How to design a low-maintenance kitchen

If you intend to renovate your kitchen and want to minimise the amount of cleaning you'll need to do to keep your new space looking good, it's important to think carefully about the kind of materials you decide to use. Here are three tips which will help you to create a low-maintenance kitchen.

Choose a durable worktop material

Worktops are usually one of the first areas of a kitchen to show signs of wear and tear; regular usage, along with the occasional spillage of food and drink, can leave them looking scratched, dirty, and in need of repair. This is especially true when the worktop is made from a less-than-robust material, such as cheap laminate or wood; whilst the latter can look wonderful in a rustic-style kitchen, it is not an ideal choice for any area of your home where liquids are often spilled, as it tends to be quite porous. Low-quality laminate worktops are also unlikely to withstand daily usage, since they are often very fragile and can be damaged quite easily by abrasive cleaning products.

As such, when designing a low-maintenance kitchen, it's important to select a durable worktop. Granite is a good alternative to the above-mentioned materials; unlike wood, it has a low level of porosity, so it won't absorb odours or be damaged by liquids. It's also far more resistant to scratches and heat than laminate.  

Avoid ornate features

Lots of people love the look of ornately patterned kitchen materials. Things like embossed tiles and carved mouldings are great for adding a touch of  luxury to any space. However, it's important to realise just how much work it takes to keep these type of elaborately patterned features in good condition; dirt and grime is far more likely to accumulate in their deep grooves and can be very difficult to remove.

If you'd rather not spend your free time trying to dig out dirt from the crevices of your kitchen, it's best to opt for materials with simpler designs; plain timber mouldings and smooth, flat tiles will give your kitchen a modern, minimalistic feel and, more importantly, will make it a lot easier to keep clean.

Opt for easy-to-clean flooring

Because there's a lot of foot traffic in this part of the home, the kitchen floor can go from sparkling clean to dirty in just a few minutes. To reduce the amount of  time you spend sweeping, scrubbing and mopping, make sure to choose flooring which is as low-maintenance as possible, such as sheet vinyl or linoleum. These non-porous materials don't attract dirt, dust and odours in the way that others (like ceramic and hardwood) tend to do, and so will usually only take a few minutes to clean.

Whilst tiled floors can look beautiful, they're not a good choice for those who want to avoid deep-cleaning. The multitude of grout lines mean that it can easily take an hour or two (depending on the size of the floor) to clean away all of the dirt that has gathered in between the tiles. If you're determined to use them, try to select large-sized tiles, as this will lower the amount of grout lines that you'll have to clean. Additionally, look for glazed varieties, as these are less likely to be scratched or cracked if a plate or cup is dropped on them.