KITCHEN ESSENTIALS YOU DONT WANT TO MISS!!

 

How to design a kitchen

   

 

Kitchen design
Practicality is essential to kitchen design, but doesn't need to come at the expense of beauty. Image by Caesarstone.

The kitchen is the single most expensive and complex area when you're designing, renovating or building a house. A broad range of kitchen appliances, cabinets and workspaces must be accommodated, each with its own need for space, stability, convenient electricity and function.

Balancing these needs appropriately is something of an art, but in the hands of a skilled kitchen designer just about any space can be turned into a fantastic kitchen.

 

What makes a 'good' kitchen?

A successful kitchen is one that fulfils both functional and aesthetic requirements. It will be laid out in a way that makes work as easy and effective as possible, will be designed in a way that  will be safe, and will be finished with appropriate materials on floors, walls and ceilings, on cabinets and benchtops.

A well designed kitchen, in simpler terms, is one that's both a pleasure to look at and to work in.

 

Kitchens as a social hub

No matter what the occasion, people always tend to gravitate quite naturally towards the kitchen like moths to an exposed lightbulb. Any successful kitchen must have adequate space for several people to congregate and be social. Compact kitchens are most successful when they open to an adjoining family (or casual living) room where family and friends can socialise without leaving the cook feeling isolated. Even the large traditional country kitchen had a relatively compact work area with a table and chairs nearby.

 

What is the kitchen work triangle?

The golden rule when it comes to the practical side of kitchen design is to design with the kitchen work triangle in mind. The most common kitchen activities are repetitive, and involve a great deal of movement between two or three of the most commonly used parts of the kitchen:

  • the stove
  • the sink and
  • the refrigerator.

Drawing a line between these three elements in any kitchen creates what's known as the traditional kitchen work triangle. In an ideal kitchen, you should be allowed to move completely unrestricted between these three parts of the kitchen.

 

How big should the kitchen triangle be?

The rule of thumb when it comes to measuring out the kitchen work triangle is that the sum of the lines in the triangle should measure at least 3.6 metres, but no greater than 8 metres. Each side of the triangle should be a minimum of 1.2 metres, but no longer than 2.7 metres.

As with anything, these rules are flexible and some designers may even take a different approach altogether from that of the kitchen work triangle.

 

Safe kitchen design

To be safe to work in, a kitchen must conform to basic design principles, as well as some simple building regulations. It must house all the required utensils and have sufficient work areas (including elbow room) to allow safe use of those utensils. Also, in order to meet the needs of different-sized households, certain minimum sizes must be met.

Ensuring that there aren't any obstructions in the kitchen work triangle is one of the main safety concerns. Other important design aspects include:

  • no opening windows near the stove
  • no curtains near the stove
  • install exhaust fans that discharge outside the building
  • have adequate natural light and ventilation
  • have safe knife storage
  • have bright task lighting wherever work is done
  • build in adequate bench space for your needs
  • build in adequate and accessible storage space
  • integrate appliances so that they're accessible in the work space
  • have sufficient power points (more is better)
  • position power points at a sufficient distance from water outlets and sinks

 

Borrowed landscapes and views, lines of sight

If possible, locate the kitchen so that children can be easily supervised in other areas - an open-plan kitchen will definitely help with this. Give some thought to the views you'll have through windows and doorways.

Consider putting a window in front of the sink area to make washing dishes a little more relaxing. If the view through the window is just a blank wall of the neighbour’s garage or a poorly maintained backyard, think about placing the preparation area so that it overlooks a casual living area instead.

If the kitchen opens directly to the outside, allow space for the storage of wet weather gear near the door.

 

Hire a design professional

The kitchen may only seem like a small corner of your house, but it's somewhere you're likely to spend quite a bit of time working, and in all likelihood it'll be filled to the brim with cutlery, crockery, ingredients, appliances and fittings. There's a lot to consider when designing a kitchen - and simple design flaws can easily turn an otherwise attractive kitchen into a source of frustration or worse - a safety hazard.

Hiring a professional kitchen designer may add to your costs, but it'll ensure you get a first rate kitchen and may save you the added expense of having to fix things further down the track.

* PUT A POWER POINT ON YOUR KITCHEN ISLAND BENCH, EITHER AT THE SIDE LIKE THIS OR EVEN UNDERNEATH-

IT MEANS YOU CAN OPERATE APPLIANCES AT THE ISLAND WITHOUT CORDS DRAPING EVERYWHERE!! EASY, SIMPLE BUT ESSENTIAL

FOR THE BEST OPERATION OF YOUR KITCHEN!

* CHOOSE LIGHT AND NEUTRAL COLOURS FOR THE BENCHTOP AND DOORS THAT WILL APPEAL TO OTHERS IF THE PLAN IS FOR RE-SALE IN THE FUTURE

* KEEP APPLIANCES SIMPLE AND INEXPENSIVE AS THEY MAY NOT BE AS ATTRACTIVE TO THE NEXT OWNER AND THEY MAY EVEN BE REPLACED!

* LIGHTING IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN KITCHENS- MAKE SURE YOU USED LED DOWNLIGHTS AND LED OVERHEAD LIGHTING TO MAXIMISE THE

ILLUMINATION IN YOUR KITCHEN AND BEWARE OF THE " SHADOW CASTING " EFFECT OF OVERHEAD LIGHTS- YOU MAY ALSO NEED TO USE LED LIGHTS UNDER THE OVERHEAD CABINETS TO ILLUMINATE THE BENCHTOP MORE EFFECTIVELY. TRY "STRIP" LED LIGHTING RECESSED INTO THE OVERHEADS. 

 

* IF YOU USE A DISHWASHER ALL THE TIME- A DRAINER MAY NOT BE SO NECESSARY IN A KITCHEN SINK REQUIREMENT. YOU MAY CHOOSE TO HAVE

UNDERMOUNTED STAINLESS STEEL SINKS OR A DOUBLE UNDERMOUNT SINK WITH A DRAINER BASKET INSERTED IN

TO ONE BOWL- YOU CAN DRAIN IN

ONE BOWL AND WASH UP IN THE OTHER? OR HAVE A FULLY 'MOULDED' CORIAN SINK WHICH MELDS IN WITH THE BENCHTOP AS ABOVE:

* PLACING AND POSITIONING APPLIANCE FOR EASE OF USE BY ALL PEOPLE IS IMPORTANT TOO!

The right positioning of appliances and will help to ensure that more than one person can use the kitchen at once - and that you don't need to do laps of the kitchen while you cook.

 

 

Appliance design is an art in itself, and these days austere designs for high-tech kitchen appliances mean they can be made to suit even to the most traditional of kitchen styles.

 

 

 

If you need help planning your kitchen we can do it for you, right down to the minute details of where to put your rice cooker or blender!

Getting the right amount of storage space, the optimum amount of shelving/clearance for appliances, pots, pans and utensils is a precise art especially when designing and planning as these measurements are paramount. We give a lot of attention to these details and to the layout of cabinetry and function of kitchen appliances vs. space. One of the most well used rooms of a house, the kitchen deserves the close up attention and consideration we can provide our clients. 

As a real life project we designed the following kitchen and authored the following elevations, you can view a larger image in PDF format by clicking on each individual elevation. Please be aware that some images may be around 2 megabyte which will take time to completely download.

Designing Your Best Kitchen

A great looking well organised, easy to clean and functional kitchen is a must - AND Essence Interiors knows all the product information and the correct planning steps to take to make sure the kitchen looks great and works even better for you. Check out our recent kitchen renovations in the photo gallery and for details on how we kept the cost down, see the Essence Interiors Tips for Renovating Page.