today's kitchen is multi-tasking

The Multi-Tasking Kitchen

It’s long been the heart of the home, but the pandemic has put lots of pressure on the kitchen, which has become the most multi-tasking room in the house.

The kitchen used to have one food-centric function: preparation, cooking and cleanup. However, today, it’s the central hub and command center of the home. Further, it’s now the nucleus of the home — a place to gather, eat, drink and be merry. The multi-tasking kitchen is an office, a class room and a restaurant. It’s being used for activities that previously were confined to the office, living room and dining room. It’s definitely where we spend most of our time.

Cosentino, a producer of quartz countertops, recently published the findings of their “Global Kitchen Study”. They report that 57% of respondents use their kitchen for activities other than cooking and eating. As a result, it is now deemed a multifunctional, multitasking space.

How to Create Your Multi-tasking Kitchen

The primary function of any kitchen will be to prepare and cook food. And yet, today’s kitchens are more multi-tasking than ever, as islands and breakfast nooks now function as places to do homework, pay bills, play games, participate in work meetings via zoom – all in addition to eating breakfast and entertaining.

Function must remain central to the way a kitchen is designed. As lifestyles change, so do the elements that go into making a multi-tasking kitchen. Above all, it must be functional.

As people spend more time at home, the role of the kitchen as evolved. Today’s kitchen is more multi-purpose in how it gets used. It must be connected with the layout of a home, rather than partitioned behind walls.

Multiple Storage Solutions

A kitchen storage solution is a pull-out pantry

People want more storage so they can cook, eat, work, home school and play – all in the same space. Customized and well-organized storage solutions will make use of every inch of space in the kitchen and increase its multi-functionality.  Kitchen designers are getting creative to meet homeowner demands for plenty of extra storage space in their kitchens.

Homeowners are buying in bulk and stocking up on extra groceries and supplies. As a result, there’s a big increase in requests for more kitchen storage.

Getting rid of unwanted clutter is a goal for the multi-tasking kitchen. How can you work from your countertops if they’re full of stuff? Storage for your rarely used items is a priority in the multi-tasking kitchen.  

Kitchens today are getting all kinds of built-in storage, such as:

  • Rollout shelves
  • Tiered utensil trays
  • Lazy Susans
  • Tall pantries
  • Message center wall cabinets to hold mail and keys
  • Built-in organization systems
  • Multi-purpose under-cabinet storage
  • Pullouts
  • In-drawer peg systems
  • Pull-downs
  • Blind-corner options
  • Drawers with dividers to allow for easy separation of items and less rattling
  • Open shelves for easy access of day-to-day dishes
silverware organizer

Multiple Zones in the Multi-tasking Kitchen

Kitchen designers are creating bigger, more open layouts with zones to work, cook and spend time with family and friends to maximize the functionality of the kitchen. They’re eliminating separating walls and integrating the living room and/or dining area into their kitchen designs. This way, you can cook and socialize with your family and friends, all in one open space.

“Zoning” is a term used to describe the layout of a kitchen according to the way the homeowners use it.  For example, the kitchen island gets used beyond being a place for food preparation. It can be used as a place to set up a laptop or for home-schooling. During the day it can be used for work and food prep, then dining in the evening. The chef and/or chefs need a dedicated work zone out of the way of other household members and guests.

The relationship between work areas or zones is equally as important as is what happens in the zones. Cooking, clean up, entertaining, kids, holidays and zoom meetings must all be considered.

Organizing the kitchen into zones will also make tasks more manageable. Think about the different jobs you do and plan to have everything needed for that task grouped together.

Houzz reports that multizone kitchens designed with a work trapezoid, rather than a traditional work triangle, includes dedicated areas – or zones — for baking, prepping and chopping, or separate stations for snacks, drinks or homework.  

Another expert in the field of kitchen design, the NKBA, reports that L-shaped kitchens with large layouts work very well to the multizone concept.

Multi-tasking Layouts for the Kitchen

The primary function of any kitchen will be to prepare and cook food. And yet, today’s kitchens are more multi-tasking than ever, as islands and breakfast nooks now function as places to do homework, pay bills, play games, participate in work meetings via zoom – all in addition to eating breakfast and entertaining.

The key element for having an efficient multi-tasking kitchen space is getting the layout right. It’s all about working with your kitchen designer to get the layout right for the many ways you and your family use your kitchen.

L-Shaped Kitchen

The L-shaped kitchen features two perpendicular walls of cabinets. This layout helps you utilize the space that is generally lost in the corners.

The Peninsula Kitchen

A peninsula is basically a connected island, a design element that converts an L-shaped kitchen layout into a horseshoe or U-shape. In many kitchens that have this layout, the peninsula serves as a room divider that separates the kitchen from a dining or living room area.  

A kitchen peninsula is made up of cabinetry and countertops, surrounded on three sides by open floor space, but connected to either the adjacent countertop or a wall on one end.

Kitchen peninsulas are a popular place to incorporate kitchen appliances, sinks, and/or seating. They are a perfect addition to a kitchen that needs to expand its functionality.

The Island Kitchen

The island kitchen offers more space for work, be it cooking work or homework or “work” work.  In addition, it’s located in the center of the kitchen, so it’s in on all the action happening in a multifunctional kitchen.

It is the best choice for open plan homes because it gives access to the cooking area, while still using the kitchen for all other activities.

island different color than cabinets

The Multi-Purpose Island in the Multi-tasking Kitchen

Kitchen islands have long been a part of kitchen designs and have remained so popular that it’s hard to find a kitchen without one. Today, as kitchens have evolved into multipurpose, multi-functional spaces, the kitchen island has changed as well.

Islands have become the primary workspace for food prep, homework, zoom conference calls and entertaining. The island makes it easy to pull up a stool for seated meal prep, eating dinner or a snack or a conversation with the cook. Islands are truly multi-functional as they can serve as breakfast bars, a space to entertain guests and an extension of the kitchen.  

the island is integral to a multi-tasking kitchen

Kitchen islands are an essential part of any larger kitchen layout, increasing counter space, storage space and eating space, as well as offering a visual focal point for the kitchen area. They serve a variety of functions, and they can be designed in a variety of different ways, incorporating stools or chairs, sinks, drawers, even dishwashers, cooktops and microwaves. To determine which elements to include and how to arrange them, designers must determine the main purpose or focus of the island.

Kitchen island not an option? Consider adding a table, roll-away cart or a pull-out table to your kitchen. If you have a small space, a table can go a long way to making your kitchen more multifunctional. It’s a great place for guests to sit, for your kids to do crafts or homework, or even use as a prep area when you need to.

Increase Kitchen Functionality with Banquette Seating

A way to increase the functionality of your new kitchen is to install banquette seating. This built-in, bench-style seating makes efficient use of limited space and creates an intimate gathering place. It fits right into the kitchen that is the central hub for busy families.

Banquette seating is perfect for families with children, too, since it provides plenty of room for homework and other after-school activities while parents prepare dinner. It also provides an additional opportunity for some more tucked-away storage areas that today’s kitchens need.

What’s Happening in the Multi-tasking Kitchen

Working from Home (WFH)

With working from home becoming a regular feature for many of us, adapting a kitchen to accommodate a home office has become a common request for kitchen pros.

Kids’ Homework and Crafts

The kitchen is the ideal place for your kids to do their homework or enjoy making crafts. You can supervise them while preparing the evening meal. However, when planning the area for your kids to sit, remember the flow of your kitchen and make sure they are located in a place out of danger of hot surfaces or potential collisions as you work.

The Outdoors Comes In

bring the outdoors inside

The grow-your-own movement is still going strong, and for good reason. It’s a great way to access fresh and healthy produce and herbs without heading to the market. Installing a herb garden in your kitchen is an effortless way to blend form and function – and create a multifunctional space. a miniature herb garden, a green wall or living greens integrated into countertops

Making It Personal

Among the hottest kitchen trends is creating a space with lots of personalization. When it comes to a kitchen, functionality may be key, but that doesn’t mean sacrificing style or personality. The multifunctional kitchen should be as much about living as it is about cooking

Homeowners are including things in their new kitchen that personalize the room as more than just a place to cook. It can be any “feel-good” item, from a family heirloom to reclaimed wood, from art to a chandelier from your grandmother’s house. This personalization shows an appreciation of family and loving what you have around you.


Kitchens are no longer just for cooking. The kitchen has become a multi-tasking space, where people cook, eat, work, home-school and relax. And, because of the pandemic, it’s also become a safe space filled with increased functionality and comfort. Today’s kitchen must be functional, flexible, multi-zoned, multifunctional and designed for multi-tasking.

Kitchen Design Partner exists to offer insight and advice about all things related to kitchen remodeling. Our goal is to connect homeowners with talented, experienced kitchen designers who live and work in their communities. We are a serious resource for anyone preparing to remodel their kitchen so they can make the best possible choices about designers, contractors and products.