If your kitchen is already the heart of the home, designing it as a social hub will be a natural evolution. Begin by mapping out the lifestyle elements that would make your kitchen a dream place to be, whether you’re cooking up a storm or keeping company. Then, try these five design ideas to help effortlessly upgrade your kitchen from a functional, practical position to social scene.
1. Embrace open-plan living.
An open-plan kitchen/meals/living area creates an ideal social atmosphere. You can easily keep an eye on the party and an ear to the conversation, all the while cooking up a storm. Open-plan kitchen designs typically include an island bench or bench servery area, directed to the meals/dining area and potentially to an alfresco zone too. If your kitchen doesn’t already offer the benefits of open-plan living, chat to our kitchen designers about how you could create this at your Melbourne home.
2. Create a breakfast bar.
Whether it be part of an L-shaped wrap-around bench or worked into an island bench design, adding a breakfast bar is a great way to boost your kitchen’s social capabilities. It’s a place for guests to sit while you prepare appetisers, a spot to eat brekkie or savour a cuppa with a friend without leaving the kitchen.
3. Include bifold servery windows.
If your kitchen window overlooks an alfresco zone, the perfect opportunity presents to create bifold servery windows and open your kitchen up to an outdoor entertaining space. To transform this spot into a casual outdoor dining area, extend the kitchen bench outdoors beyond your servery windows and add bar stools.
4. Plan social living elements into your space.
Add in the little extras that will make your space the place to be: sleek modern-design comfortable stools for your breakfast bar, extra electrical points to charge devices and a built-in easy-to-access coffee machine.
5. Get the lighting right.
With all the other social elements down pat, you’ll want to light up your kitchen just so for all manner of social functions. Aim for good overhead lighting zoned to your cooking and meal prep areas, plus add feature lighting across your bench space for night-time casual dining and to give your social hub some pizzazz.
Richard Armstrong, a director of Melbourne firm The Makeover Group, offers more than a decade of home-renovation experience, including kitchen design and build. He has helped hundreds of Melbourne clients design and create modern kitchens to suit their tastes and lifestyle.