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Cooking up function and style

PinkNews Staff Writer June 28, 2008

The average homeowners could easily spend over £10,000 for a stylish kitchen makeover, but style should never outweigh function, otherwise, the workhorse of their home will be all shiny appliances and no muscle power. Appearances, after all, aren’t everything.

If a chef and an interior designer were to create their ideal kitchens, they would probably have little in common. A designer will be focused on style, whereas a chef will be concerned solely with function. The average homeowner will want and need a kitchen that satisfies both, which is not always an easy task.

Sticking with the tried and tested triangle workspace, with your sink, cooker and fridge freezer at each point, is a must if you want to create a functional kitchen. Good lighting and the best quality fittings you can afford are also a priority to satisfy both design and function.

One of the biggest challenges is choosing the right appliances. The choice is endless and it is easy to get carried away with gimmicky features or fork out for expensive appliances that you just won’t use to their full potential.

Contemporary kitchen designs often feature stainless steel appliances and counter tops, but the reality is that they are hard to clean and need a lot of maintenance. If you have children, you’ll see every fingerprint. Likewise, black granite worktops look stunning, but only when they are constantly polished and buffed. For the average busy family kitchen, black granite shows up every little crumb and grubby mark accumulated during the day.

Professional range cookers and modern Agas are another big draw for the style-conscious, but the cost and space needed to accommodate them cannot be justified if you won’t use them to their full potential. Ask yourself whether you really need a cooker hob with six burners or whether you really have the time to keep the fire of a traditional Aga stoked? If you are most likely to use your oven to heat food rather than create dishes from scratch, you would be wise to put a range on the back burner.

When you are choosing the style of your cabinets, keep in mind that contemporary colours and finishes are likely to date fast. Shiny red colours might be a statement piece now, but what about 10 years down the line? Playing it safe with cabinet colours and styles pays off in the long term, especially when you come to selling your property.

A chef would say that a kitchen is a place to prepare food, but to a homeowner it is much more than that. The kitchen is the traditional heart of a family home, so the overall design is important if your family is to enjoy spending time there. If you have the room, making space for a table or a breakfast bar for family to congregate at is far more important than adding gimmicky features such as chilled wine cabinets.

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