Posts tagged with "Kitchen"
Turn your kitchen back into the heart of the home
In the world we live in, we often find ourselves too busy to appreciate the little things, especially those in our own home. After a long day at work, it’s easy to fall into the habit of viewing the kitchen as simply a functional space, used only for preparing meals.
But, as the focal point in many homes, the kitchen is the perfect space to bring family and friends together and make lasting memories.
For many, our earliest memories probably come from the kitchen. Whether it was in your own, your friends or your grandparents’ home, the kitchen probably played a huge part. Just the thought of baking, licking the spoon or eating that all-important Sunday roast is likely to bring back fond memories.
As the space where many families tend to congregate, the kitchen is the perfect place to bond and connect with both your partner and children. Cooking a meal together, or helping out with some chopping as your partner cooks is a great way to spend time together during the otherwise hectic work week. Baking with the children not only helps create memories, but delicious treats as well.
Even if the children have gotten a little too old to bake with you, a kitchen table makes a great work station to do homework. Something, such as the Magnet Table Plus, is the perfect fold away addition to any kitchen. You could let the children play at their work station, before folding it up and joining the adults at the dinner table. It could even work as a fold away office for yourself.
But of course, the best way of turning your kitchen into a social hub is by getting together for a family meal. After doing the homework, clear the table and eat together. Too often we spend the evening in front of the TV or a computer screen, so eating together at the table is the perfect way to get offline and talk with your loved ones as you reconnect over food.
Leading psychologist Kate Nightingale discusses the sense of touch
After a long day at work, imagine coming back to your cosy home, taking off your stiff, uncomfy shoes and putting your hands around a large mug of hot chocolate as you snuggle down on the sofa. All of these actions, in as little as 15 minutes, can affect us in thousands of different ways. We often think of the sense of touch as being pleasant and functional, but not especially important. Or perhaps, we’ve just never thought of it that way.
As part of our sensory blog series we have asked consumer psychologist Kate Nightingale to discuss the role of touch and the role sensory aspects of a design can have in making people more sociable, evoke excitement or relaxation and even improving people’s brain power.
“The sense of touch is particularly important for humans. There is ample scientific evidence for the importance of human-to-human touch for physical health and it is well documented that petting a dog or cat can uplift mood. Yet in the current technology-run world, we increasingly spend less face to face time with people which is replaced with more time spent online. This negatively impacts not only our mental, but physical well-being.
“The kitchen has always been a social place. You eat breakfast in there with your family, drink an afternoon coffee with your partner or have a drink with a friend while cooking dinner. However, the trick is to design your kitchen in a way that it fosters close and satisfactory social interactions with your friends and family, yet at the same time makes you feel comfortable and relaxed.
“Textures and temperature are especially useful for doing just that and any textures resembling wood, wool or simply looking warm (e.g. warm colours) can have a positive effect on how relaxed you feel in a space. Wooden worktops are a good way to achieve this in your kitchen.
“What you might not know is that what you touch can impact on your interactions with other people. Studies show us that if we hold a warm drink in our hand, we perceive people as more friendly and approachable and behave in such a way, which leads to more intimate conversations.
Any smooth textures suggest that the interpersonal interaction should be quite easy, so we subconsciously oblige and guide the conversation accordingly. Anything that feels or even looks soft can further enhance your interpersonal relationships by bringing you closer to people, as it makes everyone feel cosy and emotionally safe.”
If you therefore want your kitchen to be social, focus on warm colours and soft and smooth surfaces. Great examples are woods or wood-like surfaces and smooth matt finishes for cabinets, such as the Fusion Champagne.
How to make a feature wall work for your home
Pattern in the home can be a great expression of personal style, but it can seem a little daunting in comparison to solid colours.
There are a number of key points to take into consideration when planning with patterns and we will help you to avoid any print-based faux pas.
In terms of wall pattern, start by doing your research. Whilst we might love to follow fashions, choose a pattern that you won’t tire of and see how it works in your space with swatches and samples. If you’ve kept it around for a while and still love it, you’re ready to make the commitment. Always bear in mind the rules of pattern and how they affect your space, for example smaller prints create a more relaxing feel in the home, whilst larger patterns will demand more attention.
The timeless combination of black and white makes for dramatic patterns that will be on-trend for years to come. The simplicity of monochrome will allow you to co-ordinate any patterned pieces seamlessly into the home.
Be prepared that a pattern will often become the focal point of the room, so consider how your furniture and décor will work around this. For example, the bold citrus colours within this Magnet Gloss Integra White splashback are perfectly complemented by the sleek white units.
If you’re not prepared to commit a wall, floor or furniture to pattern, accessories such as ceramics, artwork and lights are a simple yet effective way to experiment with pattern.
The kitchen is a great place to bring in a statement wall or introduce a splash of colour – it is the perfect location to impress your guests and bring some ‘wow’ factor to your home.
For example, the bold citrus colours of the splashback within this Magnet Integra Fusion White kitchen are perfectly complemented by the sleek gloss units.
Colour is something that so many of us take for granted, but is such a powerful mood setter. It affects so many everyday life decisions and is such an important element when looking at interior design. It has hugely powerful connotations for the kitchen as Karen Haller, our guest blogger explains.
“We only have to imagine a world without it to realise just how much we use and rely on colour to make everyday decisions and navigate our way in the world around us. From the clothes we choose to wear, to waiting for the green light to cross the road, colour is a helpful guide throughout our life.
Being able to see colour and interpret what it is communicating to us is one of our most powerful sensory skills.
I’m seeing the shift from colour being seen and used as just something aesthetically pretty, to it becoming one of the key tools in the design industry - a powerful sensory tool that can influence human responses and behaviour in almost any way and in any environment.
When it comes to food, there’s a saying “we eat with our eyes”. We are taking in and making many decisions based on the colour of the food alone. Take your morning cup of tea as an example; whether you have it black or milky or any of the tones in between, you know how it is going to taste from the colour.
We judge if food is ripe or starting to go past its used by date, by its colour. You only have to think of a banana to know when it’s green it’s starchy and when it’s yellow it’s sweet.
Working alongside the other senses, we already have an idea what a food is likely to taste like, by the colour of it. The other important thing here is context. For example, when we see a red strawberry we already know it’s going to taste sweet. We see red chillies and we know the taste is going to be hot and fiery.
We are constantly making decisions based purely on colour and it’s just the same for the colours we choose for our home. Colours can reflect our personality, create a sense of positive well-being or that instant wow factor.
There’s one colour in particular you won’t find in food: blue. We instinctively avoid food that is blue. In nature, it’s seen as being poisonous. Our favourite blue berries are actually purple. You’ll rarely find this colour in restaurants, cafes, kitchens or places that serve food. Blue is also likely to have the effect of acting as an appetite suppressant.
Using accents of orange on the other hand can aid in stimulating the appetite and it’s a fun, playful hue that encourages socialising.
A popular colour for modern kitchens is white. Whilst it gives a sense of cleanliness and order, it can feel also feel a bit cold and sterile at times.
Ultimately, no matter what environment you’re in you’ll be amazed at the number of decisions and choices you’re making on a daily basis based on colour alone. This demonstrates just how important it is to take time choosing the best colour scheme and design for your kitchen.
Karen Haller is a leading international authority in the field of applied colour psychology. She has spent over 20 years studying, researching and working with colour and is a global specialist and teacher in colour psychology.
Tips for choosing the right lighting for your kitchen
Having strong enough light in the kitchen is fundamental, but there is so much more to it than overhead bulbs. Light can also be used to create a mood and atmosphere, and the right kind of lighting can completely transform a space and highlight key areas. We’ve put together some key tips to help you find the right kind of lighting for your kitchen.
1. Light up the right space
When you are planning your kitchen, the first thing to consider is where you need light. You can illuminate the whole room with rows of pendant lighting, but if you don’t highlight your task areas, you’ll be preparing dinner in the dark. Magnet have a fantastic range of under cabinet lighting which are great for areas where you cook and clean as they cast minimal shadow and light up the surfaces you use every day.
2. Different lights, different purposes
There are a myriad of different solutions to consider when you are illuminating your kitchen. Directional spotlights are great to highlight task areas, whereas a dimmer light with a warm glow is best for the dining area, where you can adjust the mood depending on the time of day. You can also use lighting to pick out a key design feature. For example, Magnet’s illuminated shelf light creates a dramatic feature for your units and lights up any cutlery or accessories on your shelves.
3. Match your lighting to your mood
Forget the colour of the walls; lighting can be the fastest way to achieve the right kind of ambiance in your room. Are you looking for something low, relaxed and calm, or something fresh, awakening and inspiring? Think about what you want from your lights and then dive straight in.
4. If in doubt, just ask
With the vast array of lighting solutions on offer, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Magnet have a range of experts on-hand to help and advise. They know that dark materials can reduce brightness, that lighter colours and materials do the opposite, and that glossy surfaces can lead to unwanted reflections from spotlights, so no matter what kitchen you’ve chosen, they’ll have the perfect solution for you and will help tailor your lighting to your kitchen.
Magnet interviews leading neuroscientist Dr Jack Lewis
Why do different sensory stimulants affect people in different ways?
Everyone’s brain has experienced different things, so as people progress though their life from childhood to adulthood the brain wires itself together according to their experiences. Things that are experienced frequently have a bigger influence than those that are experienced infrequently. Everyone’s batch of emotional sensory experiences are different and it is these that have the most power in forming the way our brain wires up, and therefore responds to things in the outside world. This is why everyone responds differently, because the type of music that evokes memories of my childhood will be very different from the type of music that evokes memories of your childhood.
It is the same with smells, textures and all of our senses: we have unique experiences of the world and of our sensory experiences.
By the time we reach adulthood we have experienced different things a different number of times and these memories evoke different sensory experiences from person to person.
Why does the home evoke such a strong sensory experience?
The home is the place where so many of our memories are experienced. It is the place where we feel safe and secure, where we drop our guard. In the living room for example, you’ve got lots of strong visual and acoustic stimuli coming out of your TV. Your radio or sound system is a device that allows you to select and thereby develop a taste for different types of programmes and music.
A lot of our senses are stimulated in the home, it is the place where we kick off our shoes and walk around barefoot, awakening our touch senses. The kitchen is a key room where everything is simultaneously stimulated – especially smell and taste.
How can you introduce sensory stimulants into the home to improve your wellbeing?
Well, a lot of the sensory stimulants that improve wellbeing tend to be related to the natural world but our homes tend to insulate us from this world. So to improve your well-being it’s a good idea to do things like introducing aromas into the home, such as fresh flowers in a vase. Some people do it and some don’t, however the smell of nature can be key in improving your mood. Often the best thing you can do is get out of the house altogether and go for a walk around the park or the countryside whenever possible. If you are trying to recreate these natural experiences in the home then flowers are a good option as well as pieces of art or music.
The one thing about visual art is that quite often you only really notice it for the first few weeks after you have put it up, so you should trick your senses by moving these pieces around or by having a different set of images that you rotate around your home. Doing this is in effect like curating your own art show in order to keep your brain on its toes because you are giving it novel experiences on a more regular basis. Don’t just hang up a painting and leave it there for decades – mix it up to encourage and stimulate your senses.
Why is the kitchen the perfect place to awaken your senses?
All of the senses are stimulated simultaneously in the kitchen. You have the sight of food, the smells, the aromas coming in through your nostrils, and the taste when you eat something. Eating food is very much about the tactile experience of feeling the textures in your mouth, this is a huge part of what we almost colloquially call the sense of taste. Strictly speaking taste is just the senses that come in through the tongue, and there’s only 5 or maybe 6, some would argue, possible experiences that come in just though the tongue, so the sense of smell and touch inside the mouth is vastly underrated. I did an experiment the other day on my TV series where we blindfolded people, robbing them of their sense of vision as well as their sense of smell, and then gave them a raw onion to eat (also asking them to use a glove so they couldn’t feel the onion). They thought it was an apple, until we took the peg off their nose. Even when we only robbed them of their sense of vision they still couldn’t tell what it was, which shows the power that vision has in dominating our experience of taste. When you are hungry, you eat, you feel pleasure. Hunger was invented, biologically speaking to encourage us to seek out food to nourish us and give us energy to survive. Eating when we are hungry invariably gives us a sense of pleasure and as the kitchen is the place where we experience this time and time again, we have positive associations with this – hence the parties in the kitchen!
What’s the one thing everyone should have in their kitchen to stimulate their senses?
That’s an interesting one, I think a brilliant idea is spices. Spices and herbs. Although it’s not everyone’s cup of tea to have a spice rack, you don’t always have to use it in your cooking. Leaving the lid off one of the jars from time to time is a great way of evoking your senses through scent, and often these aromas can jolt memories of your childhood.
Usually when our memories are jolted, they come from periods of life called the reminiscent bump which occurs between the age of 15-30. The sense of smell is linked to this because it’s plugged directly into the limbic system, the emotional memory part of the brain, rather than being re-routed through other brain areas first, as with the other senses. This means that it’s very powerful in evoking memories of childhood before the age of 10, and there’s no other sense that can stimulate it in quite the same way.
Many would also suggest freshly ground coffee, to actually grind your own beans, so coffee lovers might wish to do that to evoke their sense of smell. There’s something about actually turning the handle of an old fashioned coffee mill, where you can feel the beans crunching and the aromas are always much more powerful when it’s freshly ground, so there you go - two for the price of one!
Why the kitchen is so important
You’ve probably heard the kitchen referred to as ‘the heart of the home’, and you may have wondered why. Have you ever noticed that family and friends tend to congregate in the kitchen?
Think throughout time, from eating cereal in the kitchen during childhood, to friends sharing stories over a meal in student accommodation and then back to feeding the children in the mornings. The kitchen is often a hub of activity and there are a number of reasons why it is such a vital part of the home.
Perhaps the most obvious reason is that this is where we prepare the meals we need for nourishment, but this relates back to memories being made, chatting whilst cooking and enjoying food together, all of which naturally encourages conversation.
Food brings people together and therefore so does the kitchen. Not just for family meals, the kitchen plays a key part in social occasions like parties, Christmas feasts or dinner parties.
Even if you live alone, the kitchen can be a place for adventure, cooking up meals from scratch and experimenting with food to create new dishes or just comforting, old favourites.
Finally, some would say that the kitchen is a room that sets the tone for the whole home. Not many rooms have such a distinct functionality as the kitchen, and we’re generally prepared to invest a lot on such a vital space. Not only do kitchens bring value to the home, but we want them to reflect our personality and taste. Be sure to create the perfect heart for your home and try out a range of designs with Magnet’s QDP tool.
Can you mix modern and traditional?
Mixing classic and contemporary can be a little chaotic, but if it’s done correctly, the two styles can live in perfect harmony. Opposites do attract, after all.
We can call the overall effect of marrying the two styles, ‘transitional’, and the kitchen is the perfect room to implement this style.
Some might feel that modern style is too sleek and impersonal, whilst traditional trends can feel dated to others. Within both there are clearly some opposing elements but also some very complementary opportunities.
Shaker style is a timeless kitchen design, with a rich history. Essentially, this includes cabinet doors with panels set back, and minimal adornment. Magnet’s Shaker Cream owes its effortless style to the 18th Century Shaker community, but the unit’s soft, sleek curves give the room a modern update.
Using a matte finish throughout the kitchen is a fairly modern trend, combine the matte grey finish of Leighton Grey with the traditional shaker style for a kitchen that is both unique and up to date. Infusing the textures, finishes and common characteristics of the two styles will give you the best of both worlds to combine classic and contemporary.
Another modern look is crisp, white units. The clean, industrial colour can give a sleek feel. The lustrous finish of Magnet’s Leighton Gloss White mixes well with the classic Shaker simplicity of the units and is contrasted with a stunning Corian sage worktop.
It can be surprisingly easy to twin classic and contemporary styles in your home, so if you’re unsure which look you prefer, or if you’re looking for a timeless kitchen that will always be in style, consider a transitional design.
This season’s biggest trend
As the days have grown colder, it’s been increasingly impossible to ignore the trend that has taken over the autumn/winter seasons, velvet.
Originally known for its high production costs, velvet has often been associated with nobility and still has connotations as a luxurious fabric. With these prestigious credentials and distinct, soft feel it is no surprise that velvet has ruled the catwalks this year.
As we often see, the trend has made its way into our homes, through opulent upholstery and ornate accessories. This unique textile lends itself particularly well to upholstered dining chairs. It might be easiest to imagine vintage or antique styles, but velvet is truly brought into the modern day when featured on contemporary, unusual shapes. For example, when the soft velvet cushion of a dining chair sits on metallic steel legs, the ancient textile is given an instant update for the modern home.
If you’re looking to incorporate the trend into your kitchen and dining room, why not make it a focal point by toning down on other colours and textures. The rich nature of the fabric often means that colours are bold and eye-catching, so let the velvet do the talking when it comes to interiors. Pair the textile with stunningly simple units and worktops such as those featured in the Luna Cream kitchen. The different finishes of the high gloss units and the silken fabric create a lovely contrast that gives a feel of up to date style in your kitchen.
There are a number of ways to build this season’s biggest trend into both your wardrobe and your home, take a look at our new Pinterest board for some style inspiration.
How to measure your kitchen
At Magnet we appreciate the time it takes to plan your dream kitchen, and the detail that goes into. From the planning to the final product, you want your kitchen to be perfect.
We aim to make the process as seamless as possible and thanks to Magnet, the process has never been easier.
To get it right from the very beginning, you’ll need your kitchen measurements to hand, and it’s easier than you might think. We have outlined the steps for you in a short masterclass from Magnet.
To begin with, simply sketch out the shape of your kitchen. The more true to life the sketch is, the easier it is to envisage your new design, try to include all of the structural features and projections. To give you a helping hand, you can download and print grid paper from the Magnet website, perfect for the planning process.
Next, on your sketch you will make a note of where the room features are located, including doors, windows, soil pipes and electrics. Be sure to clearly mark out the various zones within the kitchen, including cooking, dining and any additional storage.
3. Get measuring
Once you’re happy with your sketches, it’s time to add the all-important measurements on there. An expert tip is to break each wall up into clearly labelled sections to measure separately. For a more accurate measurement, make sure that your tape measure is parallel to the floor when taking your measurements.
4. Visit the experts
Once you have your measurements and kitchen plan, book yourself a design appointment at your local Magnet showroom where the designers can bring your sketch to life and make your dream kitchen a reality. Become even more involved in the design process with our online planning tools, where you can create detailed 3D visuals and receive a guide price for your kitchen creation.