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You might put the most beautiful cabinets, technologically advanced appliances and high-end finishes in your kitchen, but if you screw up with the layout, the rest doesn’t matter. Here’s how to plan the best kitchen layout for your needs and fit your space.
MAKE IT WORK
When planning your kitchen, it’s important to give careful consideration to how you will use the space.
Think about these first:
- your cooking style (what, how often, with what ingretients, ect. You know…)
- the appliances that you are going to want
- whether you want people in the kitchen with you and how many
- or do you want people sitting on the other side of the bar, talking while you cook
CHECK OUT THE GUIDELINES
While no two kitchens are alike, there are state and local codes that apply to every kitchen design. The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) also has words of advice that result in a more functional space.
- if a kitchen has only one sink, you should place it next to or across from the cooking surface and refrigerator.
- The sink should be surrounded by a 24-inch-wide landing area to one side and at least an 18-inch-wide area on the other side.
- Dishwasher placement: the nearest edge of the dishwasher should be located within 36 inches of the nearest edge of a clean-up/prep sink to ensure maximum convenience.
For NKBA’s complete kitchen design guidelines, visit their website.
TRIANGLE VS. WORK STATION
Traditionally, the stove, sink and refrigerator are placed at points of a triangle for efficient movement in the kitchen.
Some people say that with all the new appliances and more cooks in the kitchen, the triangle isn’t important, but it may not be true: preparing a meal from fresh ingredients hasn’t changed fundamentally.
However, there’s a better design for bigger, busier (usually commercial, though) kitchens: work stations. With this approach, each standard task station (prep, cooking, storage and cleanup areas), as well as the more specialized ones (baking and canning, for example), is centered around a major appliance and its landing area of at least 15 inches of adjacent countertop.
Islands, which continue to be popular, are a great way to add informal seating, as well as extra prep space and storage to a kitchen. Rather than a flat expanse of countertop, modern islands usually feature different levels and details like prep sinks, second dishwashers and warming drawers. Islands offer a good place for open shelving for cookbooks, built-in wine storage and lit display areas. If you plan to have you should allow for at least a good 42 inches of space around it.
KEEP IT LIGHT
If you really want to enjoy your kitchen, it must be well lit. “Good lighting has all four different types of light: task, ambient, accent and decorative”, says Randall Whitehead, a nationally known lighting designer and author on the subject of residential lighting. “No single light source can provide all the necessary light for a kitchen.”