Universal Design for Kitchens

An open kitchen drawer showing stored crockery and a coffee pot.Better Homes and Gardens magazine from the US has a feature on universal design and kitchens.  Some of the key points are:

    • Choose smart surfaces 
    • Install adequate lighting
    • Consider flooring options
    • Opt for a single-lever tap 
    • Embrace contrast
    • Install open shelving or glass front cabinets (find things easier)
    • Include pull out storage (drawers)
    • Install a wall oven

There’s more links on this section of the Better Homes and Gardens website and links to advertised products. Good to see universal design included even if it is presented as different type of design. The information is interrupted by advertisements, so keep scrolling to access the information.

 

The future of kitchens

A kitchen with white cabinetry and a bar extension showing two place settings and chairs. The future of kitchens
The future of kitchens is changing

It is often quoted that the kitchen is the heart of the home, and that probably won’t change in the future. But what people might doing in the kitchen could change significantly. A blog on a product website lists five key design features for the future of kitchens: connectivity, sustainability, ease of use for all, and the rise of professional products. 

Below is a video where researchers and designers from around the world were asked how they thought kitchens will evolve. Their ideas on the future are worth looking at. There are some neat ideas at the end of the video. You can choose English subtitles in the settings.

The techno kitchen

Much has changed with electronics entering this design space. The soft touch openers for drawers and cupboards and height adjustable work benches and sinks are just the start. And they make the “techno” kitchen easy to use for everyone regardless of height and dexterity. Indeed, a universal design approach. As these easy to use fixtures appeal to all it won’t be long before these features are standard. The video below shows some of the latest. However, motorised adjustable benches can be a trap for fingers. You can see the potential for this in the video too.

A Useable Kitchen

View of a kitchen showing white drawers with D handles, an oven at waist height and a small breakfasr barA useable kitchen is a must and it is often the details of the design that make the difference. Once the overall working space has been thought through, the fittings become the focus.

Lifemark in New Zealand has partnered with Blum kitchen products and fittings that help make any kitchen more functional regardless of level of capability to open, grasp, or carry things. Drawers instead of cupboards are now standard in kitchen design, but storing items logically and tidily is another matter.

How to make your kitchen more usable covers workspaces and cabinetry, flooring, colour contrasting, taps and handles.

Other ideas

This item from a Todd Brickhouse Associates newsletter includes some good kitchen design ideas. Scrolling down the page, you can see a picture of a pull-out table that nests neatly under the kitchen bench and over the storage drawers when not in use. Colour contrast is mentioned as an important feature. Another idea is a dual height island bench which has multi functional use. The newsletter includes other items that are probably more specific to north America and also some disability specific items.

 

For a more academic article see Analysis of kitchen design to include UD. It takes an architect’s perspective.

For a product and futuristic take on kitchens see The future of kitchens