Though it’s usually the busiest room in the house, the kitchen should be comfortable, efficient and appealing to family members and visitors. That’s a tall enough order. But when the kitchen is located at the front entrance to your home, it’s the first room people see, which adds to the challenge of keeping it clutter-free and inviting.
Clever, not Clutter
Keeping the kitchen entry clear of clutter starts with smart storage. You can hide blenders, food processors and other appliances that aren’t used daily in cupboards or the pantry. If you are remodeling, talk with your builder about adding storage. Adequate shelving not only helps you keep clutter off the counters; it’s also handy for cookbooks, timers and displays of favorite possessions. If you have a home office, you know it doesn’t take long for paperwork to take over. If it’s in the kitchen and the kitchen is the entry to your home, you have added incentive to keep the desk clear and to use the drawers and shelves for organizing files and accessories.
Less Is More
Most of us have more small appliances and food preparation tools than we need. Take an inventory to see what you can get rid of, or at least keep off the counter. Having a welcoming and comfortable space for conversation while a meal is being prepared is a bonus for front-entry kitchens. No one wants to sacrifice cabinet space, but converting a lower cabinet to contain a pullout shelf for trash and recycling bins is a trade-off that frees up floor space. Best of all, the trash is out of sight. Moving all but the most frequently used items off the counter gives the kitchen a more open look and provides the cook with extra space to work.
Lighting is key for the front entry, but most kitchens don’t have enough lighting and what they do have is often wrong, according to Star Craft Custom Builders of Lincoln, Nebraska. Under-cabinet lighting is one example of lighting that commonly goes wrong. Aiming the lights toward the backsplash provides a more appealing kitchen glow than the scattered, glaring spots on the counter that result from downward-aimed lights. Good ambient lighting fills in shadows and gives your kitchen a brighter feel. Use accent lighting to highlight something special, such as a work surface or a glassed-in cabinet at your front entry.
Entering the Kitchen
Make sure the entrance to your kitchen from outdoors is appealing. Don’t store boots, brooms and other items on the porch. “Better Homes and Gardens” suggests using a bold paint color for the door to offer a cheerful hello to guests. If you like to cook, plant an attractive herb garden right outside the kitchen door and build a convenient path to your vegetable garden.