A kitchen is no longer just a kitchen' says St Ives designer

Family At Home Eating Breakfast In Kitchen Together

Kitchens are often multi-functional spaces at the heart of the family home. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Bill Halliday, director at Nicholas Hythe Kitchen Design in St Ives, on how to create a kitchen that works for you and your lifestyle.

Kitchens are often the most important and hardworking room in a home, where functionality is paramount to aesthetics. Increasingly, they have become multi-functional spaces too. 

“A kitchen is no longer just a kitchen,” says Bill Halliday, director at Nicholas Hythe Kitchen Design in St Ives, “It is a snug, a living room, a study. People are moving away from the idea of the old traditional kitchen to a space that has more social involvement.

“People want their family in the kitchen while they cook and eat, and nowadays they want to face their companions while preparing food instead of having their back to them.”

Kitchens were used as a place to dine, hang out and relax in, as well as the place to prepare food before the arrival of Covid-19. However, the pandemic has intensified the need for kitchens to be multi-functional because people have been focused on their families and the kitchen is the family hub says Bill, adding: “creating different atmospheres in one room has now become a high priority.”

Establishing different zones - or atmospheres - is key to designing an effective multi-functional kitchen. 

To get this right for you, Bill says it’s important to know how you want to use your kitchen and what you want to achieve from a lifestyle point of view. This will also enable you to nail the flow and functionality of the room too. 

“It might not be just one person prepping a meal,” he says. “Children might want to be involved in the making of the meal and they can’t do that if everybody is squashed in the corner. 

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“Key to every design is thinking about how do I use the space to get everything I want out of it, rather than what can fit inside the walls.”

Zones can be achieved through pull-out cables and storage, utilising different lighting or materials, or internal doors that section off parts of a room. You can also create zones by incorporating different ceiling features into your design. 

“People don’t want it to look like there’s a divide between the kitchen and living area,” says Bill. “Hanging something above a kitchen island, or some lighting or a velux window if you have a pitched roof can create natural zones within a kitchen and it will still feel like it is open planned.”

And while kitchens have to work hard to work well for you, the room still needs to look good too.

“We have to get that blend of functionality and aesthetics right,” says Bill. “You can’t have a kitchen that looks horrible, but likewise, if it looks pretty but doesn’t work as a room, that’s a big failure too.”