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Kitchen Planning: Finding a Layout that Works

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 11 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Kitchen Renovation Kitchen Design Layout

Kitchen layout is all important, if you are doing a whole kitchen renovation, it's a chance to fix all the things that annoy you about the current kitchen design. However your kitchen planning will need to be accurate because it will be difficult and time-consuming to change the basic layout once it's in place. There are two fundamentals to the layout.

Two Fundamentals of Kitchen Planning

The first is the effect on the layout of things that you can't easily change, such as the placement of doors and windows, and access to utilities that govern the placements of sinks and appliances. Unless you are embarking on a complete renovation project, you are unlikely to want to spend the time and money on relocating gas pipes, hot and cold water and waste drainage.

The second fundamental of kitchen design is the 'work triangle': the relationship between the sink, fridge and cooker. When doing a kitchen renovation you should think hard about the way you use the kitchen and whether or not this relationship is a valid layout for your lifestyle. The work triangle has been the lynchpin of kitchen planning for decades, but in fact these days it might be more appropriate for it to be between the freezer, microwave and dishwasher. So work out what you use most and make sure there is a close relationship between them all.

In the layouts that these two fundamentals of kitchen design dictate, you then need to fit enough storage for all your food, cutlery, pots and pans and other kitchen gadgets, as well as allowing for enough worktop space to chop, prepare and serve food. It's no wonder that there is a lot of work for kitchen planners these days.

Kitchen Renovation is a Chance to Make Big Changes

If the new kitchen that you're planning is part of a bigger project like a renovation and you have a chance to move doors and windows, grab it while you can. If you're just renovating the kitchen on its own, look at reversing the way doors open or removing them completely, if you can, if it means you can get a more coherent layout.

Kitchen Design for Storage and Worktops

Once you've got the fundamentals of kitchen planning in place, decide where storage can go. Kitchen design is more flexible today, with modern fitted kitchens having many different height and width options for cabinets and shelves. See if you can get more use out of the room by going up, with high wall cupboards or floor to ceiling larder units.

Before you embark on your kitchen renovation take a look at the light and imagine where you'll be working when you're in the room, and try and place worktops where there is the most natural light. If not, try and design the kitchen so that you can add downlighting, perhaps by lights recessed into wall cupboards above the worktop area.

Island Dreams in Your Kitchen Layout

One kitchen renovation option that might help both the storage and worktop situations is to incorporate an island unit into the kitchen design. This can give kitchen planners a large worktop area and plenty of storage beneath, with drawers as well as cupboards. However, it is only really an option for those with enough space in their kitchen, unless there's a kitchen extension being constructed as part of a wider house renovation.

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