If you have small children or grandchildren around the house, there are kitchen design aspects you should be thinking about to ensure your home is safer and more accessible for them.
A lot of it has to do with what can they reach – and what you want them and don’t want them to get their hands on.
Childproofing Your Appliances
From a safety point of view, appliances can be a concern. You don’t want them turning on the stove and burning down the house by mistake, and you certainly don’t want them to hurt themselves.
You can get ranges that have the controls up top instead of on the front. That way, it’s less tempting to start turning the knobs. Same with the dishwasher; you can have a model with integrated buttons that are inside the doors, so the buttons are hidden away.
And, you can usually lock them. Newer ranges and ovens often have a feature that lets you lock the panels, so if the kids traipse on by and start pressing buttons, nothing’s going to happen. So, when you know the kids are coming over, you can just press a button and lock it up.
Out Of Reach, Out Of The Way
There are lots of childproofing solutions you can apply now, many of which aren’t noticeable from an aesthetic point of view. Most of these solutions can be installed and then removed at a later date because, face it – they won’t stay little terrors forever.
Your breakables are another issue entirely. Whether that’s a collection of teapots or your good dishes, you will want to make sure they are safely out of reach and secure where they are stored.
For example, if you have some of your things on display, getting them up off the counter and putting them in an open upper cabinet, a high shelf, or somewhere that’s out of reach is a good idea. You will still be able to see it, and they won’t be able to reach it. You can then balance that with some closed storage lower down for the plastic plates and cups that they will inevitably use.
Invisible Solutions For Occasional Visitors
With grandkids, it’s a little bit different because they won’t be there all the time.
For example, if you see your grandkids or nieces and nephews once or twice a month, you probably don’t want to design your whole house around those rare occasions.
In this case, it’s enough to put childproof latches or locks on certain cabinets. They use a little magnet as a locking mechanism, and you can define their settings so that they’re not always locked.
For appliances that you want an older kid to be able to reach, like the microwave, you can place it on a lower countertop at waist height. This will allow them to make their own snacks. You might even put a couple of pantry drawers below the counter for your kid snacks, so they aren’t tempted to go searching through your other cabinets.
This sort of design is transitional, too. You don’t really have to think about what you’re going to do about that area in 10 years because you can just use that space for something else, like your Tupperware. You can move that microwave someplace else and turn that alcove into space for your cookbooks, or you can use it for a space to charge your phones because there’s an outlet in the back.
Making The Bathroom More Accessible
Bathrooms often come up in our initial meetings because people tend to think that if they have children or grandkids in the home that they should do lower vanities and lower toilets. In reality, four or five years from now when these kids are a little bit taller and more independent, you’re not going to want to come in and replace those things. It would be like buying the same thing twice over.
The simpler and more affordable solution is to get a stepstool. It’ll cost you $20, the kids will use for a couple of years, then you fold it up, tuck it away, put it in the hall cabinet because you won’t need it anymore.
You might think about using the spare bedroom as a playroom to keep toys consolidated into one space. Or, if it’s a room that they will stay in the two times that they stay over, but it’s also your office, you can have a fold-out sleeper sofa, a day bed, or a futon so you can quickly convert it when you need to.
Finally, a security system is an excellent addition to the home, especially if the kids are little. You will want to know if they try to open a door or window. Security is especially helpful if you’re not used to having to watch a kid. You don’t want to leave the front door open like you usually do and then suddenly they’re gone.
Are you looking forward to having your grandkids visit from time to time? We’ve got plenty of great design ideas to make your home safer and more kid-friendly. Reach out today, and let’s talk about it!