing on a room but offer great seating options both for entertaining and when having informal meals at home (it’s called a breakfast bar for a reason). There are so many varieties available on the high street, from industrial metal to luxurious velvet, so you can achieve whatever look you like.
One of our favourite comfy seating options is banquette seating, which is not only super-cool, but really cosy. Banquette style seating can be purchased from any number of high street or online shops, but it can also be built bespoke really quite easily and inexpensively by a skilled carpenter. Building bespoke not only means you can utilise slightly unusual spaces effectively, but also allows you to use the same materials as your new fitted kitchen, giving a very streamlined and up-market look.
Choose the right dining options
When selecting your dining options, we encourage our clients to think about how they live and the type of entertaining they do, as this can really inform your decisions around what to choose. For families, those who enjoy hosting dinner parties, or large family affairs we don’t think you can go wrong with a dining table and chairs. They are really versatile and can be moved around however you need them to be in order to accommodate your guests (we’ve all drafted in the emergency chairs every now and again). If your style is more informal and you’re more likely to host drinks and snacks than a sit-down meal, then bar style seating could be more the thing for you.
Choose practical surfaces
Now, we know we said earlier that kitchens aren’t all about hard surfaces anymore, and that is absolutely true, BUT, selecting practical surfaces can actually help to make you a more relaxed host! Unfortunately when it comes to entertaining it is almost inevitable that spillages will occur, and guests will put drinks down without coasters(!), so durable, easy to clean surfaces make a lot of sense. If you’re big on entertaining, we would recommend selecting work surfaces made of laminate or quartz. These materials are incredibly hard wearing a low maintenance, as opposed to things like wood, which although absolutely stunning, require quite a lot of care and attention to keep them looking their best.
Think about your gadgets
If you want to make your kitchen just that little bit more party friendly, why not think about adding a built-in sound system, or a wine fridge? Or if dinner parties are more your thing, how about a fancy integrated coffee machine, or perhaps a proving drawer? Tell us a little bit about how you like to use your kitchen and we can recommend some really cool gadgets that’ll make your life easier and impress your guests!
Pick the right appliances
Double ovens, American fridge-freezers, low noise extractor fans… there are a wealth of great appliances out there that can help to make your new kitchen a haven for entertaining. Whether you struggle to fit all your food in the fridge, or are always battling to hear your guests over your noisy extractor fan, let us know what your current kitchen complaints are and we will do your very best to source an appliance to help you overcome them.
We’ve got access to some fantastic appliance manufacturers and are often able to source goods at lower prices than are available to customers directly, so you can get more bang for your buck.
Design your lighting
Lighting is one of the things that is often overlooked, sometimes only being considered when the electrician turns up and asks where you want everything. In our view it’s something which deserves real thought as it can help to build mood and ambience in your kitchen, as well as being functional. For example, bright lights are great for when you’re cooking, but can be a little harsh when you’re sat relaxing with a glass of wine, chatting to a friend.
When it comes to lighting, we’re going to use the ‘Z’ word again… zoning. When planning your lighting scheme, think about the different sections of your kitchen and how they will be used. We would usually recommend a separate switch for each zone, or section. For areas which are likely to be used for relaxing, particularly in the evening, think about adding dimmers as these will allow you to control the light and the mood. You might also choose to have different style of lighting in each section, for example many people opt for pendants over breakfast bars or islands, and downlighters elsewhere.
Bring the outside in
Often kitchens sit at, or look out to the back of the house, with lovely views of the back garden. If this is the case for you, think about how you can link the inside and outside of your home to bring both spaces together. Indoor/outdoor space is fantastic for entertaining as it provides lots of space for people to mingle, without feeling that anyone is separated.
If you are redesigning your kitchen, think about the placement of windows, and if space allows, bi-fold or other patio doors. Kitchens which open out onto a deck or patio are just fantastic for entertaining in the summer months, and provide great additional light in the darker winter period.
If you’re toying with the idea of adding a new window or patio doors, let us know and we can build it into our CAD designs, giving you a real sense of how your room could be transformed.
Why not get in touch today to book your FREE home design visit? We cover the Oxfordshire and Berkshire areas, including, but not limited to Didcot, Abingdon, Radley, Oxford City, Wantage, Wallingford, Benson, Berinsfield, Goring, Pangbourne.
With Kitchenroom you can always be assured of:
1. First class personal service from start to finish
2. 18 mm Rigid (assembled) wall and base units with doors already fitted
3. 10 cabinet colour options (so not just white / ivory or oak) to match the colour of the kitchen
4. 2 mm ABS edged cabinets
5. Soft close Blum doors & drawers that come with a lifetime guarantee
6. 25 year guarantee on our units / 10 years on Solid wood kitchens / 7 years on MDF kitchens
7. A typical lead time of 3-4 weeks
8. We can supply only or supply and arrange to fit your new kitchen where we will take care of the whole project from start to finish
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