When it comes to the topic of kitchen design, probably the first thought which comes to mind is the importance of functionality and then the options for creating pleasing aesthetics. While these are both undeniably important, it’s also important to recognize that the kitchen is invariably at least one of the most widely used rooms in the home, in fact it is often the most-used room in the home, sometimes by a very long margin.
That being so, the design of your kitchen can actually have a significant impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing and hence it makes complete sense to consider the psychological aspects of kitchen design as well as the practical and aesthetic ones.
In kitchens, safety has to come before all other considerations, which means that task lighting has to be positioned where it will be needed and general lighting has to be positioned where it will light the whole kitchen (albeit not necessarily all at once). At the same time, however, there is a certain degree of flexibility with what kind of lighting you use and, in particular, what kind of light bulbs you use.
So, for example, while the fluorescent light bulbs of old might have done a very efficient job of providing light, they were also notorious for their physical and mental effects on humans, especially if there was prolonged exposure to them, which is why they have essentially disappeared from domestic kitchens.
Daylight bulbs, however, are far kinder on both the eyes and the mind. As a side note, it may also be worth remembering that you can buy light fitting with integrated fans (which can work separately from the light), these might be worth considering to help keep the kitchen temperature down in warmer weather.
When it comes to investment pieces, such as cabinets and appliances, it’s probably best to stick to neutral colours as you’ll have to live with these pieces for a long time, however, there is still a wide variety of ways you can add colour to your kitchen, even on your “big ticket” items.
For example, while you might want to stick with white or wood cabinets, you can express your personality and psychological preferences through the hardware, which can be changed easily and affordably. Likewise, neutral-coloured tiling can be given a whole new look by means of removable decals and, of course, there is definitely a place for textiles in the kitchen, if only in the form of tea towels, in many cases you can add blinds or curtains and these days adding rugs is also increasingly popular.
Up until relatively recently, kitchen layouts have tended to focus on the famous “work triangle” (cooker, sink and fridge) and economy of movement is still an important factor in kitchen design (especially when it comes to situations involving the carrying of hot pans), but now it is increasingly recognized that sociability is an integral part of the appeal of the kitchen rather than just an afterthought and hence there is growing emphasis on creating kitchens which facilitate interaction between the cook and other people in the home, rather than simply leaving them isolated and focusing purely on their work.
Tara Neil are specialists in bespoke fitted kitchens and bedroom suites, with a 4,000 sq ft bedroom and kitchen showroom in Reading.