There are a few reasons for all the conversation around kitchens being seen as living spaces. The move towards open-plan layouts is definitely one of them. By proxy, the kitchen became part of the living and dining room. Cooking, eating and relaxing melded into one. Then there’s the surge in awareness around diet, health and wellbeing. More and more do we talk about grow-your-own, provenance and balance. Food and cooking are a huge part of modern lifestyles, so surrounding ourselves in an atmosphere that’s all about precisely that is appealing to many of us. And what about the clear-as-day fact that life has become so incessantly busy that creating a room where multiple tasks can easily co-exist without parts of the family being dotted throughout the home makes perfect sense? More than that, it makes life easier.
Because we ask so much of our kitchens, zoning becomes a useful way for us to make sure they’re up to the tasks in hand, the jobs in question. And that we don’t get under each other’s feet in the process.
Aside from the obvious cook, prep and eat zones, here are some of the other areas that you might want to try to cordon off in your own kitchen…
The wash station
Who on earth enjoys washing up? Although we know one or two people who claim to find it quite a calming exercise, the majority of us probably don’t look forward to this post-meal ritual.
The sink clearly marks out this part of your kitchen, but to make it more appealing, make your sink area a proper zone with an attractive washstand like Edinburgh, if you prefer something different to a traditional sink cabinet. Or, make the inside of your sink cabinet more interesting (and functional) with items like our zinc-inner and oak-outer Orford wet store – the perfect place to hide a damp sponge so it’s not left on your countertop. Then dress the area with a mixture of sink necessities like textured linen tea towels, a botanical washing up liquid, and one of those lovely wooden-handled pot brushes sat on a ceramic dish so you don’t get any drips. It’s surprising how much of a difference little touches like this will make to your every day. And because it makes your sink area more of a clear zone in your kitchen, those stray cups and plates that the usual suspects leave littered around the kitchen happen less and less – honestly, we’ve seen proof. It’s as though the sink becomes a beacon.
Coffee or breakfast pantry
Whether you have a large kitchen or a small cottage kitchen, it’s quite easy to create a specific area for making teas and coffee. Our bi-fold countertop cabinets work well here because there’s no bottom shelf, meaning you can plug in a kettle and coffee machine and have them sitting on the kitchen work surface, but concealed behind closed doors when you’re not using them. Needless to say, this makes your kitchen look less cluttered too.
The reason for this zone is a) so that you have a clear section for where you’ll keep all drink-making paraphernalia, from tea and coffee to mugs and cups, giving more order to your cabinets and shelving, and b) it brings real charm to your kitchen. It feels nicer when you have an area zoned out just for the simplest of tasks. It feels more designed.
The same idea works for turning it into a breakfast pantry zone. If you aren’t the sort of person to have umpteen tea types and variations of coffee, then you can use the shelf space for jars of granola and breakfast cereals, a toaster, a breakfast tray, a tea pot and butter dish, and whatever else you need for breakfast at your place. It’s a way to make breakfast feel like a proper meal to enjoy every day, even if you do have to rush.
Zoning doesn’t have to be about a specific task. It can be centred around a piece of furniture that you want to highlight in its own dedicated zone, or that will lend itself to improving how you live in and move around your room.
Shelving in a kitchen comes in many forms. Maybe you just have it all on one wall, maybe you have it spread throughout the room, maybe you have so much shelving that it becomes a big part of your kitchen’s styling, maybe you have one smaller shelving area where you keep all the things you want on display, or to have in easy reach. It’s always worth building at least one shelving zone into your kitchen though – it breaks up the look of constant cabinetry, plus it gives you a different sort of storage space. Think about how you want to use yours and give it a key role so the zone is even more defined. For example, you could have a glassware zone, where all of your glassware is laid out on shelving, from wine glasses to water tumblers to glass carafes. Or a serveware zone so that you have a clear area to find all your casserole pots, serving platters, and generous bowls for big salads. In the Teal Suffolk kitchen scene, look to the back, past the island, past the table and chairs. We’ve used freestanding Carter shelves within an alcove to create a pantry zone to free up cabinet space so you have a designated area to store all spares of things and larger appliances that would get in the way otherwise.
Living space zones
Depending on how much of a living space feeling you want your kitchen to have, you can always try to allocate space to a non-kitchen zone. In a larger kitchen, maybe there’s room for a small sofa and coffee table, or an armchair and side table where you can comfortably sit and read while something’s bubbling on the stove. Or what about a study zone? It’s easy to only think about having a kitchen table, but if you have an island and bar stools as a seating and dining section in your kitchen, then creating an area with a small desk like Manhattan can be a nice change to what you’d usually expect to see in a kitchen. This could be where children do homework or colouring in, it could be where your laptop lives instead of in a study or home office. The bottom line is, it gives you the option of working somewhere cosier and less shut-away, and it brings in a clear lifestyle zone to your kitchen.