It seems like everything is "smart" these days. We have smart phones, smart TVs, smart home automation systems and even smart kitchens. What is a smart kitchen and how can you create one in your home?
What is a Smart Kitchen?
There are two ways of defining a smart kitchen:
- An intelligently designed kitchen is one kind of "smart" kitchen. It is a kitchen that is easy to work in and maintain, energy efficient and beautiful at the same time. The kitchen designer takes a holistic approach, balancing the needs of the primary kitchen user, the family and the environment.
- A smart kitchen is a technologically advanced kitchen, including appliances and other inclusions that make cooking and cleaning faster, easier and more efficient.
The ultimate smart kitchen is one that incorporates both of these definitions. Surprisingly, it's not that difficult to create the ultimate smart kitchen.
How to Create the Ultimate Smart Kitchen
The ultimate smart kitchen starts with design. The classic work triangle remains the starting point. Your main food storage, preparation and cooking areas should form a triangle, allowing you to move from one to the other within a few short steps. Open plan kitchens are here to stay, so it's good to provide a traffic area as well. The fridge is best located outside of the main work area, to avoid traffic jams when hungry and thirsty family members are around. If space allows, an island provides both a "perch" for family and guests and serves as a way to direct traffic away from the work area.
The materials you choose for your kitchen are another sign of an intelligently designed kitchen. For easy clean-up in a busy kitchen, choose smooth-surfaced door and drawer fronts. When it comes to benchtops, you need to strike a balance between your budget, your dreams and practical considerations. A solid surface benchtop is the ultimate in functionality and can even include an integrated sink and drainer, but if this is outside your budget, modern laminate benchtops come in so many stunning colours and patterns, you are sure to find one you'll love.
Smart kitchens require smart appliances and it seems like appliances are getting smarter every year. They're also taking up more space. This is one reason why drawers are replacing doors in so many kitchens today. Rather than bending over or reaching up to access your benchtop grill, sandwich maker or mixer, if you keep them stored in dedicated drawers, you can access them easily and keep all their accessories together with them in the drawer.
Energy efficiency is another hallmark of a smart ktichen. When buying major appliances, compare their energy ratings as carefully as you compare their prices. Think about using gas appliances wherever you can, too. While they cost more initially, over the course of time they will save you money as well as help minimise greenhouse emissions.
If you really want the ultimate smart kitchen, then look into a home automation system
. From the palm of your hand or from a centrally located terminal, you can control virtually every corner of your house. Think about how many times you've interrupted your work to walk across the room or to the other side of the house to turn on or off lights, open the curtains, change the TV channel, put some music on or answer the phone. You can do all of these things and more using a smart phone connected to your home automation system.
The "smartest" kitchen is also a kitchen that you love to spend time in. The addition of comfortable chairs or barstools will invite you to sit down, relax and have a cuppa and your family and friends will appreciate them, too. The addition of a smart cappuccino maker that makes a perfect cup of coffee at the press of a button is a welcome addition to any coffee lover's kitchen. When it's ready, grab your remote and dim the lights to create a relaxing ambiance. Select some music to set the mood and sit back, relax and give yourself a pat on the back for having created such a smart kitchen.