After the bedroom and living room, the kitchen is generally the room you spend the most time in. You cook family dinner, help kids with homework, and do your best to keep the mess under control. For some, the thought of cooking in the kitchen brings dread. It takes a lot of work to make a meal and nothing is where it should be. For others, making dinner can be a simple and easy experience with everything right at arm’s length and you don’t have to struggle to cook. Here’s a few principles that can help you design your new kitchen.
THE WORK TRIANGLE
Efficient workflow and functionality are key in a comfortable kitchen. Position your stove, sink, and refrigerator to form a triangle and create a logical flow in the kitchen. On a U-Shaped kitchen with an island, place your sink, stove and fridge on two adjacent walls or in the island. If you put the fridge on the opposite side of the room from the sink, you have to walk around the island to get from the sink to the fridge.
When you position your appliances, make sure you have enough counter space around them. Your refrigerator should have room on one side or across from it to set groceries to stock the fridge or to set items you need to take out and use. Your stove is best served with a counter on both sides to facilitate meal prep. Your sink and dishwasher need staging space for dirty and drying dishes and prep space for washing fruits and vegetables.
When deciding where to place the sink, keep a few ideas in mind.
Center your sink. You spend a significant amount of time at the sink when cooking so it should be centrally located in the kitchen as part of the work triangle. It should be centered under a window to allow for natural light a view or it should be in the island to give yourself lots of room to work and see your visitors.
Place your trash can in a slide out next to your sink. You’ll use this to scrape your plates at the end of a meal of easily throw away vegetable peeling. We like to use a double wastebasket pullout. This lets you have two trash cans for twice the waste for a large family or you can split them for trash and recycling. The trash can should pull out when you pull open the door to make it easy to access with dirty or full hands.
The trash, sink, and dishwasher should be grouped together in a run. When you clean up from a meal you scrape the dish in the trash, rinse it off in the sink and load directly to the dishwasher. Dishwashers also need to be next to a sink to drain. The dishwasher and sink share one drain and are connected together beneath your sink.
STORE ITEMS NEAR WHERE THEY ARE USED
Homeowners should store items near where they are frequently used. Pots and pans, ladles and spatulas, and cooking ingredients should be stored near the stove. Baking ingredients, cookie sheets, and hot mitts should be stored near the oven. Store plates, cups, and silverware close to the dishwasher to make it easy to put away dishes. Lasty, left over containers and plastic wraps should be stored near the fridge for packing up left overs.
PLAN DEEP & QUICK ACCESS STORAGE
As a general rule, bulk supplies of food do not need to be stored where you use them. For small kitchens, bulk cereals, flower, sugar, and other bulk items can be stored in a pantry or even in another room if you are really tight on space. If you need to return an item to its home when you use it, it should have quick access in your kitchen. Other items that you pull and use up can be placed in deep storage. Here’s an example: ice cream needs to be returned to the freezer when you are finished with it. Therefor, store ice cream in your kitchen freezer instead of in the garage. Keep the frozen pizzas out there. Your brownie mixes get used up and you throw away the box. Keep them in deep storage and keep your flower quickly accessible.
GIVE YOURSELF ROOM TO WALK
One of the biggest complaints we hear when we start working with a client is that their kitchen is cramped. Good kitchens should have some space between appliances so you don’t have to move the person at the sink to get to the fridge. In addition, make sure you have enough aisle space. 36” is the bare minimum for a walk way, 42” is preferred and 48” is ideal for walkways with appliances. 48”-56” isa also a good width if it’s a high traffic aisle where people need to pass each other or if people need to pass by while an appliance is in use.
Kitchens are the heart of the home and your design should reflect that. Kitchens should be pleasing, comfortable, and calming to be in. Your kitchen should bring you joy and satisfaction when you enter it, not dread and despair. Interior designers can help you design an aesthetically beautiful kitchen that blends with your home and personal style.
If you are considering a new kitchen and need help with design and layout, call us! William’s Handcrafted is a custom cabinet maker in Richmond, VA. As a kitchen designer, we use a practical and thoughtful approach to designing functional and pleasing kitchens for your family to enjoy for years to come.
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The capital of Virginia, Richmond, is a bustling metropolis and home to 1,260,029 people. The town has a proud architectural history and houses magnificent buildings like the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, built in 1906. Other must-see attractions include the Carpenter Theater, the Virginia State Capitol, and the Egyptian Building at VCU.