5 Ideas for a Family-Friendly Kitchen

Posted November 20, 2019 by Katlyn Droke

Is family-time big in your kitchen? If you have the pitter-patter of little feet or a thunderous herd of adults invading your space, then it’s time to create a kitchen that can handle the invasion. Whether you need a kid-proof space or just have a full house, these kitchen design tips and ideas will let you enjoy family time and your kitchen.

A modern kitchen with a white an blue ombre design.
Having an open space allows for the most comfort in your kitchen, especially when you have lots of family members.

If: Your little ones love to help cook… 

Then: Make sure there’s room to move around.

If you expect to have a horde of people in your kitchen helping out, then make sure there’s move to room around. No one should feel cramped or uninvited. When there’s room to move around, family time can be fully enjoyed. With the right space considerations, there will be no more bumping into each other, getting elbowed, or being blocked by cabinet doors and drawers. Everyone’s happy!

  • Make sure you can open appliance doors with plenty of room for people to scoot around.
  • Consider open shelving for dishes and cups so that cabinet doors are banging into each other (or people).
  • Consider splitting a large island into two smaller ones.
  • Get countertops with rounded corners that make it easy to move around.
  • Consider durable, waterproof floors that don’t wear down easily.
  • Want more ideas? Read about kitchen designs with the family chef in mind.

Small wooden table with laptop and accessories sitting on table.
Having a space dedicated to concentration boosts productivity and adds a unique touch to any room.

If: Your family needs a homework nook…

Then: Add a multifunctional workspace in your kitchen.

Since other rooms encourage relaxing, you may find yourself in need of a workspace that helps family members concentrate on work and get things done. Family-friendly kitchens often need to be more than just a kitchen. When it’s not lunch or dinner time, the kitchen is the perfect, distraction-free space for work. (That’s why “kitchen desks” are often a popular and timeless addition to kitchen design.)

  • Have plenty of outlets for electronic devices like laptops.
  • Non-porous surfaces that are easy to clean for school projects.
  • A nice soft chair that makes it easy to sit still for a while.

A command post added to a room for organization with jackets hanging off of it and a chalkboard for life updates.
Having a big and busy family can be challenging to stay up to date with each other; having a command post can make keeping up with each other a lot easier.
Image from HGTV

If: You need to keep track of daily life

Then: Create a command center in your kitchen.

Big, busy families have a LOT of things going on all at once. So what better way to track all the moving pieces than by adding a command center-like space to one of the most used rooms of your house. The kitchen is the place we all visit before leaving for the day (breakfast) and at the end of the day (dinner). This makes the kitchen a good tool for passing along daily reminders, holding family meetings, and much more.

  • Paint an accent wall with chalkboard or whiteboard paint for writing notes and reminders.
  • Place hooks for hanging things that shouldn’t be forgotten (keys, lunch bags, etc.).
  • Place decorative baskets on countertops for collecting small items that can get lost easily or for hiding things like sippy cups and messy tupperware.
  • For more family-friendly organization tips, read about how to get your kitchen ready for a new school year.

A child reaching on top of a counter for strawberries.
Being prepared to keep your kids dafe and maintain your kitchen can be a challenge but kid-proofing can protect both your child and your kitchen from unexpected damages.

If: You need to keep an eye on little ones while you cook

Then: Add kid-proof kitchen designs.

Protecting both your kids from your kitchen and your kitchen from your kids can feel like a chore. Tiny heads are like magnets for things that are easy to bump into, and no one wants to watch dinner burn because a little one needs soothing after bumping into the edge of an overhanging countertop or falling into pointy cabinet knobs/pulls. There are simple ways to make a kitchen more family-proof than expected. 

  • Try a beautiful alternative to an overhang: an easy-to-clean “waterfall edge” that extends your countertop to the floor.
  • Go knobless (or pull-less) with cabinets that have integrated handles, where the top or side edge has a bevel that fingers can pull on.
  • Make sure cabinet doors and drawers have soft-close hinges so that they aren’t slammed shut constantly.
  • Don’t have open shelving where little ones can get into mischief.

A light colored taupe modern kitchen.
Adding a bookshelf can add a personalized touch to any kitchen and bring a new kind of entertainment to the kitchen.
Image from Family Handyman

If: You need to keep people busy in your kitchen.

Then: Add entertainment spaces. 

Maybe it only takes one person to cook and others want to hang out while you work. Or maybe you need to keep an eye on the kids while lunch or dinner is cooking. Either way, there are clever ways to add entertainment spaces to your kitchen space, keeping young family members or guests busy and in sight. 

  • Put a bookshelf in your island for storing more than cookbooks: fiction/nonfiction books, coloring books, you name it.
  • Put baskets on open shelving for storing kitchen-friendly toys. 
  • Put up a chalkboard or whiteboard for drawing. 
  • Get non-porous countertops that can be easily cleaned after coloring, painting, or other crafts. 

Those are just some of the many ways to make a kitchen more family-proof, and any of these ideas will get you the family-friendly kitchen that’s beautiful and durable for many years to come.