Simple Tips in Planning Your Kitchen Layout

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Whether we're cooking up meals, having coffee or just grabbing a snack, so much of our daily routine revolves around the kitchen.  So it’s no wonder why a lot of thought is put into the kitchen layout and amenities. Here are some simple tips on what to think about when planning your kitchen space.

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Review the kitchen triangle
The refrigerator, sink and stove make up what is known as the kitchen triangle. These high traffic areas require careful planning to allow for easy access. To complete each station make sure to include adequate counter space adjacent to each of them.

No matter the kitchen size or layout, the 3 key stations of the triangle should not be less than ten feet and greater than twenty-five feet from each other. If they are too close, it will be hard for multiple people to function in the space and if too large, cooking and food prep could be more difficult. In planning the refrigerator, dishwasher and oven, make sure to allow for plenty of room for doors to open unobstructed while also allowing you easy access.

Plan Countertop Work Spaces
One of the biggest complaints about kitchen designs is the lack of counter space. Review your kitchen triangle and consider all the kitchen activities that would take place adjacent to those key stations, as well as appliances that are permanently located there. You will want to plan on give a little more space to the sink & food prep areas. More horizontal space may be achieved by adding an island or breakfast bar to the kitchen.

Add Storage
Pots & pans, china, small appliances and not to mention all that food, kitchens need to hold a lot of items. Many of the items held in those cabinets can be oddly shaped and require a lot of space, such as food processors, blenders or stand mixers. Finding a spot for all your stuff while keeping it easily accessible can be a tough.

Most kitchens have wasted space, but that can be minimized with some adequate planning. If the kitchen is small, consider installing extra tall upper cabinets and always plan on placing cabinets over the refrigerator and stoves. Install shelves across the backs of the lower kitchen cabinets to increase the storage capacity of those areas.

Kitchen Island or Not
The extra storage and counter space that comes with a kitchen island can be appealing, but choosing the wrong island or placing it in the wrong spot can present a problem. Islands that obstruct the flow of traffic to your primary workstations will create bottlenecks and hassles. At minimum, an island should be 4 feet long and a little more than 2 feet deep, but it must also have room for people to move and work around it. Specialists recommend that unless the kitchen is at least 8 feet deep and more than 12 feet long, don’t install an island.

Review Lighting Needs
Good lighting is a must for kitchens. The types of lighting rooms use are set into three categories: general lighting for overall illumination, task lighting, and accent lighting. For the kitchen consider adding lighting directly above all the main working areas, use of cans or pendant lights are great ways to enhance the lighting for those areas. Pendants look great above kitchen sinks, while a series of mini-pendants can enhance the appearance and lighting of breakfast bars and islands. Consider installing under-cabinet lighting as a way to provide sufficient lighting for common kitchen tasks, as well as offering accent lighting to highlight design features you may have in the space, like a back splash.

Benefits of Back Splash
While budgeting or designing a new kitchen space, often the back splash is a last minute addition or never makes the list at all. A back splash can be a key design element to add that splash of color or give you a higher end look. But beyond their good looks, they can serve a useful purpose. For instance when it comes to steam, humidity and grease content in the kitchen, you will quickly come to appreciate having back splash behind the stove. It’s much easier to clean grease off a back splash made of tile or metal, than wall paint or wallpaper.

Don't Forget About Proper Ventilation
Most people do not consider ventilation in their kitchen planning. But when you walk into someone’s kitchen and can smell last night’s fish dinner, you quickly come to appreciate the need for proper kitchen ventilation.  Inexpensive range hoods simply circulate dirty, stale air, while a good ventilation system will help improve the quality of your indoor air and also helps keep your kitchen cleaner.

Find a Professional
Taking over a kitchen design project on your own can cost you not only in time and energy, but also costly errors. There are some jobs where, for safety and quality work, a professional is needed. Kitchen designers understand the latest trends, ideas, products and overall details to help you identify your specific needs and translate those into an efficient plan according to your taste.

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