The best kitchen features for amateur chefs

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If you love cooking, baking and eating, renovating your kitchen can be a great way to make your very own custom cook space. Whether by simply updating the cabinets and counters or expanding the scope of the kitchen, an amateur chef can work with his or her designer to make a space that's functional for the whole family but tailored to his or her needs in the kitchen. Here are a few of the must-have kitchen features for anyone who loves spending their free time making culinary masterpieces. 

"Both quartz and granite countertops are resistant to scratches, stains and heat."

Durable surfaces 
Upgrade your countertops with materials that can withstand the demands of a busy foodie. Both quartz and granite countertops are resistant to scratches, stains and heat, so you won't have to treat them with kid gloves. Quartz has a great stone look and requires less maintenance than granite, but both are durable. Work with a kitchen design expert to find which surface is right for you.  

Creative and stylish storage options 
If you love cooking, you probably have more kitchen supplies than the average homeowner. From unique pots and pans to specialty knives and utensils, these tools can come in handy but take up a lot of room. Work with your kitchen design expert to create a layout that makes room for these cooking implements and leaves space for new ones. Try cabinets with hooks, shelving and sleeves to hold these tools. 

You can also store some of your items in plain view with stylish flourishes and design in mind. Work with your designer to create organized spice racks, magnetic knife boards, hanging pots and pans, and specialty appliance displays. When done well, these elements will enhance your design, improve convenience and save space. 

Quality appliances 
If you look through magazines and cooking blogs, many kitchens have top-of-the-line full ranges with a dozen burners and a full range hood. While this is a great setup for some homes, it doesn't have to be in yours. You don't need to install a massive range in your kitchen and a custom refrigerator. Instead, focus on quality over quantity. Invest in a high-quality oven and stovetop that is a more typical size but gives you the function you want, for example. Talk to an appliance specialist along with your designer about what you're looking to do in the kitchen and which appliances will optimize your experience. 

Talk to your designer about which appliances you should incorporate into your kitchen.
Talk to your designer about which appliances you should incorporate into your kitchen.

A large sink 
If you're planning on cooking often, you should plan on having a full sink. Using dozens of pots, pans and plates can quickly lead to a mess, so make sure you have a sink that can handle it. Look for a larger sink that's easy to clean. Typically, chef-style kitchens will have wide undermount sinks, but other styles work as well. Focus on finding one that can fit your pots and pans, that's easy to clean and doesn't hurt your back. Many people also consider potfiller spigots above the stove. Your designer can help you figure out if that's the right decision for you. 

Plenty of space 
The biggest thing that amateur chefs want and need is extra space. The most important real estate in the kitchen is the space between the sink and the stove. You can have miles of countertop everywhere else but you will find that all of your prep work is done there. Don't worry if you don't have a large kitchen, just be sure to give ample space in that area and you won't go wrong. Your designer may be able to help create a layout that gives you the most space possible for your home's design or hidden space options like cutting boards and butcher blocks that slide under the countertop. 

If you love to cook, take the steps you need to upgrade your kitchen to a place that has everything you want it to. 

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