By Christy Heitger-Ewing
Designing a kitchen for entertaining involves thoughtful reflection beyond countertops and cabinet finishes. Open floor plans, prep areas, lighting, storage, and frequency of entertaining should be considered during the design phase to create a highly functional kitchen.
“You need music, great lighting and a clear working space. A separate, built-in ice machine is a wonderful product to ensure you never run out of ice while you have guests. It’s built into the design and installed seamlessly into your cabinetry. It can have a stainless-steel front or a cabinet panel that blends flawlessly,” says Diana Dinges, Showroom Builder Sales at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery.
For those who entertain frequently, consider installing double dishwashers to avoid having an unsightly sink full of dishes. Adam Gibson, owner of Adam Gibson Design, notes that when designing an ideal kitchen for hosting, it’s wise to create a second prep area with an additional sink so one can face their audience (aka guests). It’s important to build in adequate walking space between peninsulas or islands, as well as walking space behind bar chairs. “Many builders don’t take into account having at least 60 inches of space within the working part of the kitchen,” says Gibson. “Therefore, on the side of the island where people are cooking there’s often not enough room to walk around other humans or open dishwashers.”
Another key consideration when designing a kitchen is the lighting. Much like art, lighting choices can transform a traditional space into something warm and inviting by setting the tone. These days, recessed lighting is mostly LED, but Gibson notes that many consumers aren’t aware that LEDs can become warmer in color as they dim. “An incandescent bulb becomes more amber it dims,” says Gibson. “Now LEDS are available like that, but you have to request it or else the room is not going to have that same warm gentle lighting that you’re expecting a dimmable light to have. All the lights in the room should be matched by color temperature.”
You can also incorporate newer technologies to make entertaining a breeze. Touchless faucets that turn on with the wave of a hand, and trash cabinets that slide open by tapping a knee against them are popular, as are built-in coffee makers – particularly those that are plumbed so you don’t have to hassle with adding water. “These systems can make any kind of coffee or tea drink you want,” says Dinges. “It’s like having your own little barista.”
“And don’t forget an integrated control station for music, TVs, lighting, and shading,” adds Gibson. “All can be controlled by a keypad, screen, or even your smartphone. With the push of a button, you can enter whatever environment you’d like, be it entertaining, or getting the kids ready for school.”