Incorporating Your Computer Center into Your Kitchen

The American family has changed -- and so has its kitchen. According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), the kitchen is no longer a place used simply for cooking. It is now the nerve center for the active modern family. The kitchen serves as the cooking/eating center, gathering place, work area and entertainment spot.

When it comes to designing these all-purpose kitchens, consumers are increasingly turning to kitchen and bathroom design professionals for assistance. According to Doris Lacroix, CBD, CKD, the connection is natural.

"Often, clients decide to include home offices when remodeling their kitchen," she explains. In fact, a recent survey conducted by NKBA revealed 15 percent of all kitchen remodeling jobs required an area be designed for a computer center.

"In recent years, as these spaces became more common, they also became more intricate. Therefore, the help of a professional, with a firm grasp of design concepts, was required," Lacroix said.

If you are planning to incorporate a home office into your new kitchen, there are some important items to consider first. According to Lacroix, simply allowing space for a desk is not enough.

"It is important to consider who will use the space and for what activities," she cautions. "Although different for each family, the desk/office area may be used for everything from storing mail, financial records and cookbooks to serving as a clearinghouse for family messages and schedules."

According to Lacroix, a good place to begin is by positioning the desk near the telephone. Then, you must determine what other uses you will have for this area and the best way to accommodate them.

"Once you have decided on the use of your desk/office area, the proper storage and spatial requirements can be planned," Lacroix says. "For example, if you want to use this area as a mail center, a 'pigeonhole' arrangement can be designed with one space for incoming mail, one space for outgoing mail and one for each member of the family. A horizontal storage system adjacent to the mail slots can be planned for storage of stationery, stamps, return address labels and other related items."

Likewise, if you choose to store your cookbooks in this area, shelves or bookcases must be planned. A kitchen design professional is accustomed to designing and measuring cabinets and can create the storage system that works for you, as well as proper lighting.

"General room lighting will not be sufficient in this area," warns Lacroix. "It is important to incorporate lighting that won't cast shadows on an individual's work, or a glare on the computer."

With so much to consider, planning a home office can seem like an overwhelming task. Consulting with a design professional will make the task much simpler.

Reprinted with permission by the National Kitchen and Bath Association