The layout is the fundamental building block of any kitchen design. Get it right, and everything else from kitchen cabinets to countertops will fall into place. Get the layout wrong, and even the most stylish design packed with high end materials will not function well. An experienced kitchen design professional can help you define your key requirements from how you use your kitchen to who will be using it and how often and determine how to incorporate these requirements into a cohesive layout.
The foundation for the kitchen layout was traditionally the work triangle, based on the idea that the oven, sink, and refrigerator must be near each other (but not too close) for your kitchen to function well. This concept worked in a relatively small kitchen only used for cooking. Today’s kitchens are the hub of the home, where everything from cooking to dining to homework happens. Kitchens have grown as well, often encompassing work space as well as the dining area and living spaces in an open plan kitchen design.
Kitchen layouts have also evolved, and now center around “zones”, or distinct areas that focus on a specific function. Which zones you include in your kitchen design and where they are positioned depend on your available space and family requirements. Here are a few key questions to consider:
1. WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR KITCHEN
If you have a large, busy household you probably do a lot of cooking, which also means a lot of cleaning up. You may also have a requirement to store larger quantities of food and supplies to keep up with the demand of your family. If you have children, you might need space for doing arts and crafts or homework. If you entertain frequently, then you may need a large beverage bar and an island with seating. Do you like to cook, to bake, or do you prefer ordering take out to share with friends over a glass of wine? Your requirements will dictate the style and layout of your kitchen design zones.
2. HOW MUCH SPACE DO YOU HAVE, OR DO YOU PLAN TO CHANGE IT?
Your physical kitchen footprint defines the space you have available to work with, unless you can change this space by knocking down or moving a wall. Your experienced kitchen design professional can help you assess your options and learn how to get the most out of your space, and where to best position your work zones.
3. WHAT WORKS IN YOU CURRENT KITCHEN DESIGN ( AND WHAT DOESN'T)?
Whether you are remodeling your kitchen to update the style, improve functionality, or both, there are probably some things you love and want to retain while other aspects drive you crazy. Think about what you love and why and be sure to include that in your new kitchen design. Which elements of your design are you eager to change or what is completely missing from your existing kitchen? Make a list, look for inspiration on Pinterest, Houzz, Instagram, or visit our kitchen remodeling gallery to get more ideas.
4. WHAT APPLIANCES DO YOU PLAN TO INCLUDE
The old kitchen work triangle concept was built around the oven, sink, and refrigerator, as these were the key elements of every kitchen. Dishes were washed in the sink, food was cooked in the oven, and perishable items were stored in the refrigerator. Today’s kitchen is more complex, and may include more than one refrigerator, a separate oven and range, a microwave, a dishwasher, a built-in coffee maker and an array of other specialized appliances. Think about the appliances you use, both large and small, and which ones should be positioned together to help define your work zones.
5. WHAT ZONES DO YOU NEED?
Every kitchen requires at least a food prep, cooking, and cleaning zone, but you could also include additional areas to meet your needs. An exclusive baking zone could include storage for your baking supplies, a stand mixer lift, and a section of marble countertop for rolling out pastry. Add a pet zone with built-in storage for pet food and supplies plus an out of the way location for food and water bowls. Figure out what is important to you and create your kitchen design zones around it.