9 Must-Have Design Elements for the Perfect Family Kitchen

9 Must-Have Design Elements for the Perfect Family Kitchen

If you have a young family at home,you’ve probably been accustomed to being short on two things: time and space. Life is busy and your space at home really needs to work to make things easier for everyone.

There’s no place in the home where this is more evident than the kitchen. This room is the hub of the house and a hive of activity: family mealtimes, homework, painting, drawing or play dough at the table, hurried breakfasts and pack-up lunch preparations, and a place for entertaining friends in the evening.

All these activities mean that a kitchen has to work well on so many levels; it is so easy for a poorly-designed kitchen to become cluttered, messy and overcrowded. Common problems with family kitchens generally involve a poorly-designed layout, which makes it hard to enjoy cooking or relaxing in the space, and insufficient space for carrying out daily tasks and storing everything a family needs.

There’s no reason for it to be this way. Get the layout and storage right and it will be effortless to prepare mealsin minutes, enjoy leisurely lunches and dinners, and to keep the place sparklingly clean and tidy.

Aside from the practicalities, you want a kitchen that looks incredible, too. It needs to look elegant and refined, as well as be ultra-practical. This isn’t too much to ask. Add in some amazing must-have details such as the right lighting, and you can have an incredible family room that’s a joy to be in every hour of the day.

If your current kitchen isn’t working for your family, and you’re in need of some inspiration, here are 11 must-haves for your family kitchen redesign as recommended by highly-regarded Melbourne kitchen renovation specialists.

1. Ample storage

With the right storage, you’ll be able to find everything you need superfast. Clutter makes a kitchen difficult to use, hard to clean, and ruins the look of a beautiful design, so getting storage done right is an absolute top priority for any kitchen renovation project.

A really great pantry cupboard is a must: make sure all your ingredients can be found at a moment’s notice. Pull-out shelving designs are deservedly popular as they prevent time-consuming rummaging at the back of dark cupboards. Other options are Lazy Susan rotating shelves or pull -out spice drawers for storing small items. Use bins and baskets for storing groups of small items, too, and you’ll never lose an ingredient again.

For a sleek, uncluttered look, and to free up counter space, plan storage space for all the small appliances that aren’t needed on a daily basis such as blenders and sandwich toasters. Large pan drawers are a modern kitchen must-have, and adding in hideaway internal drawers is a great solution for storing away utensils.

Don’t forget to provide a home for other bits and pieces that find their way into the kitchen: crayons and coloring books, mail and takeout menus, recipe books, chargers and batteries. Giving these a permanent home in a drawer, a basket or on a shelf will prevent your benchtops from quickly filling up.

Finally, store everything where you need to use it as much as possible. This will make your kitchen infinitely more user-friendly, and you’ll enjoy cooking so much more.

2. An island

Not everybody has room for an island, but if you can include one in your layout, then you surely won’t regret it. Not only are they a great way of using all the space available, but they make your kitchen a more sociable space: no more preparing food with your back to the rest of the room!

Islands can look fabulous, too. Some people prefer to install a plain countertop for the added workspace, and this can look wonderful dressed with a vase of flowers, a houseplant or a unique fruit bowl. There are lots of other options for using your island, however. Consider building your sink unit or hob into the island, for instance.  Underneath you could include chiller space or lots of additional storage.

You could add seating to one side so that children can sit up and complete their homework as you cook, or as a space to enjoy your morning coffee.

3. Durable surfaces

You’ll be aware that life with kids sometimes comes with mishaps, so your kitchen will need to cope with more than its fair share of spillages and splashes, dropped crockery, crayon-related incidents, and enthusiastic young chefs.

With all surface materials — for the flooring, benchtops, painted walls, tiles and cupboard doors — be sure to pick something as easy-to-clean and indestructible as possible.

This still leaves some great-looking options, particularly YDL stone kitchen benchtops. YDL quartz stone comes in a wide range of designer colors, requires minimal upkeep, is non-porous, has a luxurious, modern feel, and is really practical for family life. Reconstituted stone emulates the look and practicality, and works well for those with smaller budgets.

Glossy surfaces are very easy to wipe down and keep clean, but will look dirtier more quickly and are more prone to obvious scratching than matt.

Use wipeable paint on your walls for those inevitable splashes. As for flooring, wood is warm underfoot and more forgiving on things dropped onto it, but harder to keep spotless, so you may decide to opt for tiling.

4. The latest tech items

A kitchen renovation is a perfect time to get your kitchen tech items up-to-date.

If you want your kitchen to be the heart of the home, why not install some tech equipment that will draw your people in. A wireless sound system and television screen are great possibilities for a family kitchen.

Don’t forget the practicalities, too. A charging station for all the family’s gadgets is a must.

5. Safety features

Safety is always a top priority for parents. You can consider some tweaks to your design to help make your kitchen safer for the younger members of your family.

Opt for soft-close drawers and hinges to save little fingers, and use them with locks where necessary. Consider induction as a cooking method for its safety features. Finally, placing your oven high up is safer for children, and more practical for cooking as well.

6. Sublime lighting

The right lighting can elevate your kitchen renovation from ordinary to spectacular so give serious thought to the kinds of lighting that will serve you for all occasions. The cooking area will need to be well illuminated so consider spotlights and under cupboard lighting.

Lighting can be really dramatic, and there are some fabulous pieces available from ultra-modern to antique that will set your kitchen apart. Lighting trends follow an era of rapid innovation, particularly in LED, and there have never been more options than today.

Lighting in the dining part of the room should be more adaptable. You need to be able to move from a warm, cozy feel for family dinners, to a more relaxed, intimate and elegant feel for evening entertaining. Choose from dramatic pendant style ceiling lighting, wall lighting or spotlighting to give your dining area a sophisticated vibe.

7. Elements for relaxation or play

Many people want their kitchen area to be more than just about food, and including a breakfast bar or a kitchen island with bench seating in the kitchen has become increasingly popular. Think of it as a place to cozy up with a magazine and coffee; or a glass of wine while you wait for dinner; or as a place for the kids to relax while you cook.

A breakfast bar can completely change the dynamic of the room and look really stylish. You may want to include fresh fruit, a flowering bonsai tree or a tiny vase of flowers as your centerpiece to add a touch of warmth to this versatile area.

If your children are still small, havinga small play area in the kitchen can make life so much easier. You can keep your eye on the kids while you cook, and you get to spend more time together.

8. A stand-out appliance

It’s important to give your kitchen design a focal point. Stretching the budget for one incredible appliance can be quite a design feature and can give a kitchen a much more luxurious feel.

If you love to cook up a feast, an extra-wide freestanding cooker unit would be an amazing addition to your kitchen renovation. Or you could opt for an American-style fridge-freezer unit. Range hoods and taps are other opportunities to show off some stunning design flair, too.

Focusing on one or two things, while keeping everything else built-in or low-key, will be easier on the eye and look less busy.

9. The perfect dining area

Open plan living is enormously popular, and most kitchen renovations will now include a dining area as part of the kitchen layout. If you don’t have room for a full dining table, then consider breakfast bar seating at the counter for coffee and snacks. It will instantly make your kitchen feel more relaxed and sociable.

If you have space, make a real style statement with a fabulous dining table and chair set.  This a real opportunity to inject your personality into your design, so be bold and confident.

For any kitchen renovation, the golden rules to remember are to get the practical storage and layout perfect, and then to have lots of fun adding some stylish, unique and personal touches that will make your kitchen everyone’s favorite place to be.


Toby Walker is the Director and Operations Manager of Zesta Kitchens. With over 30 years of industry experience (having previously operated Nobby Kitchens and Bunnings Warehouse Kitchen Centres), Toby’s passion is providing a unique customer kitchen renovation experience, and this filters through the business to ensure a quality product with an on-time kitchen renovation.

Categories: Home Improvements

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