From coffee and chats to entertaining a crowd, how to ensure your kitchen is the social hub of your home

Kitchens are one of the hardest-working spaces in the modern home. No longer just a place to cook, we also want to use it as a social space, from somewhere to have a morning coffee with a friend to the venue for our gatherings both small and large. Here's how to make sure your kitchen can rise to all these challenges.

If you're planning a new kitchen, there's probably all sorts of things you've been thinking about. The perfect colour scheme, the style of units, and the best appliances to choose — all are important considerations.

However, even the most beautiful kitchen will fall flat if it isn't enjoyable to spend time in: if your family doesn't enjoy congregating there, or you find yourself moving guests into a different room.

There are a number of ways to make sure your kitchen functions as a social space. We can't wait to have people over again, and want our kitchens to work perfectly when we can. We asked O’Connors of Drumleck, renowned for exceptionally crafted kitchens, for some of the most important things to consider.


Use an island as your focal point

O'Connors of Drumleck

For a kitchen space that encourages people to gather, a large kitchen island is a must. It can combine functional cooking space with seating, meaning that whoever's making dinner can easily converse with whoever else is in the room.

Modern islands can even incorporate sinks, hobs, wine fridges and much more, so your most used areas for preparing meals can move to more social positions in the room, rather than have you facing a wall.

As well as this, seating at an island feels relaxed and casual, giving you somewhere to perch with a neighbour as you sip coffee, or your kids to sit with a snack after school as you prepare dinner.

With a bespoke kitchen design, you can designate different zones of your island by creating different levels for different functions, or by using different materials, such as a wood section for a seating area combined with a natural stone worktop.

Details like built-in draining boards, extractor fans that sit flush with the worktop, and a curved edge along the seating area can also help your island seamlessly multitask between social space and functional cooking area. Working with a bespoke kitchen firm like O'Connors of Drumleck will ensure that even the tiniest of these details will be executed perfectly.


Storage is everything

O'Connors of Drumleck

If your countertops are always cluttered because your current storage isn't working for you, or you have to do a lap of the kitchen to find everything to make your friend a cup of coffee, you'll be more reluctant to use your kitchen as a social space.

The right storage will ensure not only that everything has a place, but also that your kitchen is totally seamless to use.

With a bespoke design, you can tailor your storage to how you use your space. You could create a dedicated tea and coffee station inside a pantry cupboard, so you have kettle, teabags, sugar, ground coffee and French press all to hand.

A drawer for oils and spices next to your hob could be the answer to a countertop that's usually cluttered with small bottles and jars. You're also much less likely to find yourself rushing around looking for things when your storage has been well planned-out. O’Connors of Drumleck can help you plan out the best approach for your kitchen storage.

Maximise light wherever possible


O’Connors of Drumleck

Some kitchens are more blessed with natural light than others, but no matter what it's important that your kitchen design works to maximise this as much as possible. A dark and dreary kitchen will never encourage people to spend time there.

Whether it's forgoing upper units to let light flow more freely, choosing glass-fronted cupboards, or opting for a pale neutral scheme to bounce light around the room, there are a number of ways you can ensure your space is as bright as possible.

To decide what would be most suitable for your kitchen, the experts at O’Connors of Drumleck can look at its size, shape and window placement, and advise on how to make the most of the space's natural light.

Quality materials and craftsmanship

O’Connors of Drumleck

The difference between a space that merely looks nice from afar and one you find yourself constantly drawn to spend time in, the quality of its materials and craftsmanship are what really set a kitchen apart.


Not only do they look beautiful, but the tactility of solid wood units and drawers, or the texture of a stone worktop beneath your fingertips will make your kitchen a pleasure to use as well as look at.

O’Connors of Drumleck carefully handcraft each of their kitchens, made from the finest raw materials. Peter O’Connor along with his two sons, John and Peter, and their talented team work with the natural beauty of the raw timber for a stunning effect.

Details like traditional dovetailing, mortise and tenon jointing, deluxe in-frame design and luxury handpainted finishes are a given, and are guaranteed to elevate your whole space.

Layout is key

No two kitchens are the same, so working with a kitchen designer is so important to getting a layout that's perfectly tailored to your space, one that works with its main features, as well as your own priorities.

The right layout will ensure an effortless flow around your kitchen, and everything should feel natural, from your position when seated at the island to the path between your fridge and hob. The best kitchen layouts mean that the experience of using them feels totally effortless, and therefore you and your family find yourselves spending as much time as possible there.


O’Connors of Drumleck have a wealth of experience in designing kitchen layouts, and can help you find one that works with all the nuances and needs of your space.

With the highest quality handcrafted kitchens and interiors, O’Connors of Drumleck creates luxurious design that is built to last. Sustainable quality from talented Irish furnituremakers. Contact us to arrange a personal consultation.

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