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The Home

In Defense of Messy Kitchens Everywhere

The kitchen has always been the focal point of a home. You can tell a lot about a person by the way they keep their kitchen. What does a messy kitchen mean to you?

A messy kitchen isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes a messy kitchen means there’s a tasty meal waiting nearby. A messy kitchen could also be the aftermath of a midnight pizza party. Or the result of a baking showdown for the school bake sale.

Most of the time, a “messy kitchen” is associated with food. Dirty dishes piled high, sticky spills across the countertop, a little-too-full garbage bin, etc. And while this usually means there is food around (yay), this type of “messy kitchen” is pretty gross (boo).

What Does a Messy Kitchen Mean To You?

Does even hearing “messy kitchen” send shivers down your back? It probably would for our grandmothers. They taught us better than to allow a full sink of dishes, crumbs on the counter, and whatever else having a “messy kitchen” means to you.

Pot Holder

Maybe a messy kitchen reminds you of the super cool science fair project you made for school one year; colorful goops, sparkles, school glue, plastic “kid” scissors, and more fun craft tools spread out everywhere. This sounds like a whole lot of fun - as it probably was - and definitely counts as the good kind of messy.

There are so many different ways to interpret having a “messy kitchen,” and they’re all wonderfully unique and represent the beautiful different ways we live our lives. The one thing we aren’t including in this acceptable world of “messy kitchens” is actual mess. We’re not talking about an unkempt, neglected, or dirty space. Allow us to explain.

Reimagining the Kitchen Space

Kitchens - as our grandparents knew them - used to be just about exclusively utilitarian spaces. They were closed off from the rest of the house, nestled in the back around a corner, and even separated with a swinging door. Kitchens, traditionally, were isolated areas for women to do the cooking and cleaning behind a “curtain,” and then three-course meals would magically appear on the dining room table.

With the kitchen being a strictly functional space, these spaces were somewhat neglected when it came to visual appeal. Laminate cabinetry, ugly backsplashes, hexagon floor tiles, and other less-than-amazing decor choices were standard because no one really saw the kitchen, anyway. Of course, times have changed and are ever-changing, and the kitchen space is being reimagined.

Cabinet Storage

The kitchen has evolved into a truly multifunctional space, serving so many more purposes than just the place to cook meals. Kitchens have been introduced to the open-concept trend, and in our opinion, they do it best compared to all of the other household rooms. Somehow and somewhere along the way, kitchens went from being hidden and even secretive to the main attraction. Let’s all admit it: we love showcasing our kitchens.

They’ve become the center for entertainment, the hub for all activities, and so much more. They’re the place to have your morning cup of coffee, your lunch, afternoon tea with friends, happy hour with the girls, takeout pizza with your partner, and just about everything else, too.

Kitchens are the place to experiment with school projects, lounge and read on your tablet, plop down for your daily social media scroll etc., etc. You get it. You know exactly what we’re talking about. Kitchens are the place to be. They’re the hot spot in every home.

Meet the Messy Kitchen

When we say kitchen, we’re talking about a truly multifunctional space. But, no space can be effectively multifunctional without being filled with all the things one may need in said space, right? When we say messy kitchen, we’re talking about a kitchen that’s well equipped for whatever you need, and this means there’s probably a little more stuff around. Because who knows which type of room the kitchen will need to transform into next? Of course, there needs to be stuff for different possible occasions. This extra stuff is entirely on purpose, and don’t worry: it will be organized, too.

The messy kitchen is open concept and located centrally in the home. Messy kitchens are very close or directly connected to other communal areas and are the most inviting. Think far beyond cooking, cleaning, and storage. The messy kitchen has shelves filled with anything from the Nespresso machine to arts and crafts material to aesthetically stored cookware and more. It’s not uncommon for pantries to take shape spread out across kitchen cabinets, cupboards, and shelves.

You may also find dry food items like pasta, nuts, and baking ingredients in glass jars spread throughout; hello, clear container pantry trend. The messy kitchen can serve as a walk-in appliance garage, prepping area, and catering kitchen. Go ahead and leave a bowl of washed fruit out on the counter for passers-by to grab and go. Feel free to leave your iPhone charger plugged into the wall for anyone who needs it, or better yet, leave a charging station in the corner.

Form and Function

Of course, it isn’t all fun and games in a messy kitchen. This space is highly functional, practical, and just makes sense. There’s cabinetry, counter space, plenty of outlets, and of course, all of the appliances. In-cabinet microwaves, over-the-range microwaves, and other variations of integrated appliances are popular in messy kitchens. Everything you could desire or need is within the kitchen range, in its place (which may be a purposeful out-of-traditional-place place).

Messy kitchens welcome family game night on oversized islands. They’re filled with furniture that isn’t ugly but comfortable, nor beautiful but uncomfortable; it’s comfortable and beautiful. They’re the place to sip your morning coffee and check your emails before starting the day. They’re where the kids each have their favorite spot to do their homework. Messy kitchens are where the magic happens, and memories are created.

Create Your Own Messy Kitchen

So, how exactly does one achieve or create a messy kitchen? If only we all had unlimited budgets and the luxury of undergoing a kitchen renovation. We know that for many of us, this isn’t realistic. The good news is that you don’t need to undergo an entire renovation process to get the messy kitchen of your dreams. (But that would be awesome, we can keep dreaming.).

Let’s think about the features any space would need to start making these dreams a reality.

Lots of Counter Space

A lack of counter space is a top kitchen frustration for just about everyone. While we may not be able to magically create more of it, we can ensure that we’re maximizing every last inch of what we have to work with.

Adding some shelf risers creates more storage space, can help things feel “spread out and airy,” and all while keeping everything you need in reach. It’s a little ironic the first thing we’re suggesting is adding something to your counters, but hey, thinking outside the box is cool. Cake stands can also function as a shelf riser and are a decorative way to free up some counter space.

Lots of Storage

Storage, storage, storage: another all too common kitchen frustration. Again, sometimes all we can do is maximize the space we do have.

The biggest question when it comes to kitchen storage is how to keep your pots and pans organized and avoid the threat of overcrowding and cluttering. Investing in a Cookware Set that comes with free Magnetic Pan Racks can make an ordinary cabinet into a true aesthetic. Need somewhere to store the lids? Again, not to worry. With a Canvas Lid Holder, save space while never sacrificing style.

Clean Dishes

Next, you should try to hang everything else that you possibly can. Seriously, hooks are a lifesaver, and more kitchen items are hangable than you may initially think. Try hanging up a pegboard, your Oven Mitts, Tea Towels (look for kitchen linens with a hook!), and even a magnetic knife strip.

If your kitchen has windowsills, a messy kitchen is never opposed to using them for storage and decoration. Window sills are great for smaller items like a pot of herbs, containers for elastic bands and paperclips, and small flower pots, candles, and other cute things like that.

Easy Access Appliances

Integrated appliance designs are something we love these days. Easy access appliances are all about design ideas like in-cabinet microwaves and over-the-range microwaves that we mentioned earlier. Undercounter beverage fridges and wine coolers also fall into this category.

Anything that can fit into your island or cabinetry system should absolutely be integrated. Maybe you can fit the toaster oven into that one cabinet that never seems to be used efficiently. How are your Jenga skills? Sometimes it just takes a bottle of wine and an afternoon of shuffling things around to find the perfect setup.

Great Lighting

Messy kitchens always have great lighting; it’s basically a requirement. Considering how much time is spent in the area, it has to be well lit. Great lighting is essential for safe cooking, reading, and selfie-taking.

We know it’s not really possible to change or add natural lighting, but it is possible to add mirrors. Even small mirrors work wonders for making a space feel bigger and brighter. Consider backsplash panel mirrors, a long mirror along the top of a wall, or decorative “sticker” mirrors.

Comfortable Furniture

Another necessity for every kitchen, and not just messy ones, is comfortable furniture. Furniture that looks great but is only comfortable for five minutes is of no use to a messy kitchen. Messy kitchens are intended to host hours of your time — chairs, sofas, stools, and everything else that could be lounged on needs to be actually comfortable.

Messy Kitchen, Clean Cookware

So far, we’ve been playing around with what “messy” and “clean” traditionally standard for, especially in the kitchen context. We want to talk about clean cookware because the “clean” part isn’t always a given.

Messy Kitchen

Teflon® - formally named tetrafluoroethylene - is a synthetic chemical used for coating traditional non-stick cookware. Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are other scary-sounding chemicals within the family of Teflon®, and these chemicals are used in 95% of non-stick pots and pans.

As we scrub away at our pots and pans to remove last night’s residual taco ingredients or this morning’s oatmeal, we’re also scrubbing off their chemical coating. The chemicals are released in our home into the air and also become loosened in the pan, ready to mix with our food the next time we cook. According to Cancer.org, one of Teflon®’s main ingredients is recognized as a “forever chemical,” meaning it stays in the body forever once ingested, no matter how small the amount. They also never break down in the environment.

Ceramic Cookware Saves the Day

Cue: clean cookware. With Teflon® present in 95% of cookware - and thus 95% of American households - you can imagine the amount of toxins leaching into our homes, our bodies, and our planet as a whole. We love the messy kitchen concept, but no “messiness” should be messing up our healthy state of being. We’re not here to advise on what you should be eating, but we feel it’s simply responsible to suggest a better-for-you way of cooking.

Caraway Packaging

Ceramic-coated cookware is 100% non-toxic, free of PTFE, PFOA, PFAs, lead, cadmium, nickel, and other harmful metals. Non-toxic cookware means you and your family eat what you cooked and what you cooked only, no residual synthetics. With traditional non-stick, it takes only two and a half minutes at 500° Fahrenheit for the cookware to begin leaching its chemicals.

Let’s venture into the world of a messy kitchen, but with clean cooking. You very well may need an entire new Cookware Set, complete with everything you’ll need for healthy cooking. This Cookware Set includes a Fry Pan (perfect for eggs, flipping pancakes, and sautéing veggies), Sauce Pan (for risotto, mac and cheese, soups, and sauces), Sauté Pan (your go-to pan for dinner parties, stir-fries, and dishes with stock), and Dutch Oven (your best friend for pasta, stews, and all one-pot wonders).

Playing around with the messy kitchen concept is a great idea for a fun kitchen revamp, but some things are non-negotiable, and your cookware is one of them. Discover a healthier way to cook with ceramic non-stick, and then the rest is open to your imagination.

Sources:

The ‘forever chemicals’ fueling a public health crisis in drinking water | The Guardian
25 Best Small Kitchen Storage & Design Ideas | Kitchn
12 Open Kitchen Ideas | The Spruce

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