No longer is the modern kitchen solely a place for food prep. Increasingly, families are using the space to eat, socialise and relax in, so it’s important to choose a design that will work with your lifestyle.
Think about who uses the space. How many people are there in your family? Do you have toddlers or teenagers? Will everyone eat together at the same time? Do you want to be able to keep an eye on the children as you cook? The answers to these questions will determine the layout and design of your new scheme.
‘For a compact kitchen, factor tall cabinetry into your design to make the most of your walls for storage. Deeper work surfaces will also generate a lot more space for prepping or displaying items, plus it offers greater storage potential – look at increasing the size by an extra 10cm, floor space permitting,’ says Andrew Hall, managing director and chief designer at Woodstock Furniture.
‘To create an open, welcoming space, I often find that Corian is a good choice for work surfaces because you can easily achieve a seamless look. In addition, consider high-gloss units or light-coloured painted ones to bounce the light around. Complete the look with splashes of colour, as they lead the eye around the room and make this space flow, creating a sense of unity.’
If you’re thinking of a central unit, don’t miss our round up of the best kitchen island ideas.
Bench-style integral seating and a zoned dining area with a television creates a relaxed and informal area for the whole family to mingle.
The key factor of a family kitchen is clever use of space and great storage. Here, the solid surface forms a sleek prep area, which extends into an integral dining table - perfect for creating an inviting space for meals. For a seamless look, choose an island that's entirely clad in Corian.
Incorporate a study area into your kitchen if you have extra space. This bespoke cabinet provides a simple desk area and is tucked away neatly. Paint it in the same colour as your cabinetry to keep the look cohesive. Plenty of storage is a must in a family kitchen to ensure clutter is kept under control, and this scheme benefits from open shelving, cupboards and drawers.
The Secret Drawer
A family kitchen doesn't have to mean chaos and clutter. Here, modern minimalist design incorporates a dining table and chairs for a functional kitchen that is perfect for informal meals and playtime. Keeping the kitchen at one end, while the other hosts a social dining area, means that guests can be seated until dinner is served.
Update an all-wood kitchen with fresh white china and a few red and green accents. Add an eclectic mix of accessories using coloured glass and crockery. As a finishing touch, add some potted plants and vintage-style gardening memorabilia to complete the country look.
Introduce rainbow brights into a white gloss kitchen for a modern look. Choose furniture in shades that make you feel energised, such as hot pink, pillar-box red and citrus yellow. Choose a statement light and co-ordinate your accessories with brightly coloured utensils, appliances and storage tins. Avoid adding pattern and stick to blocks of solid colour to keep it unfussy.
Create a happy kitchen for all the family to enjoy by decorating with a palette of whites and reds. Use retro-style tiles in crisp white to create your backdrop and choose wooden furniture with simple shapes and white doors for a vintage vibe. Complete the upbeat look with spotty accessories.
Introduce exposed brickwork into your kitchen for an edgy urban look. Create your backdrop using imitation brick wallpaper, then create a bold contrast with white appliances. Soften the look with a wooden dining table and add pale-blue chairs and storage caddies in softer hues of duck-egg blue and green.
Rockett St George
Wire wall unit
Bring a Scandi vibe to a traditional kitchen with a palette of whites and off-whites for units, tiles, furniture and flooring. Instead of putting up wall units, use open shelves to display crockery - this will prevent the room from feeling boxed in. Finish off the calm scheme with a few silver accessories and fresh greenery.
Cox & Cox
To get an airy feel in your kitchen, opt for a neutral look using off-whites with shades of pale blue or grey. Avoid cramming in fitted units and opt for freestanding pieces instead, such as an island, which is also useful for separating the cooking area from the dining area.
Bring a cool vintage vibe to a kitchen with reclaimed furniture and cabinets. Choose a neutral off-white for walls to enhance the warmth of the wood and to prevent the space from looking clinical. Complete the look with rustic accessories, such as earthenware crockery, wood chopping boards and garden flowers.
In this predominantly white kitchen-diner, sleek cupboards and chunky marble worktops are offset with splashes of zingy colour to create a relaxed space.
Combine a neutral kitchen-diner with ultra-sleek furniture to create a truly modern space. Stainless-steel appliances and contemporary stools will add to the effect, alongside a statement black chair.
In this large kitchen-diner, a partially exposed brick wall and a statement wooden dresser lend a convivial air to the dining area.
In this kitchen-diner overlooking the garden, fitted and freestanding units combine to create an informal look. A whimsical floral oil cloth and mismatching dining chairs completes the look.
Create a peacful dining zone in the kitchen by combining an elegant dining table and chairs with open-plan storage featuring cookbooks, glassware and treasured accessories.
In this compact kitchen-diner, plenty of painted furniture, a large mirror and crisp table linen creates a sense of light and space, perfect for family mealtimes.
Here, a beamed ceiling, flagstone flooring and a traditional Aga creates a cosy feel, while an antique dining table and chairs in the centre of the room strikes an elegant note.
In this period kitchen, an antique dining table and chairs takes centrestage, overlooking the sunny garden. A sofa makes this an informal lounging space too.
Keep the family entertained in an open-plan kitchen like this one. A central island with a black granite worktop is ideal for cooking while entertaining, and a light-wood dining table is perfect for breakfasts as well as dinner parties. Shaker-style units and exposed beams complete the country-style look.
The painted white furniture and reclaimed wood table and chairs add a rustic, country feel to this simple kitchen. The large table provides plenty of space for everyone to sit.
Antique buys and homely accessories set the scene in this chocolate-box cottage kitchen. The doors of the units have been replaced with ornate designs to keep things rustic, and a focal point has been created by placing vintage plates on the mantelpiece.
Sleek and modern with a durable granite worktop, the island is perfect for cooking while entertaining, and provides extra storage. Contrasting floor coverings have been laid in a curve to echo the shape of the island and keep the kitchen area separate.
Create an island on two levels to define two distinct zones in a large kitchen. Here, a lower dining table made of a contrasting material to the dining table has been integrated into the unit to create a seamless connection.
Brightly upholstered bar stool add a decorative note to this polished all-white kitchen. The textured patterned fabric softens the look and creates and inviting informal space for guests or family dinners.
Looking for more kitchen ideas? See our showcase of open-plan kitchen design ideas.
Keep the family entertained in an open-plan kitchen like this one. A central island with a black granite worktop is ideal for cooking and prep, while the light-wood dining table takes care of breakfasts and dinner parties. An archway allows you to see through to the dining room, while accessories and plants give the neat kitchen a lived-in feel.
Similar bar stools
This pretty kitchen scheme is filled with warmth, colour and vintage country style. Combine a quirky teacup fabric and oilcloth design with country gingham in red for a modern update to a classic look.
Tonal grey units contrast with the rich wood worktops in this large kitchen. A separate seating and dining area, earmarked by the change of flooring, gives this open-plan kitchen a relaxed and inviting feel.
Typical farmhouse-style kitchen units give this room a country feel. The scheme is kept neutral to allow light to flow through and make the room feel more spacious. This painted kitchen is extremely versatile and sociable with plenty of warmth.
French Farmhouse Furniture
An open-plan kitchen makes a sociable space that all the family can enjoy. The dedicated island breakfast bar can seat lots of people and the simple monochrome scheme gives this spacious area a crisp, clean look.
Shaker-style units frame the bold red range cooker in this country-style kitchen, while wooden worktops echo the traditional-style dining table, which is large enough for to seat a large family.
Similar kitchen units
John Lewis of Hungerford
Family kitchens don't have to be traditional in style. Chrome worktops, white units and a bright feature wall combine to make this chic kitchen super stylish.
The bold feature wall strikes a lively note in this red, white and blue kitchen. The wood, combined with a neutral shade, creates a warm and inviting space. A nifty blackboard splashback is ideal for creating the family shopping list or noting down those all-important reminders.
Dreaming of a family room? By opening up the space downstairs, this kitchen leads - via folding glass doors - to a dining area and living space where a family can enjoy time together. Built-in floor-to-ceiling cabinets take care of storage while food preparation can be done on the large granite-topped island. Pale stone flooring, laid throughout, unifies the scheme.
Opt for painted cabinets to give your kitchen the quintessential country look. This symmetrical arrangement of base units with a butler sink at the centre is completed with a tall cupboard, providing plenty of storage. Above the sink, open shelves and a plate rack supply display space for favourite china. Fit a splashback of classic country brick-shaped tiles.
Create a cool and elegant design for the kitchen with white units and a wall painted in dove grey. The practical seating arrangement includes stools for a breakfast bar, comfortable upholstered chairs for relaxed dining and a welcoming wing chair. Neutral-coloured upholstery keeps the look calm and cosy, with checks and stripes providing just a hint of pattern.
Similar stools and paint colour
Take breakfast in the kitchen, Swedish style, at a rustic painted table and benches. Choose seating with a back for the adults and let the kids squeeze on to a simple refectory bench. Make the setting bright and breezy, choosing a bright illustrator-style fabric for a table runner and adding a matching shade with hanging birds.
Whatever the weather?s doing outside, a punchy printed blind will jolly up a family kitchen. The under-mounted ceramic sink is a double so there?s plenty of space to wash and rinse, using the traditional bridge tap with ceramic levers. Opt for classic, painted units and treat yourself to a few accessories in sunbaked shades to help along the holiday spirit.
An antique butcher?s block is both a stunning focal point and a useful addition to this cream kitchen. Country stools, their paintwork a little battered and worn by use, allow a temporary seat for the working cook. Add to the vibe with a traditional cream-coloured Aga, smooth wood worktops and cool stone floor tiles.
You can rely on a generously proportioned island unit to fulfil many of your kitchen needs.
This one has space for a sink and a swish restaurant-style tap, a breakfast area and, tucked beneath, a wine cabinet, keeping chilled bottles at the ready. Warm wood kitchen units echo the tones of the farmhouse beams and complement the dark stone floor.