The kitchen is the hub of the family home, the place where families come together after a long day of work or school, from the oldest to the youngest. It is also the one room in the house that intrigues little people the most and why wouldn’t it? There are lots of drawers and doors to open, buttons to press and it’s the hiding place of all things yummy!
According to Kid Safe WA, the home is the most common location for children to get injured, with almost 60% of children presenting to Perth Children’s Hospital for an injury that occurred at home. So how do you create a kitchen that is kid friendly and kid safe? Here are a few tips to consider if you’re designing a new family kitchen.
1. Open Plan Kitchen
Plan your kitchen so that it flows seamlessly into the family room. This means that the kids can still see you and interact with you from the living room or dining room, without being underfoot while you’re trying to move and work in the kitchen.
2. Kids’ Height Benchtops
Kids love cooking and baking but if the bench is too high for them to reach, they may land up standing on a stool that is unsafe. If you’re in the process of designing your kitchen, a cool design element would be to add a ‘split level’ benchtop. This is where the lower bench can be used by your child to create all sorts of culinary delights and when dinner is ready, it can be used as a dining area. If space is a problem though, a pull-out counter or pull-out step built into the bottom of your cabinetry would also be a good addition.
3. Hygienic Surfaces
Kitchens can be a breeding place for all kinds of bacteria and mould, so it is a good idea to invest in benchtops that are easy to clean and hygienic. Engineered stone and acrylic solid surface benchtops are the most hygienic benchtops on the market as they are non-porous meaning that moisture cannot penetrate the material. While these options are pricier than a laminate benchtop, there are many other pros to installing a stone or acrylic benchtop which will be well worth the investment.
4. Rounded Corners
Kids are kids and the only speed they know is fast! This, however, does often lead to serious injuries, especially when their little heads and faces connect with the corner of a benchtop. To avoid any serious injuries, opt for rounded corners on your benchtops or for a more stylish finish, you could also go with a waterfall edge where the benchtop surface cascades down one or both sides of the benchtop to the floor.
5. Healthy Snacks
Kids are always hungry, always! Whether it’s healthy snacks in the pantry or fridge, ensure that there is a shelf where kids can easily grab a snack when they’re hungry. It’s also a good idea to have a space in one of the cabinets with all their own cups, plates and bowls.
6. Dangerous Items
It goes without saying that knives and other sharp utensils should be kept in the top drawer away from tiny fingers, but we forget that kids grow up quickly and before we know it, they’re able to reach those top drawers. If you’re designing your new kitchen, one clever idea is to add a small thin draw under your wall cabinets that is dedicated to sharp knives and other dangerous kitchen utensils. Alternatively, if you’re handy with the tools, you could add locks to the draws and cabinets that contain dangerous or breakable items.
7. Let Them Draw
Kids love drawing on walls that they’re not supposed to, so why not give them their own wall to draw on? Dedicate a wall next to the kitchen that you can paint with chalk paint and while you’re busy in the kitchen, they can let out their inner Picasso. The wall is also a handy place to write up your shopping list or ‘to do’ list.
8. Organise The Chaos
In many homes, the kitchen bench is the collection spot for all things not kitchen related, e.g. car keys, mobile phones and devices, mail, school notes and other odds and ends. One way that you can create order, is to create an organisation station. All you need is a wall (maybe the chalk painted wall!) where you can put up a shelf or small storage baskets and a family planner or calendar. Pinterest has heaps of styling ideas for organisation stations and Kmart always has what you’re looking for to make it all come together.
Do you need further design inspiration? Visit our Home Designs page for our range of modular homes to suit regional and remote Western Australian locations.