The kitchen is the chameleon of the home, it transforms into whatever homeowners and families need it to be. It’s got many uses for the family but one thing’s for sure, it’s the hub of activity. Some congregate in the kitchen for a celebratory party or friendly gathering, they use it for completing home business or education-related tasks, or simply for dinning.

Essential Design Elements of The Social Kitchen

At any given moment family and friends may gather in your home and your kitchen will quickly become the hot spot for social activity. It is the heart of the home after all and with food prep and conversation flowing, you’ll want a space that accommodates everyone.

If you have a kitchen with a layout that doesn’t easily permit a flurry of activity, consider these design ideas to transform it into a more social space.

Kitchen island bar and stools

A stationary island or a rolling cart can instantly create a more social kitchen. Depending on the size, you might have the focal point and gathering spot for all your friends and family.

Not to mention the extra cabinet storage you gain for food, pots/pans, appliances and other kitchenware. An island can store items directly related to social activities, such as wine, party decorations, games and books. It can also provide extra countertop real estate for food prep and non-cooking tasks. The bottom line, it gives you the extra space you covet for all your social gatherings.

Additional kitchen counter space

An “L” and U-shaped kitchen can be perfect layouts for the addition of an island. You could even incorporate pull or lift-style countertop extensions for the extra room when you need it. By increasing the number of work areas available, the additional counters improve space efficiency and traffic flow allowing more people to work and interact.

Open it up with open floor plans

While we’re talking about layouts, the open floor plan is the ultimate in creating a social environment. Wide, open spaces make it easy for traffic to flow in and out of every area. You’ll never be closed off from the action when you have a clear sight line to everything that’s going on.

But, if you’re not into having all that open space, or want more distinction between rooms you could incorporate half-walls with shelves into the design.

Kitchen materials that are up to the task

A social kitchen means you’re getting a lot of use out of the space. To be sure you can entertain for years to come, you’ll want to select materials that are durable and long-lasting.

Quartz countertops are made from some of the strongest material on the earth. It’ll be able to take the wear and tear your little ones and guests can throw at it.

Granite is another material that can take the hit and stand the test of time. Your countertops will be seeing a lot of action, so be sure to choose something that’ll work for your needs.

Stainless steel appliances are up to the task. Those little hands may smudge and print the outside, but you’ll be able to easily clean the material to keep it in working order.

Add a homework zone or message center

Think about crafting out some room for a homework zone or message center for your kids and family. While you’re prepping dinner, they can be getting their homework done. All you need is a spot for a table and a few chairs—it could be separate from where you eat.

Kitchen seating options

Sit-down furniture, such as chairs, stools and benches can also create social zones. The sight of chairs in a kitchen subconsciously prompts some people to take breaks when cooking. This type of setup also helps if you want to cook and socialize at the same time when family or friends stop by for brief visits.

Think about banquette seating in the kitchen. It’s a convenient spot for everyone that prompts discussions and conversations.