Ask any parent what room in their house gets the most action, and they’ll probably say the kitchen. While it’s where families often congregate, the kitchen also contains a lot of not-so-kid-friendly features—hot stovetops, sharp knives, breakable glassware—so designing mindfully is crucial.
Thankfully, IKEA has always designed with the whole family in mind, and kitchen solutions are no exception. You want a space that encourages little ones to learn how to cook, is reliable, and easy to maintain. Here’s how to get all of that and more.
When laying out the kitchen, make sure parents can cook while keeping an eye on their little ones, whether they’re in an adjacent play room or doing homework in the breakfast nook.
If you have a one-wall kitchen that’s adjacent to the living space, add an island to create an area to work where you don’t have to turn your back to the kids. Consider placing the sink under a window to provide a clear view of the backyard while washing dishes.
This is a no-brainer, but sharp kitchen tools should be as far from little hands as possible. Instead of an easily accessible knife block, install a magnetic wall rack on the backsplash behind the counter for not only knives but shears, peelers, and any other sharp metal tools.
For other accessories that could do some damage, like a mandoline, cheese grater, or choppers, dedicate one drawer and secure it with a child lock. Even better, assemble a suite of kid-friendly utensils, bowls, cutlery, and an apron to give them their own set of tools to work with. (See more ideas on that below.)
Encourage kids to join you in the kitchen and learn how to cook by giving them their own storage space. Stock it with kids’ utensils, their favorite dishes, as well as kid-friendly “grown-up” goods like containers, small pots and pans, and colorful scrub brushes.
IKEA has an entire line of kids’ kitchen gear tailored to cooks of all ages. There’s a knife and peeler set with features like rounded edges for ages 8+, and multicolor plates, bowls, tumblers, and flatware, made with recyclable plastic free of BPA. They also sell placemats, a pint-sized apron, and cute lunch boxes.
Spills and messes are abundant when you live with kids. Whether you have a toddler or a teenager, installing surfaces that can quickly and easily be wiped down is a must. IKEA’s quartz countertops are extremely low-maintenance; the material is nonporous and highly scratch-, stain-, and heat-resistant. For a more budget-friendly option, laminate counters are just as easy to clean.
You’ll also want cabinet fronts that can be cleaned in a cinch. Flat slab is the way to go—no crevices for juice or crumbs to get stuck—and a high-gloss finish is the most durable. Lacquered or foil-finished fronts are equally easy to clean, while also being stain- and moisture-resistant.
Small children are constantly moving, no matter how many times you shout “no running inside!” The last thing you want is a small head to meet a sharp counter corner. IKEA’s custom quartz countertops are cut to your specifications, so you can choose to fully round the edges. (Bonus: Your hips will be protected, too!)
Seating—in the form of an eat-in table, breakfast nook, or bar stools pulled up to an island—is crucial for a kid-friendly kitchen. It welcomes youngsters into the room, giving them a place to do homework or help prep food, while keeping them away from the cook.
For young kids, consider a miniature table. While IKEA has a few primary-colored options, they also sell kid tables that fit a variety of kitchen styles, like the HAY-designed YPPERLIG table in ash with dark red edging and the solid pine SUNDVIK, in a black-brown stain or white finish.
IKEA’s UDDEVALLA fronts feature a blackboard surface, offering a whimsical twist for your kitchen cabinets. A chalkboard finish is of course fun (what kid wouldn’t want to write on the cabinets?) but also useful. Use the space to jot down needed grocery items, recipes, or reminders about upcoming family events. If you want to keep the update temporary, IKEA also sells adhesive blackboard panels that can be used to create a chalkboard surface on any wall.
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