design-scrapbook.s600x600The kitchen is often the hub of your home—whether your family sits together to eat at meals or everyone just grazes, odds are it’s a central meeting spot several times a day. In addition to family, invited guests may spend much time standing around the countertops or table, enjoying each other’s company while you eat and drink. As such an important part of your home, special care should be taken in choosing selections, designing your kitchen, or remodeling. To maximize your enjoyment of the space you have, we’ve put together these simple tips:

Create a design scrapbook. Before you plan to purchase, look through some design magazines, online photos, and model homes to get a feel for your tastes. You can even put pictures you like together in a binder to help you remember what you love and to show your designer or builder. This should also help you narrow what kind of style you like best–modern, contemporary, classic, rustic–and will help make all of the decisions easier, as you can plan around a theme.

Declutter. You’ve probably never heard someone say they have too much counter space, as counter space seems to be in high demand. When designing a kitchen, plan for as much storage as possible so you can keep things off the counters. Once you are in the space, make the most of however much counter space you have by removing any unnecessary items. Pack the toaster in a cabinet when it’s not in use, and use an in the door rack for your paper towels—anything to hide away what you can. This will give you plenty of room to work with when cooking and hosting parties, as well as give your space a clean, fresh lift.

Create an empty, seated workspace. Create a space in your kitchen, if there’s room, for the kids to do their homework or a person to sit on a laptop. This will allow your family to share more moments together during times of multi-tasking. As someone cooks or puts together a snack, you can enjoy each other’s company.

Choose one main focus. If you are remodeling or making your selections in a new home, often the kitchen options can add up and become costly. If you are watching your budget, choose one main element that you would love your kitchen to have, whether it’s granite countertops, a top-notch appliance, or a stunning pot and pan ceiling rack, and stick with that. Even one small upgrade can make a big difference.

Let the light in. A light, bright space will be warm and welcoming to the whole family as well as guests. Use as much natural light as possible by doing what you can to prevent cabinets and appliances from blocking the windows. If you don’t have much natural light, choose paler colors for decorating, which will brighten and stretch your space. Also, add as much lighting as possible, including track lighting or recessed bulbs on the ceiling and under-cabinet halogen bulbs to make your kitchen as appealing as possible.

What is your favorite part of your kitchen? And how do you recommend making a kitchen a family space?

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