How To Create A Child-Friendly Kitchen

Whether it’s the school holidays, or just your day-to-day life filled with school runs, meal times and play times, your kitchen needs to be a family space for all ages to enjoy. As family spaces change, and we embrace open-plan living, we are tending to spend more time together in one room, and that room is often a multi-purpose kitchen/dining/living room, often with access straight onto the garden. 

Bespoke kitchens specialist Harvey Jones looks at the best way to design a kitchen that tends to the needs of the whole family.

Child-Friendly Zones 
A popular choice with some families is a table, breakfast bar or island that is central to your kitchen – you can keep an eye of the children whilst keeping another eye on dinner. It’s a place where kids can safely be to help you cook, work on their summer holiday projects or just sit and chat to you. If you do want to include a hob on your island but also want it to be a place where children can perch, then think carefully about the island’s arrangement and the kind of power you choose for your hob. A breakfast bar that’s placed at slightly higher level than the rest of the island will guard against small fingers creeping close to an exposed flame or boiling pans, while an induction hob with no exposed flame and safety indicators that flash to indicate if a zone is still hot is a good choice. A table at a slightly lower area but attached to one side of the island is also a clever option. Just make sure there’s plenty of room for chairs to be pushed back without being in the way of any kitchen traffic.

When the school holidays come around, it’s difficult to expect your children to not play and run around your home – and your kitchen is no exception. It’s likely to occur at some point. A layout that encourages children to stay out of the cooking and prep areas is best to keep them out of harms’ way. Think about placing your fridge to one side out of the main body of the kitchen so they can safely access it to get their own drinks or ice-creams for instance. If you want them to help you lay the table in time for tea, then it’s also worth placing a china cupboard on the rear side of an island or to store things in a dresser near the table so they can help without getting under your feet as you dish up.

Watching where they are going is probably the last thought on the children’s minds when running and playing. Consider adding gently curved profiles to work surfaces on islands and end runs near entrances and exits to the room. Not only will it protect little ones’ heads, it’s also handy for protecting adult hips, too! Making sure all areas of the kitchen are well-lit to avoid dark corners where accidents might occur is also a good precaution.

Fresh Air
The weather is anything but reliable, even when it’s supposedly ‘summer’. It can be difficult to tear children away from the computer or games console and get some fresh air once in a while. A kitchen that flows onto the garden, with bi-fold doors and flooring that sieges seamlessly from one space to another, avoiding any trip hazard, is a great way to encourage your small ones to venture into the great outdoors.

Keeping It Clean 
A space that you can hide away washing appliances, muddy shoes, coats and any other clutter is ideal for a busy family. A utility close to the kitchen is a great way of ensuring your kitchen is as clutter free as possible. If you have the space then adding a sink will mean you can wash off muddy shoes and pets, too, so there’s no risk of traipsing mess through the kitchen. If a utility room isn’t an option because you don’t have the space then a good alternative is to incorporate a cloakroom-style tall cupboard close to the garden entrance. You can use this to hold outdoor paraphernalia including shoes and coats as well as for storing outdoor games – balls, skittles and deflated paddling pools for instance.

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