When you are designing your new kitchen or refreshing parts of your current kitchen, you have so many choices to make. Most are about style but a lot of your decisions are about functionality.
This is your “food prep” room after all, so considering design choices that will reduce the amount of time it takes to clean-up in kitchen is a great place to start. Most budding chef’s love to cook but cleaning up…not so much. So let’s look at some low-maintenance materials, time-saving placement ideas and easy-clean storage solutions. Mix and match your favourites and turn your Spring Cleaning time into a Spring Celebration time.
Countertop & Backsplash
Stainless steel, quartz, Corian and laminates are four good choices that don’t have grout to scrub and never require sealing. Granite is wonderful for ease-of-care, though it does need occasional sealing. If you really want tile, use very large tile so there are less grout areas and use epoxy grout. Epoxy grout is resistant to stains and cleans up beautifully. Like the countertop, choose backsplash material that is easy-clean, low maintenance. Full-sheet materials such as back-painted glass, quartz or stone slab are great. Laminate is also a low cost, easy maintenance solution that cleans up quick.
Flooring that requires just damp mopping and has no grout lines is the best choice. Water-Resistant laminates, linoleum or sheet vinyl are the top picks. Hardwood is easy to clean to, but you need to be ultra-vigilant to wipe up spills or splatters immediately. Large-format tiles are also great and some come in sizes up to 24” x 48”, which means less grout lines to clean. If tile is your choice, go with glazed tiles, as they are impervious to kitchen spills, but choose epoxy grout because it stays cleaner looking longer. The newest trend is porcelain tile planks. You can also use vinyl tile planks in a wood look. They really do look like wood, are resistant to water and require nothing but damp mopping.
Slab-front cabinets are the easiest to wipe off. Shaker style is another good choice, and it blends with any kitchen style, from traditional to contemporary. Solid glass fronts are popular modern cabinet styles, either back-painted or glazed, this style hides any cabinet clutter and is simply maintained with glass cleaner.
The best kitchen designers have the best ideas. Ask about all of the roll out and hide-away options available today. Here’s a few that we love:
Organized rollout drawer for pots and lids. This is such a time-saver and a knee-saver. No more crouching down to the lower cupboards to find the lid that matches the pot you need.
Pull out spice racks, installed near your cook top…the chef’s best friend.
Appliance Garage: This is a section of your kitchen that hosts all of your small appliances, hidden behind a set of sliding garage doors. No more hauling out blenders, toasters, coffee makers; they each have a permanent place of their own. Just slide open the door, use the appliance you need, then close it away again for the next time. This also frees-up your counter space for more important things, like entertaining.
Plug Up or Around
Mounting a receptacle strip under your cabinets keeps the outlets as far as possible from splashes and splatters. Another great place for electrical receptacles is on the end of your cabinets. Either way, it means less time cleaning the receptacles and also makes it easier to wipe down your backsplash.
Sinks and Around the Sink
Integrated or under-mount sinks are awesome! Installing these types of kitchen sinks mean you can wipe countertop messes straight into the sink. Having two kitchen sinks, in two separate locations, can also make easier to keep your kitchen clean, especially when you have a two-cook household. Use one for prep and the other for cleanup. When the meal is over and prep is done, if you have a helper, then cleanup goes twice as fast if there are two sinks. Integrate your drainboard into your countertop and install an under-mount sink, so you can direct water down into your sink. Never again haul out a drainboard and put it away when the hand-washed items are dry. And choose a nice high faucet that moves any way you want it. This is a huge time saver when cleaning big pots, filling buckets and rinsing baking dishes.
Choose the Shortest Path
Create a short path from sink to dishwasher and storage. The sink and the dishwasher are normally side by side, so on the other side of the dishwasher, add your dish storage. From sink to dishwasher — from dishwasher to cupboard…load, unload and put away in easy movements.
Large families swear by having two dishwashers. One that can be loaded throughout the day and one that is always full of clean dishes…with two dishwashers, you might not even need cupboards. The newest “short-path” trend is installing open shelves above the dishwasher, used to store and display the dishes you use daily. Easy to see, easy to grab and use, easy to pull out of the dishwasher and place on the shelf above and used so often that dust doesn’t get a chance to settle. If you’re not using your dishwasher daily, install these open shelves above the drain board, hand-dry and put away.
Recycling and Trash
Put your recycling, composting and trash can on rollout shelves under the counter next to your prep-sink. This is a big time saver if you can avoid multiple trips to the garage or even outside, where recycle bins often reside.
Cooktops and Ovens
Yes, gas cooktops are a dream for cooking, but when it comes to the easiest cooktop to clean, glass beats gas, hands-down. There isn’t anything easier than a glass cook top to wipe down.
When remodelling or building new, consider mounting your microwave above your oven, in the wall nearest to your pantry and fridge and install you cook top adjacent to your sink for fast clean up and ease of movement.
Rollout Pantry Beside the Fridge
Those 5 words are the biggest time saver ever. Put all of your groceries away in one location plus there’s no need to run around and open every cupboard to check and see what you need to buy…just open the fridge and roll out the pantry. And when it comes time to wipe down the shelves in your cabinets, you just have one, easy to reach storage area to clean-up.