A kitchen layout will make the difference in how quickly and efficiently you use the kitchen. Our kitchen is the heart of the home. Even if you’re not an avid cook, the kitchen is the space that most people like to entertain in and enjoy spending time with family. The aesthetics are important, but the function of how your kitchen works is even more important. A poor layout can result in retracing your steps and spending more time in the kitchen can be a turn off to enjoying cooking. Look at these tips on how to layout an efficient kitchen floor plan.
Layout the work triangle:
In every kitchen there are 3 main components that make up the ‘work triangle’. The refrigerator – where food is stored, the sink – where food is washed, and the stove/oven – where the food is cooked, makes up an efficient work triangle. Draw your kitchen as a floor plan and see how your three areas layout. Ideally you would like to go to the refrigerator, to the sink and to the stove in one easy path. If you have to retrace your steps, or walk around obstacles to get to any of the three, your layout is inefficient. But it is understandable that as kitchens grow in size, and feature more than three work spaces, the regular work triangle isn’t always practical. And in many households today, two or more people share cooking duties.
Because of these issues, designers do not always play by the triangle’s rules when it comes to drafting kitchen plans. With many of the kitchens we have helped design, we’ll have more than one work triangle in it if necessary. If you can’t configure the standard triangle, you have to make do by creating the most functional kitchen possible. Remember, your lifestyle should determine the functionality of your kitchen, not the other way around. The work triangle is not a law, merely a suggestion. Although it can be a helpful tool, don’t let it inhibit you from thinking outside the triangle when it comes to designing your kitchen.
Layout Work Surfaces: A work surface, or countertop area should ideally be located between each of the work triangle areas. Therefore, between the refrigerator and sink, and between the sink and stove/oven, a countertop area is ideal. In smaller kitchens, a work area in each space may not be possible due to space. The more working areas you can provide yourself, the better. Consider using multi-functional work areas if space is an issue. For example a raised countertop adjacent to a dining area, can serve as a seated bar for eating as well as a preparation work surface for cooking.
Kitchen islands: In large kitchens a kitchen island can cut down on excessive travel to each part of the work triangle. Consider placing one or more of the work triangle functions at the island. Having a sink in the island will prevent you from walking from the refrigerator to another remote area constantly. Kitchen islands for a small kitchen can be on casters or wheels for temporary use. An island can be used for storage below, and also serve as an additional work surface. Consider using a movable kitchen island for convenience and roll out of the way when more people need to fit in the kitchen.
Layout Shape of your kitchen:
Here are the pros and cons of each type of kitchen:
PROS: This layout offers three sides or walls for the work triangle to be efficient. The cook can maximize their time in the kitchen and won’t get distracted by traffic walking through the kitchen. CONS: Multiple people working in the kitchen at one time may be difficult.
PROS: This plan allows for more space saving because two of the work triangle functions are on the same wall. This plan is also easier to entertain from, since it is open up to the adjacent room on one side. CONS: Ample counter space room should be given in the crook of the L for maximum usage. If not, the layout of the kitchen will work less efficiently due to less room to prepare and cook the food.
PROS: In this plan the walls are parallel with all of the work triangle functions. It is very efficient due to less area to travel and is ideal for space saving. CONS: This plan isn’t ideal for a lot of people in the kitchen because the traffic area is also the cook preparation area. This plan can also be difficult to entertain from, unless one wall is open to an adjacent room with a seating bar for example.
PROS: It’s best suited to those who want to pack every square inch of kitchen possible into their space but don’t have room for the clearance required around an island. CONS: Essentially this area is a work aisle, not a walkway. So making the peninsula so short can’t offer enough room to seat a few guests or contain an appliance.
The way your kitchen is laid out will make a difference in how you enjoy and use the space. If you find your current kitchen isn’t efficient, try to layout another option. It may not be difficult to alter your existing plan. If you are in the process of remodeling, think of these tips when looking at kitchen designs. Your kitchen is the heart of your home and your family, make it work the best for you!