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Designing a low maintenance kitchen – Part 2

Designing a low maintenance kitchen is often high on the wish-list for those renovating or installing one. After all, who wants to spend more time than necessary cleaning and maintaining the kitchen! Our January blog explored the importance of low maintenance worktops and splashbacks as well as different options for cabinets and flooring. This follow-on blog focuses on the best paints, sinks, appliances, and waste disposal to achieve that easy-to-maintain kitchen.

When it comes to your kitchen walls avoid a matt or flat matt finish paint as it absorbs moisture. A silk finish is a mid-sheen option which reflects a bit of light and can be wiped over easily however, if you have less than perfect walls, the lumps and bumps may show.

A harder-wearing finish is high gloss, but this is generally not used on walls, nevertheless, it is perfect for woodwork so a good choice for skirting boards and windowsills and is easy to wipe down. Acrylic eggshell sits somewhere between matt and silk and gives a classic look and feel and can be used on both walls & woodwork. Being tough and durable, it’s a good choice for kitchens.

More recently specialist kitchen paints have been developed to be moisture and steam resistant. These paints often have mould resistant formulations, are actively designed to fight all common types of fungal growth so are also a great option.

For sinks, choose an unmount sink which just lets you wipe crumbs and spills directly into the sink without getting the mess caught up on the edge trim that you’d have if you installed a drop in sink.

When it comes to appliances the best ones to choose are those made from fingerprint resistant stainless steel or non-stainless steel appliances that have easy to wipe smooth surfaces – avoid anything with texturing. One of the areas that gets particularly grimy is the area around knobs on ovens and ranges – make sure you choose one with enough space between them so that you can get a cloth or sponge in the gap to clean properly.

There are many more self-cleaning appliances on the market today – actively seek these out when choosing for example coffee machines and ovens. Ovens with a pyrolytic cleaning function heat to a very high temperature to burn off any residues. Induction hobs are easy to keep clean with their flat smooth surfaces and can look just as good ten years on as they day they were installed.

One appliance that rarely makes the top of the list in the planning process is the extractor hood – but it should! A good, powerful extractor is key when it comes to removing dust, dirt, smoke, and grime. Avoid ductless or down draft vents that pull air in but then simply recirculate stale air back into the kitchen. Hoods that remove dust and dirt externally are definitely more effective when it comes to keeping the kitchen clean.

Finally, managing waste and rubbish disposal. The best style of bin is a large, integrated one located close to the sink and / or dishwasher rather than under the sink. That way one person can be scraping and stacking dishes whilst another can be rinsing before loading. The ideal flow is dishwasher, then sink, then bin. If you have space in your kitchen, then consider a second bin. It may well be that you have space under the sink or in the pantry for a smaller bin for food waste to help make the clear up quicker and easier.

27th Feb 2023