Have you ever thought about why family and friends tend to gravitate towards the kitchen? From crafts to home cooking in the evenings, great kitchens are a lively hub for all kinds of family activities.

Gone are the days when kitchens were hidden spaces, reserved for cooking and homemaking. No room has undergone such a dramatic transformation in the past few decades.

A free-flowing and homely kitchen is perfect for busy family life, meaning you can spend time the best way there is – together. Follow these tips to create a lively kitchen that’s the ‘heart’ of your home.

5 Tips for Making Your Kitchen the Heart of the Home - kitchen, home design, home decor

Think built-in and open-plan

The best way to create a lively, airy kitchen is to borrow space from existing rooms. After all, why separate into zones, when modern life means your kitchen will operate as an all-in-one, regardless?

Archways work well if you’d like to keep some separation in a broken-plan space. If your home is due a complete renovation, one large space works very well. Use colour, patterns and sleek kitchen islands to break up the room.

Though a sociable, open-plan kitchen is a dreamy prospect, the challenge is to prevent spaces clashing or looking too ‘busy’. Luxury built-in appliances, like an integrated oven or a built in cooker hood from Fisher & Paykel that removes any bad smells are the perfect way to create a trim look.

Create plenty of seating space

Seating space is a necessity in any living area. Once the domain of the living and dining rooms, modern kitchens aren’t complete without a farmhouse table, compact breakfast bar or cosy sofa.

For a really modern look, create a booth for working, dining, reading and entertaining the little ones. The seating space you select will shape the kind of home hub your kitchen becomes: do you prefer lounging after a long day, or is your home always buzzing with guests who come and go?

Built-in or pull-out seating is another fantastic secret solution for smaller kitchens.

Choose a sociable island

When designing your dream kitchen, consider constructing an island at the centre. Not only do islands combine storage space with elegant seating, they also separate your space, preserving some structure, so food and fun still have their own place.

The trick to selecting an island is to envision how you’ll use the space. Consider if you’ll spend more time cooking, eating, or entertaining guests, since this will shape the appliances you’ll build in, as well as important factors like height.

Since islands make great feature pieces, they allow you to really make a statement with your storage. Open storage allows you to showcase your cookbooks and charming copper pans – while penetrating light keeps the mood airy.

Place appliances intelligently

In a lively, multi-purpose kitchen, appliances must always ‘face the space’. Sinks work well opposite an attractive window view, whereas cookers are best near seating space, so you can chat with family as the evening meal simmers.

Place your dishwasher near the sink, and if possible, move laundry appliances into a utility room to prevent distracting noise.

Prioritise kitchen safety

To achieve status as the family-friendly beating heart of the house, safety needs to be a top priority for your kitchen.

Think about locks and levels: keep any dangerous utensils – such as kettles and knives – locked away, out of reach. At the same time, you might want to incorporate lower surfaces and seating, so children can learn their culinary chops early on.

It’s also possible to blend safety and style, with curved worktop corners and sleek, high-tech induction cooktops.

Crafting a dedicated space for family activities in your kitchen is another great idea, ensuring your favourite space is truly at the centre of everyone’s day.