How to Choose a Pretend Play Kitchen

Why choose a pretend play kitchen?

From all of the things you can buy for your favorite girl or boy, why a play kitchen?

First and foremost, it creates interactive play. It encourages imagination. It allows your child to role play and cook like Mom or Dad. This is a great way to play with your child, and a great way for your child to play with friends. And if you choose, you can turn kitchen play into a learning opportunity. Play food can be used to teach about different foods and nutrition. Also social skills can be practiced with serving food and play eating together. What sort of play kitchen do you want? Children’s kitchens range from very small toy kitchens to very large and feature full. You can find a single unit kids kitchen, which include many appliances, to multi-piece kitchen play sets with individual appliances. Choosing a play kitchen set depends on the age of the child, your budget and your setting. It also depends on your personal philosophy. Where is that play kitchen made? Is it eco-friendly and made with sustainable manufacturing and fair business practices.

What kinds of play kitchens are available?

Single Unit Kitchens – These play kitchens include many appliances such as a stove, oven, microwave and sink in one unit. These units have a “front” and “back”, so that they can be placed against a wall. Typically this style of toy kitchen is either a “assembly-required” wooden kitchen or it is made from molded plastic. A typical large, self-assemble wooden kitchen measures about four feet long, four feet tall, and about two feet deep.

Island Play Kitchen – These are stand-alone pretend kitchens. Children can play on all sides of these kitchens. Island play kitchens also feature various combinations of sink, stove, ovens and microwaves. Toddler kitchens are typically this style.

Complete Kitchen Play Sets  – We are talking about a multi-appliance set here. There are separate toy stoves, toy refrigerators, toy microwaves, toy sinks, and toy dishwashers.

Table Top Toy Kitchens – These are small, typically “two burner” stoves, that are designed with portability in mind. These pretend kitchens can be moved from room to room and be used on a table, shelf or even the floor.

Natural wooden kitchens – These kitchens are made from solid wood and not particle board. Many of the “assembly-required” are made from laminated particle board and are still considered wood by the manufacturer. The natural wooden kitchens are typically made from spruce, pine or cedar. Many of these designs are more abstract in nature. That is they do not offer realistic detail; however, there is no mistaking that these are play kitchens. They usually combine a sink and stove and have moving parts. It is just that the details are left to the child’s imagination.

Is my child old enough?

In a word, yes. Well, let’s qualify that. Some kitchens also have small parts that may come off and pose a choking hazard for a younger child, so your child should be at least three years old. With a small child it is tempting to get a very small kitchen play set. However, a busy preschooler can quickly out grow the small toy kitchen. On the other hand, if you get a large play kitchen, it might overwhelm a younger toddler. You have to know your child, but you want to plan for growth.

A smaller child may not be able to reach the upper appliances on a large single unit play kitchen. On other units, the stove top or counter height may be too tall for the child to effectively play with the toy kitchen unit. Your choices are three-fold: buy a smaller kids kitchen and patiently wait until your child grows taller. Or, get a little step stool or bench, just like the one you use in their bathroom, to help the child reach everywhere in their kitchen.

Remember, children play with their kitchens for many years, so you probably want to buy a play kitchen as soon as you can and plan for growth.

From what material should the toy kitchen be made?

Wooden play kitchens are sturdy, durable and last for many years. They are less likely to crack, fade or warp as they age. However, assembly may be a challenge if it is a flat-packed unit. Wood makes a sturdy childrens kitchen, but sturdy means heavier and harder to move.

Plastic play kitchens are typically smaller and lighter than their wooden counterparts. They are easier to clean too. However, if the plastic kids kitchen is designed as a wall unit, as opposed to a free standing unit, it could be a tip-over hazard. And just because it is made from plastic, it does not necessarily mean it is cheaper. Nice plastic full featured children’s kitchens may be more expensive than many nice wooden play kitchens.

Eco-friendly? Some of the wooden play kitchen manufacturers use sustainable harvesting and use no finish, natural finishes, or low V.O.C water based finishes.

Where are you going to put the play kitchen in your home?

A lot of homes do not have the area to accommodate a large toy kitchen or multi-unit kitchen play set. If you have a play room, multi-unit pretend kitchen set may work for you. If you have the wall space, then a combination single-unit kids kitchen will work. Otherwise consider a play kitchen island or table top toy kitchen.

Once you have decided where the kids kitchen will go, you need to look at the decor of the room. Kitchens come in all sorts of colors, shapes, and patterns, so you should be able to find something that matches or least does not clash with the room.

How long are you going to keep the kitchen?

If your play kitchen is going to hang around for a year or two and then head off to a new home, there’s probably no need for a large, heavy, elaborate kitchen. On the other hand, if you intend to keep the kitchen for five or six years or more, you should get a sturdy wooden one that isn’t going to fade or crack with time. If the kitchen is to be passed down through a progression of children and perhaps generations of children, a handcrafted, heirloom quality wooden kitchen would fit the bill. Where are you going to put the all the play kitchen accessories? Play kitchens beget play kitchen accessories. There are all sorts of play kitchen toys: pots and pans, small appliances, ovenware, aprons, kitchen towels, utensils, and pretend play food. Some play kitchen sets have more storage than other kitchen play sets. You may want to take that into consideration.

So how are you going to choose?

  1. Decide if your child is ready. You can wait a while if you like.
  2. Determine your budget – How much do you want to spend? Kitchens with more features are generally more expensive.
  3. Determine how long are you going to keep it –  Sturdy wooden kitchens will last longer.
  4. Find a location – Do you have a spot in the house for that large kitchen? And how is it going to look? You need to decide.
  5. Determine the storage needs – Is there enough storage for all the play kitchen accessories? (There’s never enough 🙂

Remodeling Your Kitchen, Some Ideas That Might Be Beneficial

Making the kitchen your first home improvement project is a great idea. Remodeling your kitchen is one of the best home investments you may make and is often the top priority when it comes to home improvement projects. The kitchen is the most crucial part of your house, so making this room appealing and agreeable to work in as well as practical can be imperative. Having a smooth running, well planned kitchen is crucial in getting the entire home to function effectively. Even if you just own a little kitchen, take care not to let this hamper your kitchen remodel project. When size is limited the organization of the kitchen ought to be most important.

The main directive when it comes down to how to put into action your kitchen modernizing ideas is to have your budget in clear view at all times and stick to it. Remodeling your kitchen on a tight budget will be tricky but you need to instruct yourself to turn down any ideas that will bust your budget and search around for affordable substitutes.

When you are upgrading your kitchen, you may need to understand how to work out in what order to bring about the changes. Equally, as it may be awkward to carry out kitchen upgrading all at the same time, you have to prioritize the alterations that are most important to you. If the main thing you really want is extra cabinet storage space, then set aside money for new kitchen cabinets instead of spending on a new copper sink. Discovering how to upgrade the kitchen without wanton spending necessitates that you prioritize the elements in your kitchen that will need to be refurbished.

Another central part of kitchen remodeling will be picking the correct lighting, from general light fittings for kitchens to light fittings for kitchen islands.

When your kitchen has a high ceiling then a single ceiling lighting fixture may possibly not be enough to illuminate the whole room. Think about special types of lighting arrangement for different parts of the kitchen such as; under shelf lighting, pendants, chandeliers, semi-flush lighting, or recessed lighting if you can afford to have that done.

Granite is rapidly becoming one of the most well-liked constituents for kitchen counters. Whatever your individual style, there should be a granite color absolutely suitable for you and your interior. With a lot of assorted eye-catching colors to pick from you will most likely have lots of choices in deciding on the wonderful granite countertops for your upgraded kitchen.

An added well-liked favorite used for kitchen remodeling are concrete counters. Today you will be able to find out in online stores why concrete counters are very sought after. They can be made in virtually any design, including rounded which is something that may not be done easily with natural granite. See how you can make the versatility work for your upgraded kitchen plus what color options are now available. There will be different kinds of coloring additives, stains, and concrete variations, so concrete counters will forever be unique. Concrete is friendly to the environment in every part of its life span, making it a foremost choice for environmentally friendly kitchens.

When kitchen remodeling, your kitchen sink is almost always replaced. If you would prefer a up to date, retro, or country style kitchen, there are now a lot of kitchen sink designs to decide from. There are a significant variety of kitchen sink styles which as well are presented in a variety of materials which are in turn offered in a large array of colors, shapes, and sizes. When you have decided on the kitchen sink you would like, you then will need to decide on a faucet.

Kitchen faucets were formerly a clear-cut essential. But today you will be able to have faucets to complement any kind of kitchen in a assortment of configurations and finishes. There are new designs and new technology that can help your upgraded kitchen to a much more user friendly space.

Use the web to help you discover which style of faucet would match your upgraded kitchen the best. In addition to your principal kitchen faucet, you may also like to incorporate an entertainment sink faucet for an extra water source on a kitchen island, a pot filler kitchen faucet or a water filtration faucet to make sure that you will be supplied with pure and the safest water.

One eye-catching highlight you can add to your modernized kitchen is a copper sink. You will be able to choose from a expansive variety of copper kitchen sinks in purpose made styles and shapes, copper country style kitchen sinks, hammered copper sinks, double bowl copper kitchen sinks, and others. You may be certain that if you get a copper kitchen sink it will bring a talking point into your kitchen and everybody will love it.

Kitchen tiles for backsplash and walls were a long time ago common old dull white ceramic. But today you will be able to acquire tiles for your refurbished kitchen in a massive assortment of finishes, colors, shapes and sizes. Glass in a variety of sizes from big sheets to tiny mosaic pieces can be used with splendid effect within a kitchen. Glass could even be cast to look like marble tiles and using recycled glass in your remodeled kitchen can be an environmentally friendly preference.

Refacing your kitchen cabinets will most likely be a easier alternative to a total kitchen upgrade. Does your kitchen need modernizing? If so, think about cabinet refacing as a replacement for the expense of buying and installing brand new ones. If your hardware is tatty after cleaning, you might want to replace it. Today is a good opportunity to give your cabinets a total modernization. There will be many beautiful handles plus hinges offered at your local home improvement stores or in online stores.

The least costly way in which to upgrade to a fresh look for dark and unloved wooden kitchen cabinets is to paint them. Ensure the kind of paint you utilize should give a functional, washable surface.

When choosing new kitchen cabinet handles, select a design that should look spectacular in your upgraded kitchen. Should you live in a retro home, opt for brass or pewter. If your house is minimalist, go for hardware to match like glass, aluminum or novelty handles, allowing the kitchen cabinet handles to match your refurbished kitchen.

Using the huge quantity of online stores and kitchen design specialists, it is easy to explore the best brands of flooring materials for your kitchen. If you know what brands of floor covering are offered you can decide whether you intend your upgraded kitchen floor to be of cork, vinyl, travertine or limestone. Should you prefer to become environmentally friendly, then you might be thinking of bamboo.

The Unfitted Kitchen: Why Bother?

If you’ve been involved in designing or building a new kitchen in the past 20 years, you’ve probably heard the terms ‘unfitted kitchens’ or ‘kitchen workstations’ or simply ‘kitchen furniture’. These terms don’t refer to a dinette set, but rather to a completely different way of organizing a kitchen by using a few specially designed pieces of furniture instead of installing continuous lines of cabinetry and countertops. For some people, a ‘furnished’ kitchen is an intriguing idea, but others might say “Why bother fixing something that ain’t broke?”

Sometimes we get so caught up in accepting how things are that we don’t take any time to question whether we are going in the right direction. Technology has a way of pushing us forward, but sometimes we need to take a break to discover what form of progress is the most appropriate. For example, when electricity first came to New York City, there were layers of power lines attached to all the buildings and power poles everywhere. If we look at the old pictures of Manhattan we can’t believe how ugly it all was, but to most of the New Yorkers of the period, they never even noticed the chaos. It took someone with just a bit of foresight to realize that burying all the power lines underground was a better way to go.

Kitchen design that uses cabinetry has evolved into the universally accepted method to create a kitchen. But in the last 20 years, designers started to ask the question, “Is cabinetry really the ‘best’ way for all design situations?” To answer this question, we must first discover the reason ‘Why’ changing from cabinetry to something else would be beneficial. Hopefully, by illustrating how kitchen design has evolved, you will begin to discover ‘Why’ kitchen furniture can be a great alternative to designing kitchens with cabinetry.

In the days before electricity changed everything in our lives, family kitchens in modestly sized homes were large but simply appointed rooms. They contained a solid fuel heat source for cooking (a fireplace or a coal or wood stove) and a built-in sink, with or without running water. Everything else was a piece of furniture. The icebox was elegantly made of wood, as were the central dining/work table, cupboards, pie safes and pantries. The family kitchen was the central work/social place of the home too where family members, sometimes in the company of friends performed most domestic chores and socialized with each other.

Electricity brought many timesaving devices into the kitchen, as well as many inventions that pulled us away from the kitchen. Due to the innovations in the kitchen, fewer people were needed to prepare meals, so the kitchen lost a lot of its social importance and became a smaller, super-efficient working room. Built-in cabinetry, previously delegating only to Butler’s pantries in larger homes, now became the best way to shrink the kitchen into an efficient workspace. With more leisure time, socializing was delegated to the living areas of the house, because the kitchen was too small.

Now, current planning has opened up the kitchen to incorporate the social rooms again. New homes almost always have a breakfast/family room completely in view of the kitchen. The Great Room concept is simply a large social room with a kitchen in it. Walls between the kitchen and other rooms are being torn down in older homes in the effort to create multi-task, live-in kitchens. We have actually gone full circle, in a little over 100 years, by creating a modern version of a pre-electricity social/working kitchen.

Why has this happened? There are too many reasons to list here, but they all seem to relate to time. With the development of the 2 career families and single head-of-household families, there isn’t enough time in the day to dedicate a lot of it to cooking. Again, innovations (i.e., microwaves, pre-prepared and frozen foods) have allowed us to spend less time cooking during the workweek. And when we are cooking, we don’t want to miss anything that is going on around us. On weekends, we may relax in the kitchen/family room by watching TV or even entertaining friends by cooking elaborate meals.

But typically, the kitchen portion of the great room still looks like and is organized like the super efficient, work-only kitchen mentioned above. It is lined with horizontal bands of cabinetry and countertops that are interrupted only by exposed hi-tech appliances. Designers promote this ‘laboratory’ look because it is easy to design and it truly is the only kitchen design concept that most people understand. Most kitchen layouts are created by drawing a line 2 feet out from every wall (to indicate cabinetry) and then if there is room, an island (the bigger, the better) is drawn to act as a buffer between the kitchen and family room. The room’s personality is determined by the design of the backsplash, and it depends on the color uniformity of the cabinetry and appliances to hold the design theme of the room intact.

On the other hand, the family room, or the social area of the great room is designed in a completely different way. Typically, a beautiful empty room is created and then it is furnished. Instead of lining all the walls with horizontal bands of built-ins (and there are exceptions to this i.e. Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie homes) the wall spaces are interrupted with vertical elements like windows and doors or focal points such as a fireplaces. The walls of the room are separated into vertical segments instead of continuous horizontal bands. At blank wall areas and in the middle of the room, eclectic pieces of furniture create seating arrangements, while the wall-hung artwork and sculptural collectibles on display determine the room’s personality. But the wall, floor and ceiling colors and textures permeate between all of these vertical elements acting as the ‘glue’ that holds the whole design theme together.

So the question is, why not create a multi-task, live-in modern open-plan kitchen/family room by furnishing it rather than installing cabinetry? Why not blend the kitchen into the family room using vertical instead of horizontal design? Why must half of the room look like a sterile laboratory, while the other half of the room is filled with the personal touches that bring you comfort?

When designing with furniture, spaces must be created between each piece that allow the 3-D character (3-D in that furniture is made with at least 3 finished sides) of each piece to be appreciated. These spaces are most important as they allow the design theme of the adjacent room to continue uninterrupted into the kitchen. The spaces allow the wall, ceiling and floor coverings (the architectural finishes) to instantly meld the kitchen and family room into one homogeneous space in a way that is impossible to do with horizontally designed cabinetry. The spaces define the room’s personality and allow the furniture to become more eclectic as well, emulating the same design techniques used in the design of the family room. No longer must the kitchen have just one color of wood, or one door style or one countertop material. The spaces allow all of these elements to change more readily. For a clear example, think of an open-plan log home where all the interior walls are exposed logs. A furnished kitchen allows the logs to be seen between each piece, which helps to unify the open-plan room whereas a horizontally designed cabinetry filled kitchen covers up all the logs. In an open-plan loft design where the kitchen is always seen, a furnished kitchen can blend seamlessly into the other casual seating groupings by allowing all the architectural finishes to meander between all the pieces and hold everything together.

There are a few simple design rules to consider when designing the individual pieces of furniture, but that is a topic for another time. There are even other reasons ‘Why’ to use furniture instead of cabinetry, such as using it to emulate a certain style or period like the pre-electricity styled kitchen. But it is in today’s open-plan kitchen where furniture can make its most universal impact. Will it ever replace cabinetry? Absolutely not, but for anyone who is involved in designing a kitchen project, properly designed furniture may be the most appropriate design concept to use, one that is well worth the bother!

Avoid These Costly Kitchen Remodeling Mistakes

The kitchen is the heart of every home. It’s where all meals are cooked and prepared – where guests and families congregate to swap recipes and stories over dinner or Sunday lunch. It is important to design your kitchen to be as spacious and welcoming as possible, and make sure it is conducive not just for cooking, but will also allow space for all the activity that’s going on.

Despite your good intentions, however, not all kitchen improvement projects end up well. Layout planning may be an issue, or the choice of paint colour, type of cabinetry, and furniture do not match. Here are some kitchen renovation tips and things you should avoid:

1. A bigger kitchen is not always better

A carefully planned kitchen is often better than a haphazardly designed bigger one.

Almost every kitchen remodeller’s dream is to get a bigger kitchen. But bigger does necessarily mean better. If a kitchen renovation experts advises you to improve your home’s entire floor to free up space for a bigger kitchen, take their advice with a grain of salt and try getting a second opinion from a different firm. Sometimes, a small but well-designed kitchen with high-quality materials and carefully planned details is enough. Remember to keep in mind the kitchen work triangle to manage the workflow and maximise the efficiency in the kitchen.

2. Skimping on storage and cabinets

Cheaper is definitely never better. Your kitchen storage should be durable enough to last your kitchen’s lifetime. Investing in a strong and durable cabinet is a must for any kitchen. You’ll be opening and closing those drawers every day so they’ll be subjected to a lot of wear and tear. Make sure you get hardwoods with a good finish and strong hinges to get the best value out of your remodelling efforts.

3. Relying too much on the design fad

Green can veer towards trendy and seasonal. Balance it out with neutral colours to make it more timeless. Fads always come and go. Because of this, trendy homes can easily become dated in just a few years. Be careful when allowing current trends to influence the design of your new kitchen. It is still more important for the kitchen to match the rest of the rooms in the house and reflect the personality and activity of the family or individuals living there. Opt instead for good space planning and timeless kitchen designs.

4. Getting distracted and going against the original design plan

Stick to the plan. This will not only makes sure that the process of remodeling is smooth, it also ensures you stay within budget. The key to a successful remodelling project is following a well-organised design plan. If you have already declared a budget, selected a colour theme, purchased materials and furnishings according to the said plan, follow it. Avoid getting distracted by “newer and shinier” kitchen gadgets and furnishings as well as kitchen layouts that seem to look more exciting that the one you planned. Stop second-guessing your initial choice and stick to it.

5. Trying to be your own designer despite lack of experience

Designing your kitchen isn’t as easy as painting one colour and mixing it with the other. Remodelling the kitchen, even if it’s one room, requires a good eye, creative design skills, and ability to produce layouts that consider the function of the kitchen and the flow of people around the house. This project is definitely time-consuming and complicated, and when done incorrectly, it could even be more costly than what is necessary. According to Denise Dick, a CMKBD and NKBA member in Carrollton, Texas. “Just like you go to a doctor specializing in a part of the body the specialist for that part of the home is the kitchen designer. We understand how it all fits together and why the parts are necessary. You’re going to do it right the first time with a designer.”