The kitchen has long been recognised as more than just the space in the home where the cooking takes place. Phrases such as ‘the hub of the home’ and ‘the heart of the home’ are often heard to describe the kitchen. It is certainly the biggest social space in the modern family home. It’s become the room where the whole family meets and eats. But many homeowners also want their kitchen to be the ultimate entertaining space too. So, here are some tips to help the dream become a reality.
There are things you can do with any existing kitchen layout to make it more entertainment-friendly right now. In addition, there are several things to bear in mind if you are considering a kitchen upgrade anytime soon. These will help you to transform your kitchen into the ultimate entertaining space.
The Ultimate Entertaining Space: Clear the decks and clear out the clutter
If you want to accommodate guests in your kitchen, it needs to be as spacious as possible. Obviously, you can’t just magic more space out of thin air. However, you can make the kitchen appear more spacious if you make it as uncluttered as you possibly can. One way of doing of this is to adopt a ‘seasonal’ approach to your kitchen. Just as you might swap things around to accommodate your summer and winter wardrobe, you could do a similar thing in the kitchen. It can certainly save a lot of space.
Of course, the secret to creating space is having storage solutions. Ensuring that you have plenty of practical storage is a big part of getting any kitchen design right.
Eliminate smells for your ultimate entertaining space
One thing is an essential if you want your kitchen to become the ultimate entertaining space – a good quality extractor fan. The last thing you want is to overwhelm guests with cooking odours. Any open plan space also needs good air circulation. If not, even the smells from last night’s cooking can stick around and make their presence felt the day after.
The good news when shopping around for an extractor fan is that you have plenty of options. Modern models tend to hang over the central hob, positioned to instantly catch odours. If you are looking for something a bit more minimal and subtle, you can choose extractor fans that can be concealed either beneath a wall unit or even in the ceiling. You can even opt for ‘pop-up’ models that can be placed into the worksurface when not being used. Ceiling-mounted extractors can be intrusive. If you have an island, a down-draft extractor set into its surface – or an integrated ceiling-mounted model – can provide the ideal solution.
Get the layout right – The advantages of a kitchen island
A kitchen island can really become the heart of the kitchen. It can be the place to relax with a coffee, check the latest on social media, and become the perfect homework station for the kids. Of course, it can also be the epicentre of any entertaining.
It is the place that guests will naturally migrate to during any social gathering. Getting a few extra bar stools in – especially for special occasions – will enable more people to socialise together around the island.
Not only does a kitchen island create a social centre for the space, it also ensures that guests will be kept safely away from the cooking areas. To this end, it is always a good idea that the food preparation area faces the seating area. This means that they won’t encroach upon your cooking space.
The importance of flow
When it comes to the layout of an entertaining kitchen flow is vital. You need to consider where the food preparation and cooking areas will be. Think carefully about where you want guests to be seated in relation to cooking spaces. You need to think about whether you need to have access to all areas when your guests are there.
If the cook of the house wants to maintain a bit of privacy, a split level island could be the answer. A conventional island keeps guests away from the cooking activity. However, they will still be able to see everything. A split level design will still offer all the seating you need and it will also mean that the all the chef’s work is not clearly in view.
Squeeze in extra seating and build in a bar
Even if your kitchen isn’t particularly large, you can welcome more guests by being creative with how you squeeze in more seating. A banquette set-up or bench seating can provide the answer. An island can effectively become a drinks station/bar area. As long as you have the space to display drinks and glasses, you have created an impromptu bar area. It will become a place where guests will gather.
If your guests are going to be seated at the dining table, comfort is vital. Standard dining chairs should have the necessary ergonomics but upholstered chairs will provide comfort for longer.
The ultimate entertaining space needs great lighting
You should never underestimate the importance of good kitchen lighting for entertaining. There are certainly plenty of options available to you. Candles and lanterns can be added to create genuine authentic and atmospheric mood lighting. However, the importance of in-built lighting should not be discounted. Pendants positioned over an island or the dining area will always be a winner.
For variety, ceiling spotlights are the perfect choice. On one hand they can light the whole space to perfection. But not only that, with remote controlled lighting the ambience can be changed and altered as you see fit – depending on the mood you want to create. Task lighting is important for food preparation. However, if you incorporate low level lighting too, it will create a softer and more relaxed feel once all the cooking is complete.
Lighting really does set the mood and is a good way of making guests feel relaxed. There is a balance to be struck. Harsh and overly-bright lighting is to be avoided. At the same time, you don’t want the room to feel too dark and dingy. Perhaps the ultimate solution is a layered lighting scheme. With careful planning and integration of pendants, downlight, LED strips and the odd table lamp here and there, it is possible to create a space that is still nice and bright but also warm and welcoming too.
Get kitted out to entertain
If you at the planning stage of a new kitchen, it is a great idea to factor how much entertaining you are planning to do into your thoughts. If you know that you are likely to be socialising a lot at home, this should impact on your choice of appliances.
For example, a large fridge-freezer is probably a great idea – as is a dishwasher and even a double oven – if you have the space. Of course, this will push up the your initial outlay. However, it will turn out to be money well spent in the long run and it will make entertaining a whole lot easier.
Similarly, for the homeowner who entertains on a regular basis, a decent wine fridge could be the perfect investment. Serving wines at the perfect temperature is a clear indicator that you are serious about entertaining. As an alternative, a second fridge could also be incorporated into the design of an island. If this is the case, keep it on the working side of the island so that is kept out of the view of your guests.
Creating the ultimate entertaining space is often down to careful forward planning.
The Final Word – There is no set formula for entertaining
Finally, it’s worth highlighting that at the end of the day there is no one single set entertaining formula. While it is true that there are several things you can do to make your kitchen the ultimate entertaining space, in the end the thing that makes a party its host and guests. Atmosphere is something that is created by people rather than by materials. It’s true that the backdrop and lighting is pivotal in creating the right ambience. However, it will be the range of delicious food and a great choice of drinks that will help people to relax and enjoy themselves, rather than how good or bad the lighting is. Essentially, the real star of any party is its host!
If you are thinking of a kitchen upgrade to turn your kitchen into the ultimate entertaining space, get in touch with the Kitchen Warehouse team. We will always be happy to help with any questions you have.