The Hostess with the Mostest: Tips for an Ideal Social Kitchen

Open white kitchen- Cross Kitchens KC

The kitchen is truly the heart of your home. Whether you have a big family or are a frequent entertainer, if you treat your kitchen as a social hub of your home, then it’s important to design it for that purpose!

Designing a social kitchen is about more than simply entertaining. It’s also about understanding all the functionality of your kitchen area and creating a space that can facilitate what you need. It’s not about giving up your much-needed cooking and food prep space. Instead, it’s about reimagining your kitchen in a way that includes both food prep space and social space, seamlessly connecting the two.

Not sure how to put this into practice? Here are six tips to make the most of your kitchen space for a social (and functional!) space that’s welcoming as you host your friends and family.


1. Establish your Vision


Start by creating a vision of the activities you want to take place in your ideal kitchen space. (We’ll get to decor and design later!) Do you want a space where kids can tackle homework while you tackle dinner prep? A kitchen where you can create gourmet meals for large dinner parties? A place that’s perfect for friends and neighbors to gather around the island and enjoy charcuterie while you mix up cocktails? A kitchen equipped to host Thanksgiving dinners? 

Determining your ultimate goals can help ensure a kitchen that’s designed for the kind of socializing most important to you! Remember: Your kitchen will have totally different functional needs from someone else’s. If you’re a homeschooling parent, for example, your kitchen may double as a classroom. You may want to add a whiteboard or chalkboard and choose comfortable bar stools with backs if your children will be working at the counter throughout the day.

If you’re a smaller one or two person household with a love for entertaining, you may want to design your kitchen with brunch and dinner parties in mind, and may focus more on a spacious dining room than the kitchen itself! Do you work from home, or work a hybrid schedule? A little extra counter space and a bar stool can double as a mini home office. The possibilities are endless! 


2. Plan the Layout

An ideal layout for a social kitchen is an open concept design. A spacious kitchen that opens out into the dining room and living room makes it easier to feel gathered together, even while in different rooms of the home. Divide the spaces with counters or a kitchen island and strategically placed seating and dining areas (more on this later).

Although an open concept is ideal for socializing, it’s not always possible depending on your space. Still, you can make your kitchen feel more spacious and inviting by planning out intentional pathways to and from the different spaces in your kitchen and keeping it as clutter-free as possible. Intentionality will go a long way in establishing your kitchen as an activity hub in your home!


2. Create Spaces with Purpose

A social kitchen is so much more than just a place to cook. But no one wants their family getting in their way during meal prep either! To avoid toddlers running underfoot or the dinner party getting in the way of actually making the dinner, establish purposeful zones in your kitchen for the various activities you anticipate.

These zones can include everything from a breakfast nook to a small work desk to a play room safely within mom’s field of vision. If you have a living room just off the kitchen, position your television where it can be seen from all parts of the kitchen so everyone can enjoy the big game together.


3. Consider a Kitchen Island

Every social kitchen needs a large, central island for cozy family breakfasts before school or gathering to mix cocktails with friends after a long week. Kitchen islands create a focal point for both family life and entertaining, making it easier for guests and family members alike to get together without getting in the way. 

Kitchen islands can in themselves serve a number of purposes. They can act as extra seating, a spot for laying out dishes potluck-style, or even become a hub of cooking and meal prep by installing a sink or stovetop. Versatility is key!


4. Utilize Concealed Storage

Strategically placed, concealed storage is a timeless kitchen design element that will keep your countertops clutter free and your kitchen tidy and inviting. No one wants to hang out in a messy kitchen, and avoiding clutter will give even small kitchens a sense of open space for gathering and relaxing together.

Kitchen islands with storage underneath are a great way to help keep your countertops cleared off and ready for potlucks, kids doing homework at the counter, and baking on a Sunday afternoon.


5. Incorporate Seating

The social activity will stay in and around the kitchen much longer if it’s comfortable to do so, which means including seating for your guests and family! Add some barstools to your kitchen island or counter to turn it into a breakfast bar, and take advantage of any dead space by adding built-in booths or a window seat.

If your dining room is right next to the kitchen, treat this as part of the space with plenty of dining chairs as an extension of your social kitchen. The seating doesn’t have to be directly attached to the kitchen in order to make your kitchen more social!


Give Your Kitchen Some Heart

If you want to treat your kitchen with intentionality and transform it from a cooking spot to a lovely and inviting gathering place, we’d love to help you envision your space! Whether you just need to update your storage, add a little seating, or completely gut and rebuild your kitchen, we’d love to partner with you to create your dream social kitchen and truly be the “hostess with the mostest.”

If you’re in the Kansas City area, give us a call today for a free estimate.

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