Design A Functional And Soiree-Ready Kitchen With These Pro Tips

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2 pendant lights over black-topped kitchen island in front of black hood against white handmade tile backsplash

If you ask Austin-based designer Sarah Stacey, function always precedes form in kitchen design—and that is especially true if it’s a space geared toward not only cooking but also entertaining. “Our approach of looking at the functional elements first and then adding beautiful materials and processes allows us to prioritize that,” she explains. Join us as we glean more from Stacey about her method of creating a kitchen well-equipped to handle a soiree this holiday season and beyond.

What makes a guest-ready kitchen? Many believe additional counter space is most conducive to entertaining, but I think having ample walkways and floor space is most important. To achieve this, our entertaining kitchens include a large center island with room for a dining table as well. Or, if you have the space, a prep area between the main kitchen and dining room is the ultimate entertaining layout.

How do you create an inviting atmosphere? Of course, layout is considered and is based on the client’s lifestyle, but we also focus on layering in textures and materials. This includes ambient lighting from table lamps, pendants (or a chandelier) and sconces. We also pay close attention to the type of wood and how it’s cut, stone and finish, type of backsplash, hardware, wall and window coverings, and more.

Words of advice? Focus on the things you like and the elements you think will make your life easiest. What excites you? That could be splurging on a pebble ice maker or a beer tap.

PHOTO: COURTESY SARAH STACEY INTERIOR DESIGN