Under time pressure in the kitchen? These clever design ideas will keep you calm under fire..

We all want a kitchen that looks good, but it has to function well too, particularly if you’re a keen cook or enjoy entertaining family and friends. It’s common knowledge that everyone gathers in the kitchen at parties, so how well yours is laid out can make the difference between your gathering being stressful and fraught or smooth and fun.

We’ve picked out some of our favourite cook’s kitchens, where simple ideas make life easy every day – and on those occasions when you’re cooking for a crowd.

Open shelving is always a good option, as everything is to hand when you need it – no rummaging in the back of a cupboard for the particular pot or pan that you’re looking for (likewise a hanging pot rack).

In addition, if your gatherings tend to be informal, guests can help themselves to extra glasses or plates, rather than asking you where things are kept when your sauce is about to boil over, or you’re at another crucial point in the cooking process.

See more stylish kitchen shelving ideas.

Alternatively, if you prefer things to be put away neatly, consider glass-fronted cabinets, where others can easily see where to find them.

A range cooker is an obvious choice with the multi-oven options and large hobs on offer, while plenty of surface space is paramount, with zones either side of the sink and hob for prepping and serving a necessity.

Kitchen islands provide extra worktop space, as well as being a great spot for a breakfast bar, or for family and guests to gather and chat while you’re prepping. Kitchen islands that are on wheels or are otherwise moveable provide the flexibility to open up your space further if required. And who wouldn’t want one with a living herb garden in the centre, like the example below?

Find more ideas for cool kitchen islands.

Task lamps overhead or on the wall above a working area and a row of pendants above an island will provide extra light when it’s required or enable you to change the mood when you need to.

Introduce these ideas and you’ll stay cool in the kitchen…

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