A child friendly kitchen remodel takes time and planning.
According to historians and Mad Men, children in past decades were supposed to be seen, not heard. Tolerated, not considered. And occasionally, sent out to buy cigarettes for mom.
But today, kids are appreciated as the autonomous humans they are, and home improvement contractors can easily devise rooms that suit all needs (and heights). For today’s families, who often consider the kitchen to be the soul of their home, it’s important to help youngsters feel comfortable. The kitchen is not just a place of physical nourishment. It also serves as a daily hangout spot, an art studio, a homework center, and family headquarters. And when kids are comfortable in the kitchen, they’re likely to keep cooking healthy meals their whole lives.
Of course, the number one priority in family home remodeling is keeping children safe, which may mean opting for rounded furniture, locking some of the lower cabinets, or blocking outlets. But ideally, a home is not just safe but also fun, functional, and beautiful, both for its grownup inhabitants and for the littler ones who live there. So we’ve compiled a few of our best kitchen ideas for making the kitchen especially welcoming for kids.
1. Give Them Their Own Stuff and Their Own Space
If the kitchen’s already serving as a craft workshop, embrace this de facto identity and give children their own pint-sized booth. A durable quartz countertop, set at the young artists’ seated height, could give them their own workspace while keeping glitter out of your risotto. (Check out some kitchen showrooms to see what types of quartz are out there.)
This spot can also seat a tot while they “help” you cook by snapping peas or kneading their own ball of pizza dough. If you don’t want to do the whole booth, try a pull-out countertop in a kitchen island.
One New York family gave the kids their own creative space without adding any heavy quartz or bulky booths. They enlisted Gallery Kitchen & Bath to install a custom chalkboard panel, which encourages doodles and games without affecting the room’s actual architecture. It’s novel and fun, yet contained and subtle at the same time.
Snack storage is another important experience point to focus on during the house remodeling process. In the pantry, set some fully-extendable drawers low to the ground, so shorter members of the household can nab the fruit leathers, almonds, and Goldfish they need.
2. Build a Living Home
Replaceable design elements grow not just with tykes’ heights, but with their personalities and tastes. (These design elements can evolve with your personality and taste, too.) Choose kitchen cabinets whose handles can be swapped out in a few years. Install short pendant lamps now, and get longer ones when you no longer have toddlers climbing the dining table. Lighter colors can be painted over more easily than darker tones, so cloak kids’ kitchen zones in mint or sky instead of a primary red.
3. Keep Your Kitchen Looking Fly
You’ve taken all the precautions to ensure that your child’s safe at home. But if we’re being honest, you probably want to keep your home safe, too.
So choose surface materials wisely. Scratch-resistant materials stand up to amateur etching masterpieces, while nonporous paint formulations (think satin, semi-gloss, and glossier) release marker ink with a few sudsy swipes.
Look into easy-to-wipe floors, too, like porcelain tile. For tile that’ll forgive a spotty washing schedule, choose patterns with minimal grout lines, or use grout that’s not white. Another wipeable surface: vinyl flooring. If you’re still committed to carpet, consider 18”x18” carpet tiles, which can be individually replaced in the event of a spill.
Or just take the kids’ advice and turn the room into a ball pit.
Planning on a renovating your NYC kitchen? Contact us to schedule your free consultation