Kitchens are the most popular rooms in many homes. Even though The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states the average person spends just 68 minutes each weekday consuming food, and around 37 minutes preparing meals, the kitchen is not just a spot for food. It also is a gathering place for conversation, homework and family time.
In recognition that so much time is spent in this heart of the home, many people are embracing some of the more popular trends concerning kitchen layouts to maximize the comfort and efficiency of these rooms.
Unlike the days of yore when the kitchen was utilitarian, today’s home floor plans make kitchens a focal point of a home. Food preparation also is no longer a solitary task. Thanks to larger kitchen footprints and multiple zones set up for meal creation, a greater number of people can hang out in the kitchen and help with meals. You’ll find multiple sinks, large islands and more counter space are key components of modern kitchen layouts.
Kitchen designs are bringing back banquette seating in a cozy nook. This design is a practical use of space, and can fit in large and small kitchens alike. It also can give a kitchen a high-end look, as built-in banquettes can highlight a bay window or seem custom-made for the space. Banquette seating can fit a number of people comfortably and provides a sensible and casual dining spot solution.
The trend experts at Southern Living magazine indicate that formal dining and living rooms are now used infrequently. As a result, kitchens have evolved to accommodate meal prep and dining. A large family table in the center of the room brings people into the kitchen to get more involved with food, according to San Francisco designer David Kensington.
Taking a page out of a favorite corner diner or bar, kitchens are increasingly outfitted with a large island flanked by chic counter stools, according to the design pros at Domino. Family members can pull up a stool and grab a quick snack. It’s also a great place for friends to engage in conversation while a host or hostess prepares cocktails and appetizers for an evening soirée.
Many families like to have an area of the kitchen set up as a tech zone where kids can do their homework and even parents can do some work, such as paying bills. Setting aside an area of counter space as a small desk area can be a great idea. Such areas also help parents keep a watchful eye on children while they’re surfing the internet.
Kitchens are the hub of the household, and modern design trends cater to a growing need for a multipurpose space. (MC)
The Home Office
Remote working has become popular in recent years, but the “working-from-home” economy bloomed exponentially as the world was forced to confront the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom, as of summer 2020, 42% of the United States labor force was working from home full-time.
The need for home office spaces has increased as more people work from home. Many have retrofitted various spaces around their homes into areas to get work done. However, more organized home work spaces can increase productivity. And, now that it has been a year, many may want to rethink their current office situation.
Here are some guidelines to create effective, organized home offices.
Begin with the desk
The desk is the primary spot where work will take place. The right desk accessories can provide visual appeal and also serve practical purposes. Have cups for holding pens and pencils, baskets and bins for larger items, and store whatever you can elsewhere so it does not lead to clutter on the desk.
Create a printing station
While you’re moving that wireless printer elsewhere, designate a space to serve as the central printing hub. This way children who need to print assignments for school will know where to go as well. Printer supplies like extra ink cartridges and printer paper can be kept in decorative storage boxes nearby.
Increase your shelving
Shelving can help keep items organized and off the desk in home offices without closets or drawers. Look for shelves that blend in with decor but are sturdy enough to be functional.
Figure out a system that works for you to help tidy up papers you choose to save. While some papers can be scanned and stored as digital files, color-
coded file folders can organize statements and other important documents. This makes it easy to find the folder you need.
Establish a charging station
Repurpose certain items, such as a desk organizer, into an easily accessible electronics charging station where phones and tablets can charge at one time.
Make essential binders
HGTV suggests making binders that can store the most important papers for easy access — even in an emergency. Set up a binder for automotive paperwork, including repair receipts, a medical binder where key medical records are kept, a binder for manuals for devices in the home, and one to store financial planning documents.
These organizational tips can help remedy common problems around a home office. (MC)