Friday, April 24, 2015

Kid-Friendly Kitchen Design Tips

More than any room in the house, the kitchen is a true work area. So from layout to appliances, every design choice should be made with this simple idea in mind: efficiency trumps style.

Efficiency is especially important for families with kids. For families with little kids, in fact, a functional kitchen that eases the burden of cooking and cleaning defines the success of the project.

It's surprising, then, that so many parents seemingly neglect the issue of kids altogether when designing a new kitchen. In our experience, no matter the family's composition--from couples to families with five children--homeowners desire beauty first, functionality second.

The best kitchen designs promote efficiency without sacrificing style. At MKBD, we're proud to design and build both functional and fabulous kitchens.

In this MKBD project, the granite countertops, wooden cabinets, and extensive lighting positively scream, "beauty," but the practical design choices, like placing the cooktop and an extra sink on the long kitchen island whisper "functionality."

In the MKBD project above the design choices were made with kids in mind--albeit, older kids, who could easily help with dinner prep at the long kitchen island. If you're a parent, though, the fact remains: your design choices must account for your kids--young or old.

If you're a parent, you'd do well to consider a few special design tips for your kitchen remodeling project.


Obviously, the best kid-friendly materials will be those that are both impervious to scratches and stains and easy-to-clean.

For cabinets, we always suggest durable hardwood for every family. Hardwood is both beautiful and durable. Ideally, however, you will stain your hardwood a darker color to account for potential stains.

Make sure you choose an appropriate kid-friendly countertop material, too. Laminate is often suggested for families. Solid surface materials, made from solid synthetic materials, are a recent popular choice. But believe it or not, granite can be a great option, too. Granite can stain, but today's quality sealants eliminate this problem.

For kid-friendly flooring options, do not be afraid to look beyond traditional materials. You want to stick to softer materials that are easy-to-clean, like vinyl or linoleum. A recent popular option that can replicate the beauty of wood is natural cork.

A darker cabinet stain and sealed granite counters, ensure that this MKBD project is both beautiful and kid-friendly.

Kid-Friendly Design Choices

With kids in the kitchen, the work space can get crowded quickly. To ease traffic flow, then, design a layout with clear work (or play) areas that are clearly divided.

A kitchen island can work wonders for a busy family. The island itself can provide a barrier between the work area and the entertainment area, yet it can also provide a space for the children to help with prep work, or perhaps do homework while Mom or Dad is cooking dinner.
In this simple kitchen renovation, MKBD built a kitchen island with a range to accommodate the needs of a family with older children who share cooking duties.

The kitchen island can work for both young and older kids, yet if you want a uniquely kid-friendly kitchen, you might consider lower counters. Engaging kids with the cooking process is the best way to encourage them to actually eat good food, which is every parent's perennial challenge. A lowered counter just might bridge the gap between the adult world of the kitchen and the kid world way below.

As the Washington Post suggests:

"If you want your children to help with the cooking, you might want to consider a lower work surface. Standard kitchen counter height for adults is 36 inches; kids need a work surface that is about six inches lower. When ordering new cabinets, you can incorporate a section of lower counter into its design, and this will make some cooking tasks easier for you long after your kids have grown and left the nest."

We've designed family-friendly kitchens with lower countertops for the children and parents have offered glowing reports: "Our five-year-old son is actually helping and eating," one mother told us.

Music to our ears. No matter the height, just remember to use a child-friendly countertop material (see above).

And, of course, if you have small children, remember to install cabinet safety locks on cabinets within the child's reach.

Child-proofing the cabinets is a no-brainer, but you do not have to make the entire kitchen child proof. Just make sure you have storage space to keep some of the more dangerous kitchen tools out-of-reach.

Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate

If you have any questions about your next remodeling project, please feel free to call MKBD for an individualized consultation. Let's talk bathroom design and more! Call now! 215-355-4747. Better yet, check out our Free In-Home Remodeling Estimate on this very blog!

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