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Designing a low maintenance kitchen – Part 1

The kitchen is the heart of most homes and one of the hardest rooms in the house to keep clean. So much happens in the kitchen – prepping, cooking, eating, socialising, relaxing – it’s no wonder there’s a lot of cleaning and tidying to do. From crumbs, spillages and grease to dust, dirt, and stains, it never ends!

However, there are practical ways to design or refurbish kitchens that makes them easier to maintain and keep clean. With just a little planning you can spend less time scrubbing, cleaning, and tidying and more time enjoying your kitchen.

Durable hygienic surfaces are important for a low-maintenance kitchen. When it comes to worktops non-porous materials are ideal. Composites and quartz are hard-wearing and won’t stain. Laminate, while non-porous and affordable, is not as durable or easy to clean. Shiny black granite is best to be avoided as it easily shows fingerprints and requires a lot of polishing. Wood is a versatile and affordable option which adds character and develops its own patina with age and, if it stains, can be sanded back.

Non-porous materials also work well for splashbacks behind sinks and cooking appliance where food splatters naturally occur. Another alternative here is a glass splashback which is hygienic, super easy to clean and doesn’t require grout.

In terms of low maintenance kitchen cabinets, choose flat doors with as few embellishments and hardware on the doors as possible. Moulding and raised panels can collect grease and dirt that, over time, becomes hard to remove. Handleless styles are a dream to clean as there’s nowhere for dust to collect and no handles for little fingers to get hold of. Soft close doors and drawers are also worth the investment as they reduce touch points. You want a durable wipeable surface so go for high-gloss, semi-gloss or satin finishes and avoid matt and eggshell which mark easily.

The right flooring and a well thought out floor plan can reduce number of spills so think carefully about your work triangle and the flow between sink, fridge and hob. As the kitchen is a high traffic area, best to opt for a flooring that is hard-wearing and slip resistant. Stone and ceramic are durable and waterproof but high quality vinyl or engineered hardwood is ideal if you want a softer finish. All offer smooth surfaces that are easy to mop, sweep or vacuum. The larger the tile the better – less grout which has to be cleaned and sealed over time. Avoid textured finishes or flooring with wide seams and gaps where crumbs and debris nestle and consider the colour of your flooring too. Very light or very dark floors show more dirt and need cleaning more frequently.

Kitchen-compare’s blog next month will concentrate on additional low maintenance considerations such as best paint, sinks, appliances and, of course, rubbish and waste disposal.

30th Jan 2023