Designing your dream kitchen can be exciting as well as intimidating. From having a meal prepared for the family to socializing and entertaining, a kitchen plays a central role. With so many activities happening in this space, having a comfortable, functional, and beautiful kitchen involves a lot of elements that go beyond countertops and cabinet colors and trends. Here are some pro tips to solve kitchen design and avoid common kitchen design mistakes.
No matter how small or big the kitchen area is, circulation is one of the most fundamental factors to be considered while designing. The layout of the kitchen dictates the movement within the kitchen. The work triangle, which is mentioned next, helps in minimizing the movements and improves the functionality. The space between the countertop to the countertop/kitchen island should be at least 3.5-4 feet for comfortable circulation. Any lesser than this would make the space feel cramped. Additionally, the door width should be at least 3 feet and door swings should not touch the countertop or appliances. Make sure the door swings out and not in especially in small kitchens.
2. Work Triangle
The kitchen work triangle is a concept which helps in the placements of the three work areas – sink, cooktop, and refrigerator. These three work areas become the points and an imaginary line between these points becomes the work triangle. This concept of work triangle is used by the designers to minimize the walking within the kitchen and thereby improve efficiency by saving both time and energy.
Whatever shape the triangle takes, the sides of the triangle should be at least 4 feet and no more than 9 feet. The sum of all the sides of this triangle should be around 13-26 feet. Any lesser than 13 feet, the kitchen will feel cramped.
After installing all the kitchen appliances, make sure that there is enough usable countertop space for easy prep work and functionality. It is recommended to have at least 150 inches of usable counter space including a kitchen island with the following breakdown:
- At least 24 inches next to one side of the sink and at least 18 inches on the other side.
- At least 12 inches next to one side of the stove and at least 18 inches on the other side.
- At least 15 inches next to the refrigerator.
- When using separate ovens, have at least 15 inches on one of the sides.
- For kitchen islands with appliances, have at least 9 inches of usable spaces on either side of the appliance.
When thinking of the comfort of working in a kitchen, one of the ergonomics factors to consider is the countertop height. This also depends on the height of the people using the kitchen. The average countertop height 36 inches above the floor. The countertop height can be reduced to 28-34 inches when the kitchen is designed for wheelchair access/limited mobility.
Lighting is one of the most overlooked components in the design. Especially in the kitchen, lighting has a great impact on functionality. Even if the kitchen has no natural lighting, the right type and location of lighting can be greatly helpful considering a kitchen has so many activities in it. With layered lighting, the look and functionality of your dream kitchen can be enhanced.
- Ambient Lighting – overhead lighting for easy navigation, to enter and exit the kitchen area.
- Task lighting – lighting focused on the work areas like countertops, island and sink for tasks related to food prep, cooking, or cleaning.
- Accent lighting – soft lighting to highlight decor features in the kitchen like under cabinet lighting or lighting inside the cabinets to display decor accessories.
5. Electrical Outlets
Plan the number of electrical outlets and the positioning in advance in a kitchen. Have at least 1 wall-switch-controlled light, ideally placed at the entrance of the kitchen. Do not skimp on the number of electrical outlets and also plan to have outlets in different places. This will be helpful during the prep work of a large meal.
Besides having electrical outlets for small appliances like a toaster or even a phone charger, plan to have some 3 phase electrical outlets for appliances that have more than 13 amp rating.
One of the common mistakes while designing a kitchen is overlooking ventilation. Proper ventilation not only helps you to get rid of cooking smells but also helps in the maintenance of kitchen appliances. Prolonged exposure to the heat, smoke, and grease from cooking can affect the working of kitchen appliances and also make it harder to clean the surfaces. Furthermore, excess moisture that is trapped without ventilation can lead to mold.
7. Maximize Vertical Space
One of the easiest hacks to increase storage space, especially in a small kitchen, is to make sure the cabinets reach all the way up to the ceiling. This would minimize wasted space and maximize the use of vertical space, which can be used to at least store things that are not used frequently. While the cabinets extended up to the ceiling provide a cohesive look, the upper portion can also be used for displaying decor accessories.
8. Storage and Kitchen Organization
Kitchen is one area that can get cluttered real fast real easy! There never seems to be enough storage space when it comes to kitchen. Be mindful of having storage space for those kitchen appliances like ice cream/popcorn maker that you don’t use regularly.
In addition to planning storage in the kitchen, setting up with some smart kitchen organization ideas can help in minimizing the clutter. From having an organized pantry space to having cabinet drawer organizer for cutlery, there are many ways to keep the kitchen have a clean look. Here, you can find some clever ways to organize your kitchen.
9. Surface Finishes
The pictures on Pinterest or a design in a showroom may scream “Dream Kitchen!” But unless those designs match your lifestyle, they can easily turn into a nightmare!
- The kitchen is usually heavy traffic wet area, so choose an appropriate heavy-duty anti-slippery flooring that is water-resistant.
- Choose appropriate countertop and backsplash finishes with non-porous material like quartz if you worry about staining the finish while cooking/meal prep.
- Avoid intricate dimensioned tiling in the backsplash area as they are impractical when it comes to cleaning.
- Avoid using flat/matte paint finishes on the walls. Opt for eggshell/satin/semi-gloss paint finish in the kitchen area as they are easier to clean when compared to flat/matte finish.
1o. Open Shelving
Open shelving is one of the current trends in the kitchen which is making waves. But unless you are a highly organized person or have display-worthy kitchenware, open shelving is not recommended. Storage items on the shelves can easily get cluttered or collect dust if you don’t use them much.
Designing a kitchen is always an exciting project. Kitchen is taking up central space in most of the homes. Even making small changes can uplift the design. I hope that you get to enjoy your kitchen area.