We’re all spending more time in the kitchen as it becomes the focus of more home activities. Kitchen islands have brought the guests right into the kitchen and allow far more interaction between hosts and guests. With all this extra attention on the kitchen, it’s important to look at all of your options and choose wisely to fit your particular needs and style. Let’s look at the main kitchen design concepts and some examples.
The key concept to keep in mind is the work triangle, which is the area where you spend the most time. For most meals you’ll move back and forth from the refrigerator to the sink and to the cooktop. This trio of activities determines your work triangle. To make things faster and easier try to keep each leg of the triangle at a max of 9′ (2.7 meters). Smaller is good too, but not too small, especially if you have more than one cook. In each example shown below the red area indicates the main work space.
It’s also important to plan out your paths for actually serving the food to your family and guests. If you have multiple choices, a little planning ahead of time can make a big difference. The blue arrows in each layout show likely delivery paths.
Counter space is also a major consideration. You need space around each appliance to do preparation. A few good suggestions are to have 18″ (0.5 meters) on either side of your sink and 3′ (0.9 meters) next to the cooktop. Also remember to keep around 18″ (0.5 meters) close to the refrigerator for unpacking your groceries. And, of course, you should consider a microwave, dishwasher, countertop appliances, lighting and storage. It’s easy to see why the kitchen layout deserves so much time and consideration.
A single wall kitchen is highly appropriate for smaller homes and narrow apartments or when combined with an island. Adding the island is a great way to merge the kitchen into an open home plan. In this layout the sink is right below the window, where you want it, with the cooktop and refrigerator on either side and it opens directly into the main living room. It can’t get much easier than this to quickly serve the diners.
Whatever you call it; two parallel walls, galley or corridor, this is another layout that works well in smaller spaces. It minimizes the distances between the three areas of the work triangle, but be sure to keep at least 48″ (1.2 meters) between the sides . This particular layout helps make serving the food easy – inside or out.
An L-shaped kitchen can be quite efficient too, as long as the major appliances are close enough to one another. It’s also a good way to allow traffic flow into the general area without interfering with the cook. The island encourages interaction between the cook and guests and provides extra counter space. Serving the food is simple and quick.
A U-shaped kitchen keeps all the needed tools close by and can even have a central island like this example. It also works well to serve multiple dining areas, from casual to formal. The grill outside makes it super easy to get the food on the table.
The island is the kitchen (almost) in this design. With the sink and cook top on the island and the ovens and refrigerator on the wall between them, it’s easy to include guests in the cooking process. Serving can be as simple as straight from the stove to the plate for family and guests in the casual seating at the end of the island.
This galley kitchen has challenges. Not only is it the kitchen, it’s also the most likely way for traffic to flow back and forth through the whole house even though there is another hallway on the other side of the central island. It also has four different locations that need to be served. As a kitchen by itself, it works well, but it points out how important it is to think about serving the food too.
It’s your turn!