Increasingly the kitchen is becoming the central hub of the home again. As open-plan design becomes more popular, it’s a place for the family to come together to eat and work and unwind after a long day.
So when the time comes to give you kitchen that long-needed makeover, it’s worth taking the time to plan for what you really want and need. A little effort beforehand can save you daily time and effort for the many enjoyable years you’ll have with your new kitchen.
Get in Shape
You may not have considered it before but the shape of your kitchen is of huge importance. A lot of factors are involved, from the size of your home to how you’re planning on using the space but there are a few popular configurations which can help you maximise the room.
I-shaped kitchens are generally useful for those with limited floor space – like apartments or smaller rooms. With all of the important areas in a single line against a wall, it’s an efficient way of using the area and helps to clearly demark the kitchen area.
L-shaped kitchens are probably the most popular these days, with the counters and appliances lined up against two perpendicular walls. You get plenty of storage space and many people pair this shape with a central island which makes it easier to move between the important areas in the Golden Triangle which we’ll talk about below.
U-shaped kitchens are a great touch for those who spend a lot of time cooking, maximising the important areas. With counters on either side, it’s important to have enough floor space to ensure that it doesn’t become claustrophobic and drawers and cupboard doors don’t start to clash with eachother.
The use of a central island is also a popular choice, with a number of benefits. It can be used as a large prep area, especially useful if it also includes a sink or even a hob. And with the addition of a couple of stools it easily becomes an ever popular breakfast bar or somewhere for the kids to do some homework while dinner is prepared. It can even double as a kitchen table for a more informal setting.
Another take on the island which is gaining in popularity is a kitchen peninsula. It’s like an island but with one end attached to a wall – it gives more counterspace without taking up as much floor space. And both islands and peninsulas are useful for marking off the kitchen area from the rest of the room.
Make the most of your island with a few useful additions like electrical sockets for charging those all important laptops or phones or handy hooks for hanging jackets on the underside.
The Auld Triangle
Where do you spend most of your time while preparing food in the kitchen? Usually you’re either preparing the ingredients at a countertop, cooking them on the hob or oven or cleaning up at the sink. And these three areas are the holy trinity of kitchen design.
Prep, cooking and cleaning are an important trio, and kitchen design should try to follow the ‘Golden Triangle’ approach. Basically, you should try to keep these important areas as close as possible together, imagine each as the point of a triangle. So ingredients go from the fridge/prep area to the cooker and the pans go onto the sink/dishwasher. Try to keep a distance of just a few steps between them so you can make the best use of your time and energy.
Beyond the layout of the kitchen itself, you can also make things easier with your appliance choice. A little extra planning at the beginning can ensure your fridge and dishwasher are hidden away behind cabinet doors and the use of integrated appliances means you can have a clean look that matches the style of your kitchen.
If you’re looking to make your kitchen time a little easier, you should definitely consider an oven with a Pyrolytic system. These ovens have a self-cleaning setting which heats the inside to a massive 500 degrees Celsius, essentially incinerating any dirt inside. Just wipe it clean and you’re done.
And if you’ve got the wall space, a side by side fridge freezer is an amazing way to store a huge amount of chilled and superchilled foodstuffs right where you need it most. You can also buy an integrated option to make sure it blends in with the rest of the room.
Measure, Measure, Measure!
This couldn’t be more important when you’re planning a redesign – measure everything then do it again and once more for good measure! There’s nothing worse than getting your fancy new oven, fridge, dishwasher or hob and finding out it’s just a little too big to fit into your new kitchen!
These are just a few tips to help you get started on a new design but the most important thing is to put together a kitchen that works for you, with unique elements and personal touches which help to make it a part of your home.
In Short: If you’re planning on putting together a brand new kitchen, take a few minutes to read our top tips for the perfect living space