The decision to redesign your kitchen or envision your dream kitchen from scratch can bring about a wishlist as long as your arm. There are so many types of kitchen layouts to consider! A walk-in pantry, a range cooker, a breakfast bar, open shelving perhaps – the possibilities are endless.
As there is so much to consider with kitchen layouts, with worktop space, appliances, dining space, ensuring you have enough storage space etc., it’s important to plan around making the most of the room’s size and shape.
Narrowing down these factors and understanding the kitchen work triangle takes some time, patience and expertise, so it’s best to carefully consider what you want and need and then find a designer to relay it to. Here, our kitchen renovation experts explain everything you need to know about kitchen layouts and how to best plan your kitchen redesign.
The kitchen work triangle is a term used to conceptualize efficient kitchen layouts that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Use of a home kitchen trends primarily center around three main functional items – the fridge, the sink and the cook top. It is these three points that create what experts call the ‘kitchen work triangle.’ The idea is that positioning these three elements just the right distance from each other will result in cutting out wasted steps and create a kitchen layout that is particularly easy and efficient to use.
When applying the kitchen work triangle rule, the following considerations are advised:
No one length of the triangle (invisible lines between the points) should exceed 2.7m or be less than 1.2m
Cabinetry or other obstacles should not obstruct any sides of the triangle by more than 30cm
The sum of all three triangle sides should be between 4m and 7.9m
Ideally, there should be no major through traffic interrupting the triangle
Full-height obstacles, such as high cabinetry, should not intrude between any two triangle points
This theory is used the world over by top architects and kitchen designers, so it is well worth some serious consideration as to how you could incorporate these ideals into your new design.
However, there are so many other factors to take into consideration, too!
Factors to consider with kitchen layouts
Where are the doors and windows placed?
What direction does the light come from and at what time of the day?
Where do the power mains and water supply come in?
What appliances do you need and where can they be most efficiently positioned?
How much food preparation space do you need?
If it’s an open-plan area, how much of the space do you plan on designating to the kitchen?
Do you plan to incorporate seating as part of the design?
Are you going for a streamlined, minimalist look or do you like things to be on display?
When you engage a kitchen designer, they will ask you all of these questions and more, so it’s better to be prepared and decide in advance what you want, to make the consultation more productive.
Then, a designer can use their knowledge and expertise to suggest what kitchen designs and layouts may best suit your needs and preferences. It may be necessary for you to compromise a little too – for example, whilst you may desperately want an island bench, depending upon the space, it may end up being a hindrance to the overall functionality of your new kitchen. It’s worth considering all options with an open mind!
Here are some of the many different kitchen layouts to consider.
An island really brings your kitchen into the centre of the space. This can be an important design choice when filling large spaces. An island is a very popular choice.
An island is usually combined with wall units and, depending upon the size of the area, can also be incorporated with other kitchen layouts.
Best suited for – Larger kitchens and bigger spaces, so that there is plenty of room to walk around the island. It is also a popular choice for entertainers.
Pros – Islands can solve many design conundrums, and can form the primary preparation surface, or be used as the washing up station, cooking area or an assortment depending on their size. By adding stools or chairs, they can also double up as a breakfast bar and socialising area, as well as being a great way to divide zones of an open space.
Cons – Large islands can prove awkward to manoeuvre around, so walkways need to ideally be at least 1m wide and food storage, preparation and cooking areas should all be in easy reach.
Galley kitchens are a particularly ergonomic choice of design, in that everything you need is in close reach.
A single galley layout consists of a single run of kitchen units, complete with worktop and all appliances set along a single wall. The name comes from the compact kitchens commonly found on ships.
Best suited for – Narrow areas or rooms with limited space. For an open-plan living area, a galley kitchen running along one wall can be a practical way of adding a kitchen to the space.
Pros – Provided there is sufficient space for a fridge, sink and cooker, as well as enough room for some work surface and storage, this can be an efficient use of space with everything in close reach.
Cons – When working in such a limited space, every detail must be carefully considered to ensure that the kitchen is still comfortable to use. Sliding cupboard doors and a dishwasher drawer may work better with any clearance issues. If space permits, this design can be coupled with an island or dining table to create more work and/or serving space.
This simple choice can also be a very practical one. A double galley, sometimes called a ‘galley kitchen’, is commonly found in Victorian homes, where the kitchen often leads to the outdoors or a bathroom at one end. It consists of two runs of units built parallel to each other on opposite walls.
Best suited for – Perfect for making good use of a space that is longer than it is wide.
Pros – This design makes efficient use of a narrow space. It creates more storage and prep surfaces than that of a single galley, as cabinetry and worktops are built along both walls, effectively doubling up the kitchen functionality. It also allows for designs that separate the different kitchen functions between the sides, such as washing on one side and prep and cooking on the other.
Cons – Double galley kitchens need at least 120cm between the sides to allow for ease of movement between them. Outward opening doors and drawers can create obstructions. Pocket doors or sliding doors can be a good solution to prevent them from sticking out into the limited space.
An L-shaped kitchen layout can be a very functional choice, with sink and cooking areas at right angles to each other. When working with a large, open-plan area, adding an island to this layout can help to further define this space.
Best suited for – Compact kitchen designs, these are often used in larger rooms when combining the kitchen with a dining space or island bench.
Pros – Efficient and streamlined, everything is in easy reach. This layout is also perfect for couples or family members who like to cook together or at the same time, provided there is sufficient surface space and the sink and cooking areas are placed on different sides.
Cons – The corner point of the L-shape can be a bit of a pinch point and a waste of storage space. Pull-outs for base units in the corner can make it easier to access the contents. With larger spaces, the addition of an island or dining area can really bring this layout into the centre of the room.
With kitchens becoming larger and open-plan living spaces so popular, there are less U-shaped kitchens than there once was, but it can still be a useful option, especially with a kitchen renovation that is limited to its original space. The layout comprises units across three walls, or a U-shape built out into one room space.
Best suited for – Compact spaces, but can also be a great choice for larger rooms as a way of dividing space and bringing furniture into the centre.
Pros – Because this design wraps around three sides, it works very well to define different zones within the kitchen, as well as within an open-plan space. This can be useful if you want to separate children and/or guests from the cooking space. It can also allow for a generous amount of storage and work surfaces.
Cons – This design creates two corners, so even more important to find novel ways to make use of the storage space otherwise lost in these two pinch points. Also, in a small space, this layout can create a sense of feeling closed in, so consider using open shelving instead of wall units all the way around.
There are so many options to choose from when it comes to designing your dream kitchen, but it’s so important to work cleverly with the space you have. Taking the time to design an efficient use of space as well as a functional kitchen that is a joy to be in is worth every minute!
If you are thinking of renovating your kitchen but not sure where to start, let us help you! Here at Houseace, we walk you through every step, carefully create a detailed plan and ensure that you understand every aspect of your costs with razor-sharp accuracy. Get a no-obligation kitchen renovation quote for your kitchen project today!
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