5 Things to Consider When Designing a Practical Kitchen
While the inspiration kitchens you see on Pinterest or in magazines may look incredible, have you ever stopped to wonder whether they’d be practical to cook in?
Designing for form over function can create headaches down the track as you realise that elements like layout, storage, electrical requirements and appliance placement don’t reflect the way you use your kitchen every day.
We’ve rounded up our top 5 considerations when creating a functional kitchen design.
One of the pillars of design, your kitchen’s layout will influence everything from workflows to organisation.
A common mistake is locating the sink an awkward distance away from your stovetop and fridge. Loosely known as the golden triangle, these three elements should generally be placed at three intersecting points within your space, as you often bounce between these while preparing and cooking a meal.
Consider a week spent in your kitchen and use this to inform the layout too.
Where do you set your groceries down? Will there be ample bench space for you to unpack your ingredients, closeby to the pantry and fridge?
Do your kids like to sit on the bench after school to complete homework while you cook?
Do you entertain often and find it annoying to traipse back and forth with dishes and drinks?
Kitchen design with its end users in mind will help to ensure your space works for you.
2. Generous storage space
Many cupboards are designed to fill leftover space once a kitchen’s big-ticket items have been placed, but unfortunately, this leaves you with smaller cupboards and awkward spaces that aren’t that practical.
Instead, plan your storage in line with the layout you’ve just mapped out. If you know you have a lot of pots and pans that you use often while cooking at the stove, make sure there’s ample room for these to be close by.
Similarly, if you have a lot of benchtop appliances, you could consider incorporating an appliance hutch into your kitchen design.
Be wary of cupboards that are more deep than wide, as you don’t want to lean into a dark cupboard to rummage around for items at the back.
Large, deep drawers are a perfect counterpoint to this problem – as you can pull them right out, even items stored at the back will never be hidden away.
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Install more than one light source – and incorporate a mixture of natural and artificial light – to make your food prep much easier.
Consider a combination of the following:
- Stylish pendant lights hanging over the island or breakfast bar
- Functional LED downlights or strip lights under the cabinets to provide task lighting
- Large windows that let floods of light in during the day
- Automatic lights in the pantry that activate when the door is opened
If your dining area is also in your kitchen, you’ll want a few different light sources there to set the mood and enhance your guests’ experience. Try attractive pendants and a couple of modern candle holders to add visual texture.
One of the most common complaints homeowners make when they move into a home with an older kitchen is the sheer lack of power points.
When thinking about your new kitchen design, plan your placement of electric sockets carefully. Some in each corner of the kitchen would work well, as well as in the fridge cavity.
Also, consider installing some inside your larger cupboards so you can plug in your kettle and toaster and hide them away after use.
Some homeowners also create charging stations in the kitchen area, so devices like phones and tablets can be easily accessed while replenishing their batteries.
5. Appliance placement
Alongside the golden triangle mentioned earlier, your appliance placement will inform how you cook in the kitchen along with the flow of traffic through this communal space.
If your fridge has traditionally sat in the centre of your kitchen, consider placing this on a perimeter so it can be accessed without anyone getting under your feet while cooking.
On a related note, ensuring your dishwasher is located just under (or next to) the sink ensures you won’t be traipsing dripping dishes across the kitchen just to load them in.
If you’re incorporating a butler’s pantry, locating the dishwasher away from your main space can help to reduce clutter and to keep a tidy space when entertaining.
Don’t be afraid to separate your cooktop and oven either if it helps to free up more cupboard space in crucial areas.