Designing a High Traffic Kitchen

Every home features a living room or family room, but in truth, it’s the kitchen where most of the foot traffic accumulates. Whether you have a family with a few kids, a few pets or you like to host weekend galas, having a kitchen that is capable of withstanding high traffic is the key to preventing future costs associated with repairs, cleaning or replacements.

From the paint on the walls to the flooring materials, there are ways you can increase the durability and beauty of your kitchen. First, let’s consider the flooring options.

High Traffic Kitchens – Flooring

There is a wide range of quality flooring products that you can install to increase the beauty of your kitchen, but if you want the floor to be able to withstand punishment, some choices are better than others.

For starters, Pergo and natural hardwood are two great flooring options, but if you have a large family, specifically younger children, then I don’t recommend it. In the kitchen, there is a high probability that water, juice or other liquid will be spilled on occasion. While these flooring products claim to be able to withstand moisture, over time, the boards will begin to buckle and warp. In addition, hardwood scratches easily and needs refinished often to maintain its gorgeous look.

Linoleum and vinyl works well in many kitchens. They’re inexpensive, easy to clean and a snap to install but they too can suffer wear and tear from too much traffic and heavy appliance or chair movement.

Ceramic or stone tile is often a good choice, but because of the spill factor, you will have to use a non-porous tile or one that does not have nooks and crannies. While tile does look and last exceptionally well, it can be an expensive option, so shop wisely.

Other kitchen flooring options include stained concrete, Travertine, granite and other stone-based materials.

High Traffic Kitchens – Walls

Besides the flooring, the other victim of high traffic through the kitchen is the walls. When children or pets are in the vicinity, the walls can easily become scuffed, scratched and downright filthy, not to mention the accumulation of cooking grease!

While these reasons may seem as though they make the most sense for semi-gloss paint being the go-to choice for paint in the kitchen, the real reason for this type of paint is that it works best at keeping moisture from seeping into the walls. Back before kitchens had modern exhaust fans, steam emitted from canning and cooking would result in water-logged plaster, which is a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. By applying the semi-gloss paint, the moisture would not be able to penetrate and clean up could be a breeze.

Today, kitchens can be painted with any type of paint, even matte or flat. This is possible because of improved ventilation and the fact that not every inch of the wall has to be exposed; a tiled backsplash being one example.

That being said, however, it can be very difficult to keep walls painted with matte or flat paint clean from dirty fingers. If messy kids are a concern, then semi-gloss still reigns supreme as the choice for kitchen wall paint.