The Heart Of The Home Is For More Than Cooking

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Inside Living kitchen designers, Charlene Taljaard and Juanita Hubinger weigh in on how to create atmosphere in the kitchen.

What Makes The Kitchen The Heart Of The Home?

Charlene: Every member of the family or household has to eat. Whenever we get hungry we find ourselves in the kitchen; if we’re bored we wander into the kitchen; if someone is cooking the aromas draw us into the kitchen, and so the kitchen becomes the space where the whole family gathers. The kitchen and the food we create in it draws a family together.

Today’s Kitchen Is Not Just For Cooking, It’s A Room In Its Own Right. Why Is This So?

Charlene: Gone are the days when whoever was tasked with preparing a meal had to do so hidden away in a closed-off kitchen. Now, thanks to open-plan spaces, the chef can interact with family or guests while preparing the meal. Cooking has become a social and collaborative event and kitchens are being designed as spaces that add to the aesthetics of the home rather than simply being functional.

Juanita: I couldn’t agree more! The kitchen is the main attraction when you are buying or building a new house. It sets a standard the rest of the house has to live up to. That’s why it is always said that kitchens sell homes.

What Are Your Tips For Creating Atmosphere In The Kitchen?

Juanita: It’s important to stamp your identity on what could be, without careful consideration, a sterile and closed-off space. Your choice of lights, wall colours, flooring, appliances, tiles, accessories, window dressing, switchgear, handles, sinks, mixers, worktops, and even cladding all contribute to the overall feel of the completed space.

I like to advise my clients to go for a more subtle, stylish look and I remind them of the well-known quote by Coco Chanel: “Fashion changes, style endures”. My advice is that you don’t overcomplicate the space. Don’t try and flood your kitchen with all the options you’ve found on Pinterest. Stick to between three and five themes that stir your soul and aim for a result that is, simple, timeless, classic and stylish.

Which Kitchen Styles Are Best For Creating Atmosphere?

Charlene: Open-plan kitchens that allow the living areas to flow seamlessly into the kitchen and vice versa are first prize. Multiple work areas and sufficient countertops allow hosts and guests to work together in the creation of a meal, and sufficient seating immediately opens up more than one option for space utilisation. A comfortable kitchen table and chairs or counter and stools create space for guests to relax and chat to their host or for children to complete their homework while mom or dad cooks dinner.

And, of course, nothing creates atmosphere in any space like good lighting, especially if the lights are on a dimmer switch! The design team at Inside Living are masters at creating multifunctional spaces that marry the functional requirements of a successful kitchen with exceptional design features that elevate the kitchen to something extraordinary.