How to Plan Your Kitchen Layout

Whether you are looking to buy an existing home or building a new home, you probably know the importance of the kitchen layout.  It is now one of the most used areas of the house for entertaining family and friends; therefore, if it is too tight on space and you are tripping over everyone, you will be miserable.  To avoid this problem, one must have an understanding of two things: work triangles and work centers.

A kitchen triangle consists of three areas: the refrigerator, the sink and the stove/cooktop.  Imagine there is a line from the center of the sink, to the center of the refrigerator, to the center of the stove and back to the center of the sink. This is your kitchen triangle.  The preferable distance is no more than 26 feet, but avid cooks prefer it to be no more than 22 feet.  To have a better understanding of the distance, you are wanting each side of the triangles path to have a minimum of 4 feet with a maximum of 9 feet.  The work triangle formula for a kitchen works whether you have any of the following shapes: an L-shaped kitchen with an island, a basic L-shaped kitchen, a G-shaped kitchen (this normally has a bar on one side), a galley kitchen (this has cabinets on each side like two parallel lines), a U-shaped kitchen with or without an island.  Sometimes a kitchen will have two cooking areas.  The above rule still applies to this kitchen as well.

To have a better understanding of the kitchen triangle one needs to think about the work centers of each of the kitchen spaces listed above.  Understanding the working areas for food prep, cooking, and cleaning will help one make sure they have plenty of space. For instance, most people bring in their groceries and need space to set them down to put away.  In designing your kitchen also keep in mind that a pantry nearby will also help in your efficiency of putting items away quickly and efficiently. Choosing the right placement for your counter top space surrounding the stove is a major key to productive food prep and cooking.  Making sure your pots, pans and cooking utensils are close by is also very important.   If you are designing your cabinets, roll-out shelving helps a lot with pots and pans since they tend to be cumbersome and awkward.  The sink area also needs to have counter space for your not-so-favorite dirty dishes.  When designing this space, being right or left handed effects your dishwasher location.  Most of us are right handed, but in some instances the dishwasher is placed on the left side which can cause a little distress for us right handed individuals, or vice versa.

   In understanding the above work zones for layout you also need to consider the areas that are most commonly used by most.  For instance the location of the coffee pot.  You need to make sure you have adequate counter space and that it is located out of the way of your work triangle.  This way you can avoid collision and make your life happier.  Another good idea is if you do a lot of food prep, islands are wonderful.  More and more people are putting in a smaller sink to create an area for food preparation away from the main areas that we have discussed in our triangle.  This also allows many friends and family to be able to congregate and enjoy the kitchen.  If your kitchen is where most of your time is spent, why not make the most of your space by adding counter/barstools to this area for added seating during entertainment time.

The kitchen is truly the heartbeat of the home, but in order to enjoy it one must understand its function whether you are buying or building.  This way you are able to avoid crowding and having tight spaces being able to enjoy and focus on entertaining friends and family.

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