One of those most difficult parts about designing a beautiful family kitchen is finding a way to make it kid-friendly. Tiny fingers can do a disproportionate amount of damage, and it's important for the sake of your family and your kitchen that the environment be hospitable to chefs of any age. There's no reason you have to sacrifice design for the sake of function, though: with a little ingenuity, you can create a kitchen that is beautiful and safe, whether you're remodeling or starting from scratch.
Put kids' cups and plates within reach
Try putting all of your plastic kid-ware somewhere within your kids' reach, like a low designated kid-drawer. They're less likely to hurt themselves than if they were trying to reach up high, and they'll be able to help you set the table.
Skip the tablecloth
While you can buy a tablecloth that is laminated enough to resist staining, tablecloths are still susceptible to one thing: small, grabbing hands. If a little one grabs hold of the edge, he or she can pull the cloth right off the table – and everything on top of it along with it. Placemats or a bare, durable table are your best bet.
Whites and beiges are great neutral choices under normal circumstances, but the more color you incorporate into your kitchen design, the less likely it is that your kids will create visible stains anywhere.
Add a few area rugs
Wood or tile floors can be ultra slick and dangerous for a kid, and they tend to wear and tear easily in areas of high traffic. Small area rugs (with gripper pads) can be laid down in places like this to protect your floor and your kiddos at the same time.
Keep your cabinets up high
To make sure no little hands grab hold of dangerous appliances or tools, make sure you have plenty of kitchen cabinets raised up too high for them to reach.
Give them a place to sit
Kids love to hang out in the kitchen, but they can often get in the way while you're trying to cook, clean or do the dishes. Give them their own area to sit at the kitchen island so they can feel like they're a part of the action while remaining (relatively) still.
Add a blackboard
Calendars, grocery lists, notes to family members and cute drawings can all be penciled in on a chalkboard in the kitchen. Or think about using chalkboard paint for one of your wall areas; it's such fun!
Blend it with the family room
If you want to give your kids some space they can sit in under your supervision that's not in the kitchen, consider creating a kitchen that transitions seamlessly into the family room. You'll be able to cook dinner while you keep an eye on your kids – and no one will get under your feet in the process.
Your kitchen table and chairs are especially susceptible to scratching and staining, making it tough to hold onto the same set for very long. That's what slipcovers are for – you can cover up your furniture and switch out the covers whenever wear and tear renders them unusable. Or -- consider stools with easy-to-recover seats; works like a charm. Or -- chairs with replaceable pads -- or no pads at all!