Which Layout Will Suit You Best?
There’s rule a thumb in the kitchen design that says the main elements of food preparation should be arranged in a triangular shape.
The fridge (food storage), the sink (food preparation) and the stove (cooking) should be at each corner of the triangle, with only one or two steps in between.
Ideally, the triangle should not be interrupted by doors or through traffic. Not every kitchen will lend itself to this balance, but bear it in mind. Use our planning grid to experiment with the layout of your kitchen, Mark out the size of your kitchen according to the scale, and mark in all the fixed features, such as doors, windows, water and electrical services.
The most common kitchen shapes are:
- L-shape: if your kitchen has the width, and L-shaped bench will bring everything closer together and give you more desk space.
- Gallery: if there are doorways at either end of the kitchen, then a galley style, with units down both side of the kitchen, is the only sensible solution.
- U-Shape: in a square room, place groups along three walls. If the room is big enough, you can also incorporate a convenient island bench in the middle.
- Single line: Placing all the kitchen units along one wall works well in a small space or in am an apartment where the kitchen is part of the living area.
The trend these days is for major appliances to be built into the kitchen cabinets, so don’t make your final decision. And, as mentioned already, your appliances will be a major component of the final cost of the kitchen, so make your choices early in the process so you can budget accordingly.
Bear the following in mind:
- There is no standard size for fridges, so make sure that your cabinets are high enough and broad enough to accommodate your choice. Check which way the door swings – does it suit your layout? Also, make sure that your new fridge will fit through your existing doorways.T
- The traditional upright stove still a popular choice, but a separate cooktop and oven give you flexibility. Cooktops can include a variety of burners, often sold separate components, including electric grills, fish burners, and work cookers. A separate oven can be on the bench, or in the wall, at a more convenient height.
- Avoid sitting the fridge or freezer next to the oven.
- A microwave oven is now standard equipment in most kitchens. Rather that in taking up valuable bench space, build it into your kitchen cabinets, or install a shelf at a convenient height.
- Dishwashers are installed under the bench, and most manufacturers now have models that can be integrated into your kitchen cabinets, usually by fitting on a false front that matches your cupboard doors. Site it near the sink to simplify your plumbing.
- Range hoods can buy “off the rack” or custom-made. They should preferably be ducted into the open air to minimise fumes and cooking smell inside. And don’t forget to check the noise level before you buy.
Lighting and power outlets are often last-minute decisions, but in a busy work area, like the kitchen, they are crucial to proper planning.
Make sure you have enough power points for all your appliances, including small items like toasters and coffee makers. Ensure they are conveniently located, but well away from water sources. Generally speaking, for ease of working you will need more than one light source in the kitchen.
You can read: How To Plan The Perfect Kitchen – Part One
Work benches should be well lit. An effective way to achieve this is to install strip lighting under overhead cupboards, or a series of recessed lights in the ceiling works just as well.
Partly a matter of style, partly practicality, and conveniences, flooring is another element of kitchen planning that is often overlooked.
Uniform flooring can help the kitchen ‘flow’ more easily into a larger family room or living area. On the other hand, a change in flooring can contribute to define the kitchen area and add extra as ceramic tile, concrete or slate can be particularly unforgiving in the kitchen. Soft surfaces such as vinyl, cork or rubber, even polished floor boards, may be more appropriate.
Either way, choose a surface that is reasonably easy to keep clean. I hope this articles help you to plan the perfect kitchen.