If natural elements improve your mood (and science says they do), bring the outdoors inside with lush tropical plants, rough-hewn wooden furniture, and eco-friendly accents.Choose cabinets made of reclaimed wood, expand your windows to encourage greater plant growth, and invest in a lighting fixture that merely supplements the sun's rays as opposed to overshadowing them. 
Make your kitchen as safe and family-friendly as possible by planning for good visibility to backyard and indoor play areas from the cooking area, suggests Dorothy Bell, a home safety expert. Also consider such safety-conscious elements as rounded countertops, slip-resistant flooring and ovens located at adult height to minimize the chances of accidental burns. (For more tips, visit usa.safekids.org.)

If you want more counter and storage space, then adding a center island may be worth the cost. But an island can limit the number of people working in the kitchen, reduce traffic flow to one-way with no passing, and make for cramped quarters. Try out an island before committing to one. Slap together a full-scale model out of cardboard or plywood and live with it for a few days. Make sure you can open your stove and refrigerator doors. No space for an island? Consider a kitchen trolley instead.
×