Everyone knows the hallmarks of a fantastic kitchen: The best ones are open and properly lit, and they use every inch of the room for optimal organization. A great kitchen is central to everyday living, and a place where the most crucial ingredients for entertaining guests often come together. It’s also a space for much more than just cooking, as family gathers here and countertops sometimes double as desks when work and school projects need to get done.
For Martha, open-concept shelving takes priority over traditional cabinetry, which helps the kitchen feel much lighter and airier. “I use everything in my kitchen regularly, and shelves make it all accessible,” Martha says. “These nearly reach the ceiling, putting underused space to work.” But shelving is just one component of a well-designed kitchen. Integrating essential appliances into the kitchen landscape is a must, and placement of things like French presses, espresso machines, and flatware, can make or break the functionality of the space.
The kitchen’s island, where the busiest handiwork occurs, should be sturdy, stationary, and at least four feet long. Ideally, there’s also extra room for prep tables that can be moved as needed, like when guests are served a traditional buffet, for example. Islands often play host to displays as well. Martha keeps all of her favorite items, from fresh veggies to her prized mortars and pestles, directly on display.
From city chic to country cozy, there are many design schemes that can tie the elements of a kitchen together. Whether you’re looking for inspiration for your own kitchen renovation or simply admiring good design, we’re highlighting the best features from our favorite kitchens.