The last 100 years have brought tremendous change to the kitchen. Dual income families and indoor plumbing have both played a role in the way we now use this central part of our home. A place to cook, eat, share and laugh, the kitchen truly is the heart of the home, and a few simple changes will transform an uninspired kitchen into a room that draws families together.

Create a gathering space. With hectic schedules, the kitchen is always the gathering spot after a long day. Allow it to be functional. Define a space for kids to do homework comfortably while snacking. Make room for a computer or laptop for family use, to pull up favorite recipes, read current events together and research schoolwork.

Clutter control. Most active families are busy with events outside the home. Organize the kitchen. Clear clutter from countertops, making meal prep easier and more efficient. Leave out only functional items and store decorative accessories. Pull pots and pans out and hang them in easy reach, thereby making space for other items to be stored.

Shine on. Find ways to creatively light your kitchen based on use. A bright overhead light is great for preparing meals in the evening, while a soft low light provides a more pleasant dining experience. A crisp white light should be used for homework and natural light cascading through windows is best for all circumstances when it’s available.

Update appliances. If either space or design are issues in your current kitchen, browse all of the kitchen appliance options available today. Older appliances can and should be replaced with more energy efficient models. Most appliances are also available in smaller versions to save space in currently cramped kitchens.

Keep multi-function use in mind. The kitchen serves so many functions. It’s a place to prep and cook food, eat, study, do crafts and family activities, listen to music, even watch television on occasion. Install a smaller flat-screen TV in one of the less traveled corners of the room. Create a lounging area by arranging seating with functional multi-use storage benches and cushions.

Whatever your style, let your Connell’s sales representative show you some kitchen design ideas the next time you stop in one of our two locations, Mt. Vernon and Newark.