Features like open shelving, hands-free faucets, and ovens and ranges with quick pre-heat settings make cooking and cleaning fast and easy
What do home buyers want in a kitchen? The fashionable color palette changes from year to year, but the thing that most people want from a kitchen is very consistent, year in, year out: They want time. An efficient kitchen that makes cooking and cleanup fast and easy is a source of lasting satisfaction for a homeowner. The efficiencies you build in will make great selling points, too, even before the homeowners get to experience the value of the design for themselves.
In terms of layout, the triangle of refrigerator, range, sink-next-to-dishwasher, is still the most efficient. It makes the workflow of preparing and cooking food the fastest, reducing steps between the three most important tools of the kitchen.
A real timesaver that breaks with tradition is open shelving, which speed thing sup surprisingly just by eliminating the constant opening and shutting cabinets and drawers. (It also eliminates the surfaces of cabinet doors, which attract unsightly fingerprints, speeding up cleaning.) Built-in lazy susans in cabinets make the depths of the cabinet more useful, allowing better access to pots, pans, and dishes. Similarly, a pantry can be built deep, with useful storage space maximized by installing pullout shelves on sturdy glides.
Good illumination in work areas can make those spaces easier to work at, without the shadows cast by a central overhead fixture. It also increases safety during activities like cutting food or washing glassware. Consider individual dedicated fixtures over the chief work areas: main food-prep counter, range, and sink. Countertops can be lit by unobtrusive, energy-efficient LED strips mounted to the undersides of the cabinets.
Selecting appliances that boost efficiency is crucial. For example, ovens and ranges with quick pre-heat features help get meals to the table faster. Quick pre-heat is a relatively new feature, the kind of innovation that sometimes unexpected, but quickly makes homeowners wonder how they ever lived without it.
Induction ranges and cooktops like the Electrolux induction cooktop line can save time and trouble in many ways. Speed to boil is quicker, (like 90 seconds) but heat is very controllable. Even, predictable cooking temperature means less worry about the food burning, freeing up the cook to attend to other tasks. Induction is also more energy efficient than gas or standard electric cooking.
Hands-free kitchen faucets can save both time and water. The faucet is activated by a hand moving in front the motion sensors, much like the hands-free faucets found in many public bathrooms. Hands free kitchen faucets often have twin sensors as well as a simple temperature control lever that can even be operated with an elbow.
After cooking is done, there’s still time needed to clean, and a kitchen that cleans up faster can reduce that time significantly. Some appliance surfaces are harder to clean than others. Popular stainless steel finishes collect fingerprints far too easily, increasing the frequency of cleaning and the work needed to keep a healthy-looking kitchen. Frigidaire Gallery Smudge-proof appliances save time constantly cleaning stainless steel, yielding a spotless look with the minimal amount of work.
The kitchen is probably the biggest investment of any room in a house. While a great deal of attention is paid to kitchen design trends, intelligent layout, smart design, and quality appliances will long outlast the current fashion in colors and materials. Whatever the style, it’s worthwhile building a kitchen that will continue to give satisfaction to those who work there, eat there, and hang out there.