Most people would agree that the kitchen is more than just a place for cooking. Family members gather in the kitchen in the morning, getting ready for their day or savoring a cup of coffee. Kids do their homework there, so that they can be near parents who are preparing dinner.  Plus, many families now prefer a more casual style of kitchen entertaining, with friends chatting in the kitchen while sipping wine or nibbling hors d’oeuvres.

Conventional kitchen designs are often inadequate, but with a little bit of inspiration, kitchens can be redesigned and remodeled to better fit their multiple uses, including entertaining.

Photo: kitchen design

Photo courtesy Jenn-Air

As you’re preparing holiday meals, entertaining, and hosting family from out of town, it’s the perfect time to think about what you wish you could change about the way your kitchen looks, feels and works.

Laying It All Out For Kitchen Entertaining

In kitchen design, one of the most prevalent structural frameworks is the ‘work triangle,’ which comprises the space between the range, refrigerator, and sink. Most of the work happens at these three places, and it is important for them not to be situated too close together (as the cook will feel cramped with too little counter space) or too far apart.  Another option that’s popular is the kitchen designed around the concept of stations, more like restaurant kitchens, with a prep station, a hot station, a clean-up station, and even computer station.

In a kitchen that’s used for both cooking and entertaining, the layout should also create smooth traffic patterns and make it possible for more than one person to cook at a time.  Family or friends who are not cooking will feel more comfortable gathering in a kitchen if there is enough space outside of the work area for them to relax without being in the way. A welcoming, casual floor plan that is open to the family room or dining room will allow kitchen traffic to flow easily in, out and around the spaces.

A Natural Gathering Spot

An important design element is an island, which can play a big part in creating comfortable places for non-cooks to socialize in the kitchen. Island options can include bar-height seating at stools, a nook with a bench and upholstered chairs, or a convenient spot to serve food buffet-style. And it’s possible to have a dual-height island with a lower level for food prep and a higher level for seating or serving.

The Butler’s Pantry

A valuable addition when you’re entertaining is a butler’s pantry. With extra cabinets, counters, sink and perhaps an extra dishwasher or refrigerator, a butler’s pantry provides a perfect area for you to stage foods for serving. Everything from appetizer platters to coffee cups can be set up there, and the extra counter space helps when clearing dirty dishes. Even a small butler’s pantry can make a big difference in the feel and functionality of your new kitchen.

Photo: refrigerator under counter for kitchen entertaining

Photo courtesy Jenn-Air

Products That Make Kitchen Entertaining Easier

In addition to an efficient layout, a kitchen designed for entertaining can include products to make life even easier. You might consider incorporating a warming drawer or steam oven for keeping one dish warm while you prepare another, or a wine refrigerator and stand-alone ice maker which can be built into an island or outside counter for easy service.

You Don’t Have To Go It Alone

Kitchen remodels, while rewarding, can be challenging to plan and construct, and kitchen technology is always changing. That’s why we’re here! With our creativity, experience and design know-how, we can explain your options and make recommendations you may not have even considered to ensure you’re getting everything you want and need from your beautiful new kitchen.

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