Create a kitchen that’s a joy to cook in by considering how layout will affect the function of your space.
Image: Sola Kitchens
A kitchen that looks great is a grand thing, but if it’s not enjoyable to be in or use to cook, then you may find yourself with buyer’s remorse pretty quickly.
Focus on the functional, as well as what your kitchen looks like. Start with these tips and explore further with an expert kitchen designer throughout your project.
Work with an experienced designer
Image: Day True
No matter how highly you rate your interior taste, a kitchen design needs to factor in function as well as aesthetic. Finding a good kitchen designer is something worth putting time and effort into, meeting with a few to discuss your goals for the space. In a self-build project, this may be worth doing early in the process, as a key area of your home, it’s worth the time adapting your build to make the most of the space.
‘Magazines and online sources are useful for inspiration,’ says Steve Tough, commercial sales director at Masterclass Kitchens. ‘They will help you clarify your own preferences and you can then present your ideas to a professional kitchen designer, who might suggest clever tricks that you may not have considered, along with knowledge about the fixtures and fittings available to create the scheme you want.’
A detailed knowledge of the best placement for certain storage, how pipe and ducting play into your design and how the user will eventually move around the space make this a job best left to the experts if you’re keen to create a functional kitchen.
Consider your key working areas
Image: Sencha matt green cabinets and island planter, Schmidt Kitchens
When designing a functional kitchen layout, one needs to consider how traffic flows – some designers may even map this out to create a clear concept of how the user moves throughout the space. In a kitchen, this usually depends on the key working elements you use when cooking.
The golden triangle concept for kitchen design has been around for generations. The general idea is that the sink, cooker or stove and refrigerator should form a triangle for the best flow around a space. This may be an equilateral triangle, it may be a more acute shape, but regardless, the concept suggests that this is a great way to arrange your space for good flow.
Some designers may use a more zoned approach, and in larger kitchens, the additions of extra appliances and elements can help to improve the flow even more.
Read more: How to create a broken-plan kitchen scheme
Separate social and functional spaces
Image: Blakes London
Another aspect of controlling flow in a kitchen is the presence of other people in the space - whether that be family or visitors to your home when entertaining.
As the kitchen becomes more and more of a social hub of the home, you can expect more of your family to be in the space at any given time, which may cause issues when it comes to people under your feet when trying to use the kitchen to cook.
There are simple ways to demarcate the working space and the social space - simple broken-plan techniques such as using an island or peninsula to contain the working side of the kitchen nearest the wall is a great way to separate the functions of your kitchen. Bar stools around the outer side of a kitchen island is a great way to mark this as the social space, and try to keep the core cooking elements on the other side.
If you know you’re most likely to use your wine fridge when entertaining, why not keep that out of the kitchen and on the social side? This will mean that you don’t have to be interrupted when cooking by any guests who need a drink top up.
Cater to your home’s needs
Image: Hahei house by Studio2 Architects. Photo: Simon Wilson, courtesy of Fisher & Paykel
The real joy of renovating a kitchen is that you can build a space that’s suited specifically to you and how you use a space. This is where working with a kitchen designer or spatial planner who knows how to get the best out of working with a client is key.
Factors such as the number of people in your family, the amount of time you actually spend cooking and what sort of food you like to cook can all play into the design of a kitchen.
“Your catering requirements will also influence what can be done: a large family may need extra ovens or fridges,” says Sofa Bundt Strandh, CEO of Sola Kitchens.
High capacity refrigerators, or even a second one in a utility room, a prep sink, a pot filler behind the hob - all of these can transform your flow through the space for you and your family, and help to deliver a smooth, pleasant experience of using the kitchen to cook.
Careful consideration should also be given to electrical sockets to ensure any worktop appliances can be used in the best space possible.
Does your kitchen not work efficiently for you? Let us know by tweeting us @granddesignsmag or post a comment on our Facebook page.