Designing a Kitchen for Entertaining
Rebecca Silburn | 30 November 2015
If you love entertaining, then there are some key things to consider when designing a
suitable space to be as ergonomic as possible for you and your guests. With the kitchen
termed the ‘hub of the home’, it’s easy to see why guests gravitate towards this room. An
open plan kitchen or a combined kitchendiner
with a well thought out structure and design
will ensure that you make the most of the space so that it functions dynamically – a
necessity when entertaining.
Whether you already have a large, open plan kitchen/dining room or are planning to expand,
here are our top tips for designing an area which is geared towards entertaining guests.
When designing a space to be used for entertaining it’s important to first consider flow;
where will your prep and cooking areas be? Where do you want your guests to be seated in
relation to it? Will you be able to access all the areas and appliances you need to with
guests in the room? With the trend for open plan space within the home increasing, the
kitchen and dining/living room areas are often merged. An island is a great solution in an
entertaining kitchen as it creates a social centre in the room. It also keeps guests at a safe
distance from the cooking and prepping areas. To further reinforce this, make sure that the
food prep area faces the seating area, so that guests are included in the room without
encroaching upon your cooking space.
For those that get flustered when cooking, whilst an island keeps guests at arm’s length, it
might leave the chef feeling too exposed. If that is the case, a split level island might be a
solution; it will provide seating for guests and will mean that the chefs’ activity is not at
immediate eye level. Alternatively, a partial screen in the form of column at one end of an
island is a nice compromise; it provides a focal point as well as a barrier between chef and
A drinks area is another nice touch for an entertaining kitchen. Placing it to one side of the
from the cooking and prep areas will
keep guests close but not in the way.
Alternatively, placing the dining area between the kitchen and drinks area will make the
drinks area a practical space to serve both the dining table and kitchen.
Whether a kitchen is used for entertaining or not, it still needs to fulfil a practical purpose,
therefore it’s really important to consider cabinetry and furniture early on. Things like
worktops have not only got to look good, but they need to perform. Materials such as granite,
ceramic and quartz are therefore popular, as they create a luxury finish whilst being highly
durable. Regardless of how durable a worktop claims to be, we strongly advise using a
chopping board to maintain a luxury finish. Ceramic and quartz are particularly popular for
open plan kitchens as colour can be incorporated, enhancing decor schemes and often
acting as a focal point. Colour can also be used to create zones, clearly defining different
areas for different purposes. Using furniture in the same way provides the additional benefit
of giving the space practical separations as well as visual cues on zones.
In terms of seating, a large table for friends to eat at is obviously common in entertaining
kitchens where there is enough space. Alternatively an island or breakfast bar are useful
informal seating areas, where guests can sit and socialise whilst dinner is cooked, should
your dining area be in the next room.
Making the cooking area the focus of the room often works well for those who entertain
frequently, this can be done by incorporating the sink and hob in a central island. It also, as
mentioned previously, prevents the chef from having their back to guests whilst cooking,
enabling them to be involved in the action going on elsewhere in the space while preparing
Also, consider other appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers when designing your
entertaining kitchen. Avoid putting them in a high footfall path so that you can get to them
easily. With a dishwasher, you might want to place this out of sight of the seating area, so
that the mess from cooking and clearing plates is kept away from guests. The placement of
one appliance often impacts on the placement of others so
before you start designing,
decide which appliances are your musthaves
and work them into the kitchen design
logically, so that you can use them efficiently. Your kitchen designer will be able to help you
When it comes to impressing guests, the drinks area is somewhere luxury appliances add
real ‘wow’ factor – drinks cupboards, wine coolers, refrigerated drawers, and plenty of
glazed storage to show off your glassware are things to consider including in your kitchen.
Whilst a family kitchen often focuses on practicalities, an entertaining kitchen on the other
hand focuses more on the aesthetics of the room . While neutral colour palettes and natural
materials such as timber help to make the space feel bigger and often work best in an open
plan environment, using different shades of one or two colours is an effective way of zoning
the various areas of the room while keeping things harmonious throughout.
Alternatively, if you are more daring, large open plan spaces can take bold colours well. A
feature wall, or brightly coloured and ornate chandelier for example, are good ways to
incorporate bold colours as they can be easily changed if you want to redecorate – it is much
easier to repaint a wall than replace a worktop.
Lighting is another important consideration. Adequate task lighting for food preparation is
crucial, but also think about incorporating some lowlevel
lighting too, to create a relaxing
ambience once the hustle and bustle of mealtime is over.
It might seem daunting to design a kitchen geared around having guests in your home as it’s
hard to know how different people will react in the same space. Designating set zones using
furniture and decor, and paying consideration to how the room will flow with and without
guests is crucial as you need to make sure it is functional no matter the occasion. If you
would like some guidance with planning your own bespoke entertaining kitchen please get in