If you enjoy entertaining but your kitchen isn’t cutting it, you’re in the right place. Every host (or aspiring host) dreams of a kitchen that’ll take their soiree skills to the next level while still being functional and enjoyable day to day. Get ready to gather by using these design ideas for an entertainer’s dream kitchen.
Open Floor Plan
You want to feel like you’re involved in the conversation even while you’re cooking and serving food or pouring drinks, and an open floor plan will help you do that. An open-plan kitchen is also the key to accommodating plenty of guests and maintaining a comfortable traffic flow. Your guests will have a much easier time moving around and mingling without tight corners and narrow walkways.
Two things to consider when planning your kitchen layout are work zones and traffic flow.
Any kitchen will need dedicated “work zones” for prepping, cooking, and cleaning. But when you’re designing a kitchen for entertaining, you will also need a zone for serving, and likely another for beverages. Well-planned zones are equipped with the necessary appliances and allow multiple people to operate in the kitchen while chatting with guests.
Think about how you and your guests will move around the kitchen. Make sure that people can effortlessly flow to and from the adjacent spaces like the family room. If you have a deck or patio off the kitchen, creating an easy transition will make serving dinner and drinks al fresco a breeze.
The island is the centerpiece of an open floor plan kitchen and the hub of any home that has one. These days we need our islands doing more than double duty. It’s our prep surface, homework station, charging dock, buffet counter, and in many homes the dining table.
When designing a kitchen island for all this and entertaining, it’s wise to consider whether it’s necessary to incorporate your sink or cooktop, or if you can keep the island countertop free and clear. It certainly depends on your layout options. But, when you envision guests gathered around your island in the kitchen, will you want them conversing over a sink full of dishes or pot and pans on the range?
Seating might be the first thing you think of when planning to entertain in your home. A thoughtful kitchen configuration will allow your guests to sit comfortably– and out of the way– while interacting with those who are working in the kitchen. A large island may have enough space to seat six people. Comfortable seating at an island generally means offering well-designed stools, leg room under the countertop, and a ledge to rest one’s feet (which could be part of the stool or a feature of the island).
Banquettes are making a comeback and create another wonderful seating option in the kitchen. If you have the space, think about building a bench in the corner or off to the side of your kitchen. Then tuck in a table and a few chairs and you’ll have a lovely breakfast nook that also works as a place to lay out hors d’oeuvres or work from home.
You won’t become the host with the most without the right appliances. Double ovens ensure all food finishes cooking right on time and warming drawers keep it ready until you are. Double dishwashers guarantee you can load up every pot and pan and your plates and dishes won’t sit out for hours waiting for the next round.
Other handy appliances when designing a kitchen for entertaining include separate refrigeration for prepared cold food (think platters of veggies and deviled eggs); a mini fridge for beverages and an ice machine for the bar; and a trash compactor to lessen the likelihood of hauling out an icky trash bag in your party clothes. And last but not least; air vents. A well-ventilated kitchen will keep food smells from overstaying their welcome.
The first thing most of us do when preparing to entertain is hide all the clutter. Ensure your kitchen isn’t a mess when guests arrive by asking your kitchen designer to include some strategic storage solutions. Specialized cabinets and “small appliance garages” will help you keep your toaster, coffee maker, utensils, and whatever else crowds your counter space out of sight, and all you’ll have to do is close a door.
A utilitarian kitchen is certainly functional, but it isn’t exactly festive. So, when designing a kitchen for entertaining, don’t be shy when it comes to color, patterns, and lighting. Choose an exciting backsplash and bold pendant lamps. When it comes to lighting, go all out with layered, specialized task lighting for food prep and dimmers for ambiance. A built-in speaker system for music is also a nice touch you might appreciate.