Wellness in the Kitchen

October 23, 2023

The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home. It is where people love to gather to be close to the food and the action.  It’s why in modern home design, kitchens have grown substantially to accommodate larger islands and room for entertaining and food prep to happen simultaneously. The demands on the kitchen are the highest of any room in the home so it’s a good place to do a deeper dive on how to design it with wellness in mind.

Good kitchen design does not happen by accident. It is well thought through by an interior designer and things like flow, your working triangle, and where you will store everything from your food to your pots and pans are considered. But what about the quality of the materials selected? Are they toxic and do they offgas? And what about the design of the kitchen itself? Are there things we can incorporate to make cooking healthier meals easier? And can kitchen design actually help support a healthier diet and food choices? The answers might surprise you. Let’s dive in!

What materials you select in your kitchen can be as big of a factor in your overall health as any of the others we will discuss here. Our indoor environments are often more toxic than the outdoors and that is largely due to poor indoor air quality which is caused by toxic materials that are off-gassing in your home. In the kitchen, some of the biggest swaps you can make are in the cabinetry and the counters. For the cabinetry look for solid wood doors and formaldehyde free plywood boxes. For the countertops opt for a natural stone such marble, limestone, or quartzite instead of quartz countertops. Quartz countertops have grown in popularity over the last 10-15 years because of their durability, but they are often made with resins that can be toxic. For some, the mental stress of keeping up with natural stone is too much to bear and I get that (I see you parents of small children), but if you can embrace the patina that comes from daily use of a natural stone it is a great alternative and a healthier choice for you and your family. Also, in my opinion there really isn’t anything that compares to the beauty of natural stone. When it comes time to paint the walls or the cabinets see if a Low or No-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint is available. Most paint suppliers now offer all of their colors in a low or no-VOC option.  

Space planning is another great way to ensure your kitchen workflow makes sense and is therefore easy to use. One of the things I consider as a designer when designing kitchens is what is known as the working triangle. That is the distance between your sink, fridge, and oven. As our kitchen sizes grow, it’s important to keep these three elements in relative proximity to each other for the most efficient kitchen. When thinking about prepping food I like to create a dedicated food prep zone. Most of the time this is either on the island or by the sink (sometimes they are one in the same). Within that zone we will consider cabinet space for things like cutting boards, strainers for rinsing fresh fruits and veggies, cutlery and other prep tools. For my clients who love to bake we will often do a cabinet with a pull-out for their kitchenaid mixer so that it is always plugged in and easy to access but tucked out of sight. Near the oven we will have storage of things like pots and pans, baking sheets, spices and oils. Near the sink of course is the dishwasher(s) and trash pull-out. Sometimes we do a secondary compost pull-out near the food prep zone if it’s not right next to the sink or if we have a smaller secondary prep sink. If the kitchen is intuitive and makes sense it is easier to use and more likely to be used. That is our goal with every kitchen we design so our clients can easily prepare good healthy meals for them, their families, and their friends.

Appliances also play a pivotal role in fostering healthy eating habits. At Kimberlee Marie Interiors, we understand that a well-equipped kitchen is the heart of a healthy lifestyle. High-performance appliances like blenders, juicers, and food processors empower individuals to effortlessly incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diets, promoting better nutrition. Modern refrigerators with smart features help maintain optimal freshness, ensuring that wholesome ingredients are readily available. Furthermore, induction cooktops and convection ovens not only save time but also promote healthier cooking methods by reducing the need for excessive fats and oils. In our designs, we prioritize integrating these appliances seamlessly into the kitchen layout, allowing for a harmonious space that inspires nutritious meal preparation and encourages clients to embrace a healthier, happier way of life.

design by Kimberlee Marie Interior Design

Cabinet design is another essential component in promoting healthier eating habits within the home. Our approach to kitchen design recognizes that the organization and accessibility of food can profoundly impact dietary choices. Well-designed cabinets not only maximize storage space but also encourage mindful food storage. Incorporating features like pull-out pantry shelves, adjustable shelving, and dedicated compartments for fruits and vegetables allows for better organization, reducing food waste and making nutritious ingredients more visible and accessible. Additionally, our designs often include built-in spice racks, herb gardens, and wine storage, fostering a love for cooking with fresh, flavorful ingredients. By thoughtfully integrating these elements into our cabinet designs, we create kitchens that inspire individuals to make healthier choices and embrace a lifestyle of wellness and nutrition.

Outside of just your physical health, a well designed kitchen can also help support your mental and emotional health. We love to learn about our clients daily rituals in their kitchen, like the perfect cup of coffee each morning or prioritizing dinner as a family each night. Knowing what our clients value, allows us to design in a way that supports the ways they feel most nurtured and connected in their kitchen. If our clients have a daily coffee ritual then we are going to ensure there is a well thought out space dedicated to making coffee with everything they need within reach. If it is prioritizing dinner as a family we are going to ensure the way we’ve designed the eating area is optimal for connection and free from distractions like cell phones or TV’s. Practically this can look like a cell phone charging drawer in the kitchen or ensuring there isn’t a TV mounted in the adjacent rooms to the kitchen. Whatever the case may be, good design is intentional and supports all facets of the human experience.

Kimberlee Marie Interior Designs in Seattle, WA

So let’s recap all the ways we can design with wellness in mind in the kitchen:

  • Choose natural building materials that don’t contain toxins or off-gas promoting better indoor air quality.
  • Have a well thought out space plan that breaks your kitchen into smaller zones for the most efficient use of space.
  • Tell your interior designer about any countertop appliances you use to support healthy eating to ensure they find a home in your new kitchen and research appliances to understand the ways they can help support your healthy cooking goals by keeping your produce fresher longer.
  • Ensure your cabinet design is well thought out and that fresh ingredients have a place and are easy to find to support healthy cooking and eating.
  • Make sure your kitchen design incorporates space for your favorite daily rituals to nourish not just your body but also your mind and heart.

We love to hear your feedback! Was this helpful? Was there one or two things that stood out to you that you might consider incorporating into your kitchen remodel?

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Holistic interior design explores the connection between our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health with our homes and built environments.