In the coming year, kitchens will continue to become an even larger element in home design, as they are no longer just for cooking.  Over the years, kitchens have evolved into the main essential living space, encompassing all aspects of family life into one room. Studies show that kitchens now take up a larger percentage of space in the home than ever before. So, while overall home size may be getting smaller (due to budgets, energy efficiency, etc.), the proportion of kitchens to the rest of the home is bigger. 

This means there are more activities in and around kitchens that are becoming part of the kitchen itself.  

Have you heard the saying "The kitchen is the heart of the home?"  Chances are, if you are in any way connected to the world of kitchen design (or if you’ve done research while remodeling your own kitchen), the answer is yes. And while that is true, I'd like to argue that the statement "The kitchen is the hub of the home" may be even more fitting when it comes to truly functional design.

We usually see kitchens in a corner of the home ... which accommodates the standard U-shape or L-shape layout well and usually allows the kitchen to be adjacent to a couple activity areas.

But think about how you use your kitchen. Doesn't it make sense that your kitchen be close to as many activity areas in your home as possible? Enter the idea of the kitchen as a centrally located hub, like on a wheel. And imagine all the "spokes" that could extend from that central kitchen. A kitchen located in the center of the home, if planned correctly, could allow you to be equally connected to all of these spaces, whether they are integrated into the kitchen room, or separated in an adjacent room:

Dining Room
Family Room
Pantry/Butler's Pantry
Mud Room
Garage Door (for carrying groceries in)
Front Door (for guests when entertaining)
Bedrooms (easy access to morning coffee)
Office space (where kids might be doing homework)
Laundry Room
“Command Center” (term for space where family schedules, calendars, contact info, mail, and other misc items are kept)
Separate bar area (for entertaining, keeping traffic out of the main working kitchen)

Note the kitchen rendering above. It’s a proposed plan for a kitchen remodel, moving the kitchen away from the corner and into the center of the main living space, making it much more accessible from all over the home.

This isn't always possible in a remodel situation, but is a definite possibility if planning a new home. If you are remodeling or building a home, make sure you consider not just the kitchen itself, but all activities that will take place in and around the kitchen.

For more information, read this article and this article by Ellen Cheever.

Nicole Zeigler, CKBR, Allied ASID, is the owner/lead designer at enzy design, specializing in kitchen & bathroom design and residential remodeling.

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