No, this isn’t a post about cleaning out the bins or having a fully-stocked pantry. It’s about getting your kitchen fired-up for entertaining this Summer.
It’s almost that time of year again: The house becomes more of a hotel for extended family get-togethers and spontaneous barbecues with friends and neighbours. But is your kitchen up to the task?
This isn’t about cleaning your cupboards or defrosting the freezer. It’s a practical guide on how to make your kitchen a space that works for any Summer occasion.
Here are our top 5 recommendations to ensure the compliments roll in…
1. Get the right kitchen storage solutions for socialising
Even with your best efforts, your guests will ask you for something that isn’t out on the table already. When they go on the hunt, not only do you want every cupboard they go in to show-off your practical design choices, but you should also apply some logic to their location in the kitchen. Like, for example, storing things for the oven right next to it.
As the old saying goes: “a place for everything and everything in its place”
One of our favourite suppliers, Mereway Kitchens, offers a range of storage solutions to make your kitchen top-drawer. If you’re constantly struggling to find what you need in the kitchen, this is a really good place to start.
Pans can be expensive. And yet more often than not we stash them away like they’re on a timeout for arguing with the utensils. Stacking them one inside the other is old-hat and there are plenty of more efficient ways to consider:
The same goes for knives. But you’ve also got to think about keeping them away from small hands at your parties. Here’s our favourite solution:
2. Have enough seats without bringing the office chair out of the study
Let’s try to put an end to the seating plans, the pointing at seats and the counting on the fingers to decide who will sit where. Your seating should be designed to bring people together where possible.
Do you have a breakfast bar? If so there could be additional seating space hiding right under your nose…
While breakfast bars have become very desirable, you need to ask yourself: is it a practical use of space? Weigh-up how often you use it as seating and how often it is simply used as an extra worktop and you may have your answer.
You could build your seating space into your kitchen island. Here’s our favourite use of space to get the most from your kitchen:
3. Serving spaces for Summer soirées
Out come the serving dishes that you’ve retrieved from the back of your cupboards for the occasion and rapidly dusted. But, when your guests also bring their own side dishes too, you’ll quickly find yourself scrabbling for space. While there’s some pretty nifty storage solutions on Pinterest, we’d recommend an extra table for the occasion. There’s plenty of affordable DIY ways to create a table that you can easily store away in the Winter months. Here’s our top-pick:
There’s another option to get more from your breakfast bar. Remember: it isn’t just for breakfast. Repurpose it during the summer as your ‘hydration station’, a space to present drinks dispensers, beverages and glasses/plastic cups. You get to show off your wise choice of worktop too.4. Make sure you’ve got an oven that can take the heat
Barbecues are no longer just about the burger. They haven’t been for a while. Your guests expect more sides and more variety – including gluten-free dishes. Some of which you know will have to be cooked in the oven. There’s also plate warming to consider. So is your set-up suited to the task of entertaining?
Neff supply some great built-in oven options for those who need something energy efficient and practical that makes ingenious use of the space. While the price ranges from budget to luxury, our favourite model is this super-easy-to-clean double oven:
5. Get even more space with a bigger project
So you may not have the space your neighbour has right now, but you can change that. You need somewhere for guests to take their shoes off, children to wash their hands, and go to the toilet without traipsing upstairs.
Our recommendation? Scrap that conservatory extension idea and extend your kitchen instead, or add a utility room for your washing machine. Keep your objective in mind: creating space that not only brings your garden and kitchen together, but that works for you.