As the heart of the home, kitchens tend to be the centre of social activity, whether for hosting intimate dinner parties, relaxing drinks, or large gatherings.
So, it’s no surprise that many people consider how to make their kitchen more suitable for entertaining when planning the overall look and functionality of the space. In this Journal post, we’ll be exploring how to approach your renovation with socialising in mind, in terms of layout, features, seating, appliances and storage.
Welcoming back guests
After a year where many of us were forced to spend more time at home than ever before, looking at our living spaces day-in, day-out, it’s understandable that as a nation we now have an insatiable itch to renovate and redecorate- seeking to create spaces we wouldn’t mind being ‘locked-down’ in, and rooms we’d be proud to share with visitors.
As we can once again welcome guests inside (following government guidelines), our newly-deepened appreciation for spending time with loved ones means many of us are looking to improve our homes to benefit visitors- focusing on designing kitchens/living spaces with entertaining and socialising in mind.
So, if you’re about to take the first step towards designing your dream kitchen, read on to discover our advice and guidance for creating the perfect social hub for your friends and family.
The first consideration to make when starting your kitchen design is which layout will work best for your space and how you plan on using it.
You will need to think about how you and your guests will move about your kitchen. For example, if you plan on frequently cooking for visitors it may be beneficial to design a hob and/or food preparation area that faces where they will likely gather, so that you can continue to socialise whilst cooking, without having your back to guests.
Incorporating an island or peninsula into your design offers the perfect place to position your hob and/or sink for this purpose, whilst also doubling as a visual divide within an open-plan room, and creating additional seating for guests whilst you cook.
An island will also help to separate your food preparation space from where your visitors may need to walk, so we would recommend placing your fridge and/or wine cooler away from this walk-way, so you can cook without hustle and bustle, and guests can access drinks with ease.
Tip: A sunken trough in your island’s worksurface will create a practical wet and prep zone, keeping everything close to hand whilst creating separation from the raised outer worksurface where someone may take a seat.
If you plan on hosting dinners or gatherings in your kitchen, then we would highly recommend incorporating some seating into your design if the footprint allows it. Seating offers your guests the perfect hub to gather, a place to relax and an area to enjoy food.
A traditional dining table would be the obvious choice if you have the floorspace, as it allows the most seats (depending on the table set-up you choose) and would create an extra workspace for your guests to enjoy dining, playing games or just somewhere to rest a drink during conversation.
Having a dining table in the same vicinity as food preparation would also be beneficial for ease of serving, and will encourage a relaxed environment where the host can get involved with the socialising whilst cooking/plating food.
Kitchen island or peninsular seating is also an ideal way to bring socialising closer to the host, allowing guests to pull up a chair in an informal manner and creating a bar-style aesthetic.
When it comes to choosing the features, this is where you can really start to have fun with your kitchen design and truly make the room your own- bringing personality and the ‘wow-factor’, whilst introducing practical elements that will improve how guests enjoy your space.
If you plan to host frequent parties and gatherings in your kitchen, a feature drinks cabinet (either integrated or stand-alone) is the ultimate statement piece. It’s guaranteed to turn heads, offers the perfect station for drink pouring/mixing, and means glasses and garnishes are easily accessible.
A drinks cabinet/pantry can also be personalised to reflect the style of your kitchen, available in our 35 beautiful 1909 painted palette shades, and with the option to add a mirrored splashback and lighting for an extra element of glamour. The internals can also be customised to meet your unique storage requirements, offering shelving and drawers so you can choose what is on display and what is hidden away!
Another feature that is guaranteed to impress your visitors is a Champagne Bucket integrated into your island worksurface. Creating an undeniable party aesthetic, a champagne bucket not only looks great, it also keeps drinks within reaching distance from the gathering, and can mean that you don’t have to offer your fridge up as drink-cooling space if you would like to keep it private.
Whether you host a lot of dinners, parties, casual drinks, or even have guests staying over frequently, there are an array of different kitchen appliances available which could help your social events run smoothly.
If you enjoy cooking for friends and family, we would recommend dedicating time to choosing the correct oven set-up for your kitchen, to prevent the possibility of some seriously stressful dinners!
An AGA is a stunning addition to a classic kitchen design and can really up your cooking game if you frequently need to prepare a lot of food at once (perfect for hosting Sunday roasts!). Or, if you don’t have the space for an AGA, or the style isn’t for you, why not consider incorporating a double oven into your kitchen design? Two ovens will fit seamlessly into your cabinetry without taking up valuable floorspace and will still increase your cooking capacity for when you need to prepare a meal for guests.
Another appliance that’s perfect for those occasions when you’re cooking for a large group is a dishwasher. Having guests over for a meal will inevitably mean a lot of dirty dishes, so a dishwasher will take a lot of the stress out of cleaning up afterwards. It will also mean you have somewhere to tuck away mess whilst the party is still ongoing, and enables the host to continue enjoying the night, rather than standing over a sink full of plates!
Wine Cooler/ Fridge Freezer
An essential for any kitchen designed for socialising is a place to keep drinks cool. A wine cooler is the perfect ‘wow-factor’ appliance for those who love hosting parties, and can mean that guests don’t have to access the family fridge freezer if you don’t want them to.
Or, if you only have the space for essential appliances, then why not consider investing in a multi-door, American-style Fridge Freezer? These are a great way to provide the room needed for your guests’ drinks, and a fully stocked fridge is guaranteed to impress!
Last but not least, it’s important to consider your storage options to make sure guests can access what they need, when they need it.
Open shelving or glazed display cabinetry is a great way to create a beautiful feature in your kitchen whilst ensuring that guests can see and access glasses and crockery when needed.
It’s also important to think about how your storage can help to keep your workspaces clear and free of clutter when you’re hosting. For example, a bi-folding pantry unit is perfect for closing the doors on any kitchen essentials you’d like to be kept out of sight (or any mess you’d like to hide away until morning!).
We hope we’ve provided some useful tips to help you with the planning of your upcoming kitchen renovation. If you would like to discuss your ideas further with an expert, head over to our 1909 Kitchens website to begin your planning process with one of our independent retailers across the UK: https://www.1909kitchens.co.uk/retailers
Explore the beautiful 1909 Gin Cabinet (the perfect hosting feature!) in our previous Journal post.
Check out our fully styled kitchen sets and explore our door offering further on the 1909 website or via our brochure (available to download via website).
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