Let us guess, you’ve been standing in the middle of your kitchen and feeling overwhelmed with the number of layout options you have to choose from for your kitchen remodel. You’ve been asking yourself, how do you work out which is the best kitchen layout for your home and ensure it will offer the functionality that you desire?
When selecting your kitchen layout, it’s important to consider not only your cooking style but also the ergonomics, functionality, and utility of the room. While many people think that there is one single best kitchen layout for everyone, the truth is that different cooking styles suit different layouts. At Kitchen Envy, our experienced designers will help you explore the range of options you have for your new kitchen layout. They will assess your needs and the available space to determine the layout that works best.
Before you speak with one of our designers it’s worth exploring the different layout options, the importance of traffic flow, and some practical questions to ask yourself to assist in determining the best kitchen layout for you. So let’s get started and find you the kitchen of your dreams!
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Designing Your Kitchen Layout
When planning your dream kitchen layout, there is much to consider before envisioning the final design. You might find it helpful to start by asking yourself the following questions:
- What kind of cook are you? Are you a gourmet chef needing plentiful bench space, storage, and more high-end appliances such as double ovens or do you prefer fewer appliances and easier cooking options? This is going to help determine the overall look and feel of your kitchen.
- How will you use your space? Will you primarily cook alone or with others in the kitchen? If you entertain often, do you need room to accommodate larger groups in your kitchen area or will they mostly be in another room? Thinking about how your family will use the kitchen layout can help guide construction decisions such as where to place benchtops, islands and stoves.
- Who will be using the kitchen area? Young children may need special safety considerations. Seniors might require wider doorways or stairlifts for increased mobility access to different areas. Thinking about this beforehand can help plan a better kitchen layout that meets everyone’s needs.
- Is your home an open concept floor plan or separate rooms? An open concept plan allows for more flexible options when designing your kitchen layout. However, having separate rooms can still include some open concepts providing more entertainment space adjacent to the primary food preparation area while still giving flexibility to create functional layouts unique to each specific household.
Key Considerations That Will Impact Your Kitchen Layout
Size and Measurement of your Kitchen
Size and measurements are of utmost importance and will be one of the most important considerations. The most successful kitchen layouts usually include three working areas: a cooking zone, an appliance zone, and a work-prep zone. After the key zones are decided you can then determine bench space or islands depending on the size of the kitchen.
Having a larger kitchen does make it easier to fit each of these zones as well as extra preparation space or even an island for added storage and workspace. However, a smaller kitchen can also accommodate a well-functioning layout if you get creative with cabinetry and appliance placement. Working with a smaller space may necessitate certain trade-offs such as downsizing certain appliances or foregoing an island all together. However, by making thoughtful choices you can still create a beautiful and functional kitchen within any size space.
Analysing your kitchen traffic is an important step when choosing the best kitchen layout for your home. Think about both how you currently use your kitchen and what kind of entertaining and cooking activities you’d like to accommodate in the future.
Consider the following questions when analysing your kitchen traffic:
- How many people generally use the kitchen at one time? Do they tend to congregate in the same areas or disperse throughout different sections of the space?
- How often do you prepare meals, entertain guests, and work on hobbies inside the kitchen?
- What tasks are performed most frequently and which ones require more freedom of movement?
- Are there any obstacles that create unnecessary congestion, such as a refrigerator that’s placed too close to the stove?
Ergonomics, Function and Utility
When considering the best kitchen layout for your home, ergonomics, function and utility must be taken into account. Ergonomics are an important factor when choosing a kitchen layout because it can dictate the ease and comfort of not only cooking but also the daily tasks of preparing and cleaning up after meals. Certain configurations may be better suited for certain tasks, such as placing a refrigerator near an oven for easy access to ingredients, or putting a sink close to the prep area for quick cleanups. Additionally, organising cabinets in a logical order—such as cutlery within reach of the dishwasher—can maximise efficiency during clean-up.
The size and shape of the space will often determine which type of layout works best from a functionality point of view. An open plan, horseshoe or single line design may suit one’s work process better than another, based on how much bench space is needed or whether there is room for multiple appliances or islands. Also, if entertaining is important, making sure that all areas flow together seamlessly will create a cohesive atmosphere for guests.
Along with functioning well, a kitchen must have utility in order to meet everyday needs. This includes having adequate storage space for food, dishes and other necessary items as well as being able to fit all essential appliances in one area without overcrowding the space.
What About the Kitchen Triangle?
There are a number of theories used to design functional kitchens, one of which is the ‘kitchen triangle’. The goal of this design is to minimise both physical strain on the cook and time spent moving about in the kitchen. Typically, when designing a kitchen triangle layout, the distance between all three points should be no less than 90cm. It’s also recommended that you have no more than two steps or an appliance door interfering in the work triangle.
There are two sides to this debate however, with our designers generally of the opinion that the kitchen triangle is outdated and that a more open and informal arrangement helps to facilitate multiple cooks in the kitchen at once while allowing for conversation during food preparation. Whichever option you choose to go with when designing your kitchen layout, positioning appliances and cabinets correctly within the space is key for creating a comfortable working environment that’s both aesthetically pleasing and practical.
Positioning Appliances & Cabinets
When it comes to placement of appliances, it’s best to arrange them according to how they will be used. Refrigerators, dishwashers and ovens should all be situated near each other to minimise movement between them when cooking. Placing the refrigerator away from direct sunlight can also help conserve energy. On the other hand, some people prefer to hide appliances behind cabinets or underneath benches for a cleaner look in the kitchen.
Cabinets need to be positioned effectively for ease of use, as well as taking into account existing permanent features such as windows, doorways and plumbing facing walls. An island or peninsula can sometimes add much needed extra storage if space allows, whilst still allowing enough room to move around comfortably. When choosing kitchen cabinet heights and depths, consider both who will use them and what kind of items will be stored inside: tall cabinets work best for storing bulky items while shallow cabinets are perfect for displaying decorative items or cooking utensils.
Which Layouts Are There to Choose From?
There are several different types of kitchen layouts, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Here are some of the most common types:
This layout is characterised by three walls that form a U-shape. It offers plenty of bench space and storage, and can accommodate multiple cooks. However, it may not be suitable for smaller kitchens. A horseshoe layout works well for people who like to multitask in the kitchen, or if multiple people need to be working at one time.
L-shaped kitchens are a popular choice among homeowners and designers, and offer several benefits that make them a versatile and efficient kitchen layout. This layout features two perpendicular walls that form an L-shape. It is a popular choice for smaller kitchens, as it maximises corner space and provides an efficient workflow.
A central island provides additional workspace and storage that can be used for meal preparation, serving food, and even dining. This is especially beneficial for larger families or those who enjoy entertaining. Islands can also offer additional storage in the form of drawers, cabinets, or shelves. This is useful for storing pots and pans, small appliances, and other kitchen essentials. Islands can also be designed to include sinks, cooktops, or other appliances, which can enhance the functionality of the kitchen. It’s important to keep in mind that an island needs a minimum of 90cm clearance around all sides.
Similar to the island kitchen, but instead of a free-standing island, the peninsula workspace is attached to a wall or cabinet. It can offer similar benefits as an island kitchen, while taking up less floor space. Peninsulas can add visual interest to a kitchen, serving as a focal point or design element.
One popular layout for cooks who enjoy entertaining is the galley kitchen. Galley kitchens are space-saving, making them a good option for smaller homes or apartments. They can also be designed to maximise storage space, with cabinets and drawers built into every available space.. This allows for easy access from one end of the kitchen to the other as well as providing plenty of bench space for prepping, baking and serving food during large gatherings.
Open Plan Kitchen
Open plan kitchens are designed to be integrated with the rest of the living space in the home, without walls or barriers separating them. An open plan kitchen allows for better socialising and interaction between family members and guests. Those cooking in the kitchen can still be part of the conversation and activities happening in the living room or dining area.
They often create a feeling of more space and a larger living area. Without walls, open plan kitchens can take advantage of natural light from the windows in the living space, creating a bright and inviting atmosphere. Open plan kitchens can also improve traffic flow between the different areas of the home, making it easier to move around and reducing congestion during busy times.
Ultimately, choosing the best kitchen layout for your cooking style comes down to understanding the space you have to work with, considering how you prefer to move around your workspace – then creating an environment where you can do so comfortably and efficiently. By considering both your needs and preferences when selecting a layout for your kitchen interior design project, you’ll be able to create a space that accommodates everything from meal prep to entertaining. Why not reach out to our designers to book a consult and we can get started on your kitchen renovation.