Open plan home layouts are currently very popular, kitchen-diners in particular. Historically, kitchens were as removed as possible from dining areas, but this trend died along with the idea that you should have servants to do the cooking. Now we want living spaces where we can cook and socialise with friends and family. And this is pretty understandable – no one likes being confined to the kitchen while the people they love enjoy spending time together in another room.
No day highlights this trend like Pancake Day. If you want your pancakes hot and fresh, it’s best to cook and eat them straight away. But as pancakes can’t really be bulk-cooked, it’s likely that the cook will end up churning out pancake after pancake, while everyone else enjoys eating them. If you’re all in the same room this isn’t so bad, but if the cook ends up in the kitchen on their own it’s not much fun.
If you’re unhappy with your kitchen and want to make it a more sociable area then we’re here to help. Pancake Day has inspired us to come up with 6 ways you can make your kitchen the ideal social space.
1. Invest in comfortable seating
Do you have seating space in your kitchen that no one wants to use? It might be that it’s just not very inviting. Kitchen seating is often made of metal, wood and plastic, which tend to be very practical but not particularly comfortable. By all means, still go for hard materials. But see if you can find seating with built-in cushioning. Or if you don’t want to invest in new furniture, have a look for tie-on cushions for your kitchen chairs, stool or benches. These will keep your kitchen chairs practical and make them comfier.
2. Do some reorganising
Convinced that your kitchen is just too small to be a sociable space? Then have you thought about having a shuffle around? One thing you could do is relocate your white goods. If you have a fridge, freezer, washing machine or dryer in your kitchen, think about whether you have somewhere else you could put them. Maybe your washing machine could go in your garage or you could turn a cupboard into a pantry with a fridge? This would free up some space in your kitchen.
You could also move around your worktops. Have you got a long, thin kitchen? If you do, you could move all your kitchen units to one side to make space for a long, thin dining table on the other side. Lots of people think that square kitchens are the way forward but there’s a lot you can do with a long, thin room too.
3. Create a breakfast bar
If you don’t have room for a dining table in your kitchen, have you thought about making a breakfast bar? This can be a great socialising space for coffee time or pre-dinner drinks. It can even be a dining space if there aren’t many of you. You can set up independent breakfast bars or add them to the end of island or peninsular units. They’re great pragmatic use of space when you haven’t got much to spare.
4. Use flexible furniture
Another great way to make your kitchen more sociable is to use flexible furniture. You may not have space for a full-length dining table when you’re loading the dishwasher and are in and out of the fridge, but what about when dinner’s ready? Get an extendable table that’s small enough for your kitchen while you’re cooking but will pull out to accommodate all of your guests when it’s time to eat. You’ll have more mingling space for your visitors when they’re relaxing with a drink and still be able to fit a table in when you need it.
5. Let the light in
It’s no secret that natural light can do wonders for your home. It can make rooms feel bigger and more enjoyable to be in. So use light to invite people into your kitchen.
There are lots of options for you to choose from. If you have limited wall space but no rooms above your kitchen, you could fit roof windows. This is great use of space and could actually let more daylight into your kitchen than if you fitted conventional windows. Or if you can’t do anything structural, try removing any cumbersome blinds or curtains from your windows or prune any overshadowing trees or bushes in your garden.
6. Open up to the outside
If your kitchen’s too small for socialising and you can’t expand it internally, think about opening it up to the outside. This is really effective if your kitchen borders your garden. Installing bi-fold doors in an external wall will allow you to open up the room in the summer, letting in light and creating lots more space. If you can’t fit a table in your kitchen you could put it outside and make one internal and external sociable space. And while it may be too cold to do this in the winter, your kitchen will benefit from the increased daylight the bi-fold doors let in all year round.
So if you want to adjust your kitchen to make it more sociable, there are lots of different things you can do. Whether you’ve got plenty of time and money or you’re working with a small budget, there are plenty of ways you can alter your kitchen to make it the ideal sociable space.