The Heart of the Home

Home is Where the Heart Is

Amazing things happen in the kitchen. A child's first attempt at baking; an intimate chat about life with a teen over a cup of coffee; decisions about the financial future and plans for graduation are all life experiences shared in the kitchen. Vivid memories of heart-to-heart talks while someone was preparing food become etched in the memory and the smell of that food will awaken the remembrance. That's why the kitchen is called the heart of the home and with that thought in mind, decorating that special room can be both rewarding and enriching.

Good Planning Keeps Things Moving

Since it seems the congregating place in most homes is the kitchen, the waves of movement of family and friends require a good floor plan. Having folks in for the evening can be fun, but having them underfoot can be problematic. By planning the flow of traffic in kitchen, you can allow for congregating without hassle. The number of people in the home, how many actually cook at one time and any special needs of the family are all considerations in the room layout.

Basic Floorplans for Kitchens

Essentially, there are four basic layouts for kitchens. The one often found in smaller homes and apartments is the galley style, where the appliances line both sides of the kitchen and cupboards fill the spaces in-between. There isn't room in a space like this for a table or chairs. The L-shaped kitchen forms a triangle with the sink, stove and refrigerator situated along two perpendicular walls. When the elements (sink, stove and fridge) are on three walls, the shape becomes a U and when a fourth wall is added, the shape changes once again to a G, providing room for additional counter spaces, cupboards and appliances.

If possible, have two work areas, one for cooking and one for serving and clearing and if you can have a sink for each function, it adds to efficiency. If you are in a position where changing the shape of the kitchen is not an option, then doing some basic decorating can change the feel of the room without huge expense. Truly, kitchen remodeling can be a very costly endeavor, so plan your expenses accordingly.

If Wishes Were Fishes, What Would You Do?

If your kitchen faces a wonderful back yard or an easement where there is no building behind you, then using large windows allows for the outdoors to be brought inside and your decor can reflect the warm, earthy feel of the yard. A bay window may be an excellent backdrop as well as a cozy nook for personal thoughts and chats. Creating a breakfast nook using a low table and easy chairs covered in treated fabric can make the space feel relaxed and intimate while keeping it functional.

Using Space Optimally

An open floor plan allows for the use of an island in the center of the floor on which to prepare food and at which stools can be placed for seating - just in case someone wants to visit while you work. Carrying the theme of the outdoors, the use of warm woods for cabinetry and the top of the island keep things subtle, warm and consistent.

It's All About You and Your Family

The kitchen is as personal and individual as the people who live in the house. Don't get caught into the trap of doing only what the pictures show - follow your own inclinations and make the room a place that is enjoyable, functional and personal.