4 tips to make your kitchen your happy place
Is your kitchen stressing you out or does the heart of the home put a smile on your face? The importance of a relaxing kitchen environment shouldn’t be underestimated. According to a recent kitchen survey, we spend an average of 2.8 hours per day in the kitchen – that’s more than any other room in the house, bedroom excepted. When you consider that kitchens have long ceased to be single-purpose spaces and are now an integral part of the home where we cook, eat, relax and socialise, it’s crucial that your kitchen feeds you in every sense.
So, how can you turn your kitchen into a sanctuary? Whether you’re thinking of refreshing, upgrading or completely redesigning your kitchen space, think beyond mere cabinets and appliances, worktops and flooring. The end result should be a calm, organised, peaceful and harmonious space that you love to spend time in, somewhere you feel truly nurtured.
If you want to make a real difference to how happy you feel in your kitchen, here are 4 key things you should address.
- Better organisation and storage
A cluttered kitchen makes it difficult to relax; less chaos means less stress. There’s great wisdom in the old saying ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’. Make it a priority to review your kitchen storage – even more important if yours is an open plan kitchen/diner – and subscribe to the equally powerful saying ‘you can never have too much storage’.
If at all possible, add more concealed cupboard storage where pots and pans, small appliances, utensils an d all your other kitchen bits and bobs can live happily behind the calming façade of a closed door. If you’re having a kitchen refurb, now is the time to put kitchen storage at the heart of the project.
Open shelving and decorative objects on display are all very well but make sure you’re discerning and selective in what you want to show off: two or three handpicked artisan pieces have a more calming effect than a higgledy piggledy collection of mismatched china.
- A big kitchen cupboard declutter
Of course, if you already have plenty of cupboard space (and can’t add any more) but your kitchen still feels disorganised and a long way from calm, it might be time for a grand clearout. Getting rid of stuff you don’t need can be a liberating experience, plus it will leave you with more space to organise the kitchen items you do use every day.
Take a critical look at all those items collecting dust – the fish kettle, the waffle maker, the 20+ old baking trays, the leftover picnic plates… – and decide to give to friends or family, donate to charity, sell on Ebay or throw away.
The same goes for the pantry. Throw out any out-of-date packets, jars or tins of food. Donate any unspoilt and unopened foods (that are still within their use-by date) that you bought on a whim, for an occasion or as a souvenir but know deep down that you’re never going to use. Give all the shelves a good clean while you’re there, then reorganise your foodstuffs into logical groups. And when you’ve finished purging the pantry, turn your attention to the fridge and freezer and repeat the process.
- Cleanliness is next to godliness
There are few things more disheartening than entering a grubby, grimy kitchen. You don’t have to be religious to recognise the uplifting effect of a clean, orderly space. Neither do you have to believe in Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese system concerned with energy flows through the home, to agree that a bright, clean and clutter free environment equals good energy!
If your kitchen’s level of cleanliness leaves a lot to be desired, maybe it’s time to get out the mop and bucket and don a pair of Marigolds. Set aside some ‘project time’ for a good old spring clean to bring your kitchen surfaces back up to scratch. If heavy duty cleaning isn’t your thing, you could always instruct a professional cleaning company to perform a ‘one off clean’ for you. Oven cleaning is another messy task that many kitchen owners would much prefer to leave to a professional.
Once you’re happy that your kitchen is sparkling and hygienically clean all over, it’s a case of regular upkeep. As a minimum, a daily wipeover of worktops and surfaces is a must, using a disinfectant to keep on top of microbes, in addition to a regular weekly clean. If you’re working full-time or simply don’t have the inclination, get yourself a reliable cleaner.
- The healing power of nature
Connecting with nature is a tried and tested way to lower stress and increase happiness. Why not bring the outside into your kitchen? Not only will it give your home a soothing vibe, any plants will help to clean and oxygenate the indoor air.
Start with something as simple as a colourful bowl of fresh seasonal fruit displayed on the kitchen table, or fresh cut flowers that are beautiful to look at and have a naturally uplifting fragrance to remind you of the garden. How about some pots of herbs on the window sill, such as parsley, mint, chives and basil? The natural aroma will fill the whole kitchen while you have the added bonus of fresh herbs to cook with at your fingertips.
Open the windows to let some fresh air and birdsong in, or fit bi-fold doors that can be thrown open on sunny days to combine your enjoyment of the garden and the kitchen. Maximise any natural daylight by keeping windows unobstructed and decluttered. Vaulted ceilings and skylights will increase the amount of light in the room, as will a light colour scheme and a white gloss kitchen finish.