While it may be cliché to say that the kitchen is the “heart of the home,” when children are present, the sentiment behind it holds true. Designing a kitchen that’s kid- and family-friendly requires some careful consideration. If the kitchen in your home is the busiest room in your house, it’s important to childproof the kitchen like you would any other space in the house.
Creating a kid-friendly kitchen encourages a space in your home where kids can engage, learn, socialize and become more connected with other family members. But most common kitchens are designed without childproofing in mind. Think sharp corners, flammable opportunities and hard surfaces.
If your family is thinking of including children or already includes children, here are several essential design elements that comfortably accommodate your growing family while still leaving plenty of space for cooking and socializing.
Plan for growth
Babies don’t stay babies for long. One minute, they’re crawling around and suddenly, they’re climbing on countertops wanting to help. To make your kitchen more kid-friendly, its interior design and the fit out solutions you will be using should consider several factors like the number of children, their age, and how the family uses the space.
As your children grow, the needs of the kitchen will change, too. While younger children will require a space to work without getting in the way of your cooking or cleaning, teenagers may be more inclined to require a computer. It’s recommended that you allocate zones to make the space more multi-functional.
A great design element that incorporates child-friendly zones while factoring in the development and growth of your family is a kitchen island.
A kid-friendly kitchen island should be multi-tiered and multi-purpose so that younger children still have a space to play or assist with cooking and cleaning without needing to rely on stools, which can be dangerous if they’re left unsupervised. This also provides older children a seated workspace where they can spend time doing homework or simply socializing.
A kitchen island aesthetically breaks up the kitchen area, minimizing the risks of collisions and ensuring a safer environment for all.
Include kid-friendly materials
Small, sticky hands will make quick work of white or high gloss surfaces like stainless steel. With young children present, these high gloss surfaces will quickly lose their stylish and sleek appeal. This will quickly leave you with a tedious chore, requiring you to do more work maintaining their shine, quality and finish.
With kids present, aim for surfaces that effectively conceal stains, grease or dirt. Materials like stone and wood are remarkably durable and made to withstand the rather destructive nature of children. Matte worktop surfaces like granite or laminate are also great for concealing considerable wear and tear.
While you’re considering kid-friendly countertops and surface materials, think about painting an accessible area like a kitchen cupboard or wall with blackboard paint. This will encourage their creativity and stimulate their development and growth. Not to mention, it’s a great way to add stylishly modern décor that’s aesthetically pleasing.
If you have dining or seating in your kitchen, banish soft, stain-attracting fabrics. Instead, opt for outdoor fabrics that are designed to resist stains and spills. They’re also easier to clean so no one will be crying over spilled milk.
Think about safety
The kitchen area is one of those spaces in your home that invites unwarranted potential mishaps to happen. With a flurry of activity constantly happening in the kitchen, the potential for mishaps to happen greatly increases once kids are involved.
During your renovation or fit out, take a second to consider how young kids would use the space. Viewing the kitchen area from their perspective enables you to pay particular attention to hazardous zones that may incite trouble. This can mean selecting kitchen appliances with child lockout settings and exploring kid-friendly appliances like induction stoves that generate no heat unless a pan or pot is on the burner.
At the minimum, you’ll want to round out countertop corners, keep hazardous products and sharp objects out of reach, install lockable cabinets and cover unused electrical outlets. Non-slip floors are also a must for a kid-friendly kitchen. Similar to countertops, opt for matte easy to clear surfaces like decorative concrete finishes which are easy to clean and can create a modern aesthetic appeal.
Provide easy access
One of the greatest joys of parenting is cooking with your children. It can provide some lasting memories and also motivates kids to learn an essential life skill. The extra cleanup left behind by their mess may be another story altogether.
Still, empowering kids to experiment and make their first pizza or bake their first cake is an essential part of parenting. Creating a space that encourages a lifelong desire to cook and bake begins with the right kitchen design.
Installing low drawers and allocating a kid-sized workspace encourages kids to participate in all sorts of kitchen activities, from prepping meals to cooking and even the cleanup process. Giving kids easy-to-reach areas will become important as they get older, especially when they’re tasked with more responsibilities like preparing the dinner table or getting their own juice and snacks.
Kids love to be involved, so dedicate an accessible area like a lower kitchen drawer or cabinet that kids can fill with their own plastic utensils and kitchen tools. This fosters a keenness to be active in the kitchen and encourages them to learn where their food comes from and how it’s made.
A recipe for success
When it comes to children, your new kitchen design will need to balance three main concepts: organization, participation and distraction. With the right design and a little planning, you can create a space that works for everyone, from the home cook to the little ones aspiring to one day become the new cook.
CEO at Interact Group LLC
Interact Group is a design-led interior fit out company that aims to set new standards in the UAE interiors market. Driven by their dedication to total customer experience, the company’s mission is to bring truly specialized teams to complex design and fit out challenges, utilizing their unmatched ability to deliver spaces efficiently and above expectation.