Happy New Year!

No sooner has all the Christmas cooking and washing up been done, then New Year is upon us with more work to do to see in January in style. For many, the celebrations are all about the eating, drinking and making merry, which usually begins in the kitchen. Whether you are hosting everyone in your address book, or are planning a quiet night in with a loved one, making the most of the kitchen you have is an important part of New Year's Eve and Day planning.

Planning ahead
Making sure your appliances are in good working order is vital, as is making sure you have all the essentials ready before you start cooking or preparing food and drink. You will most probably have already used your oven over Christmas, but other appliances, such as coffee machines, wine coolers, etc., might need a practice run ahead of the main event.

Likewise, ensuring that you have enough baking ingredients, tin foil, serving dishes, and glasses now will help things to run smoothly.

Savvy storage
Working out where you are going to store your food, drink and kitchen utensils etc in advance will also be a great help. Having enough fridge space for food that must be kept cool, for example, or plenty of shelving or cupboard space to store serving dishes until they are required. No time for this year now, but consider making a kitchen redesign one of your New Year's resolutions. You can often find some excellent bargains in amongst the ex display designer kitchens in the January sales.

Next to godliness?
Most hosts find that their guests naturally gravitate towards the kitchen as the cooking is nearing completion, as it is generally one of the warmest, most sociable parts of the house. Make sure it is clean and presentable, therefore, with space for people to sit or lean if possible and no spillages on the floor that could pose a slipping hazard. Use the week after Christmas to sort your kitchen out and give it a thorough clean to provide a fresh start to 2015.

Finishing touches
Even if you are not planning to entertain people in your kitchen over New Year, it is still a good idea to make it a pleasant environment to work in. Replacing tea towels, for example, or adding fresh flowers in a vase will lift spirits and motivate you to produce amazing food and drink. You don't have to have a designer kitchen to make the room look great, however, little luxuries and upgraded appliances can make a big difference to the look and feel of the space.

Then, in early January, use the post-Christmas sales to buy some extras for your kitchen so you can enjoy being in it throughout 2015.