The 5 Components That Make Up The Platonic Ideal of a Kitchen

published Jun 20, 2019
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Credit: Minette Hand

The first stop during an open house? The kitchen, obviously. According to Denise Supplee, a real estate agent at Long & Foster in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the room is often where decisions (and dinner) get made.

“An outdated kitchen can squash a rental or sale more than anything else,” Supplee says.

But what separates the “meh” kitchens from the ones you’ll actually enjoy cooking dinner in? I tapped real estate experts for their advice on the must-have features and layouts that create platonic ideal of kitchens. Here, the five attributes all of the most livable kitchens have.

1. They foster socializing

It may be a cliché, but parties always do somehow end up in the kitchen. Because of this, the best kitchens are welcoming. Ian Wolf, an agent with Douglas Elliman in New York City, says they should be integrated into the flow of the home, rather than closed off from living spaces. They should have room for entertaining, too. Ideally, Wolf says a kitchen should have a large island. It will facilitate socializing without creating a “too many cooks” vibe.

2. They’re made of sturdy—and stylish—materials

The best kitchens not only look great now, but they also stand the test of time. That means they’re built with life-proof materials. Yes, white marble countertops look stunning, but they stain pretty easily, says Daniele Kurzweil, an agent with the Friedman Team at Compass in New York City. Quartz looks almost identical to marble and will keep its sheen longer. And while kitchens with stainless steel countertops may look prep-kitchen chic, they’ll scratch sooner than you’d like. A better professional-inspired space will have cement countertops, which mimic the industrial look but don’t wear out as easily.

3. They have matching appliances

The most cohesive-feeling kitchens have matching appliances. “There’s nothing worse than walking into a kitchen and seeing an olive green oven, white fridge, and black dishwasher,” Supplee says.

4. … and those appliances are positioned in a triangle

According to Lance Marrs, principal broker at Living Room Realty in Portland, Oregon, the ideal kitchen layout has all three major appliances (sink, refrigerator, and range) equidistant from each other. (This is why some people find galley kitchens so irksome.)

5. They’re trendy, but proportionally so

Don’t be distracted by trendy, one-size-fits-all features. For example, take oversized farm sinks. “They’re all the rage,” Kurzweil says. “I love them, you love them, but your 400-square-foot studio does not love them.”

The platonic ideal of a small studio kitchen in this situation would instead incorporate the farm-style look by having an exposed sink in a different color than the cabinets.

“You can always recreate a look and take the best parts of it without having to compromise on space,” Kurzweil says.

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