Today, the size of an average American kitchen has grown to 2,466 square feet. The extra space has gone to everything from extra storage space to multiple workstations and/or islands in a kitchen layout. With all the options available out there, it is increasingly more crucial to be aware of your needs and your limitations.
Designing the Basic Shape of the Kitchen
A kitchen design is very subjective. What works for your neighbor might not work for you. Based on the frequency of cooking meals, the number of members in your family, the general purpose of the kitchen (whether it needs to be guest-ready or not) are but a few factors you need to keep in mind.
A basic kitchen design should include three main work points: the stove, the refrigerator, and the sink; arranged in a work triangle across the kitchen. If you plan to incorporate a kitchen island, it is best to opt for a linear arrangement. Whether you choose to have an island or not will greatly influence the design of your kitchen.
Pros and Cons of a Kitchen Island
With the advent of kitchen islands as a near-universal design element, it is imperative to question its utility. Instead of following a set pattern, you need to ask yourself if you really need an island
It is fair to admit that the presence of a well-crafted kitchen island does impart a certain class and grandiosity to the kitchen. Apart from the cosmetic aspects, an island can also be perfect for housing a second sink. It can be used as a prep station and can also be utilized to entertain guests over a glass of wine and some snacks
However, a kitchen island might also feel out of place if your kitchen doesn’t have ample space. And to stand out of the pack, you might want to consider a traditional dining table instead.
Types of Kitchen Layouts
The most common kitchen layouts out there include:
One Wall/Pullman Kitchen
Ideal for studios and small families, this setup has all the appliances and cabinetry on one wall. As it is a little low on storage space, you are better off steering clear of this one if you have a family.
Open Plan Kitchen
Perfect for families, an open-plan kitchen gives you the illusion of extra space. It works even better when your dining space is right next to it, thus making sure you can cook and interact with your family at the same time. One of the only drawbacks of this plan is that it requires plenty of space. Discretion on your part is, therefore, a must.
L Shaped Kitchen
Ideal for maximizing efficiency when it comes to space utilization, an L-shaped kitchen is perfect for medium families who do not have a lot of space. The shape of the setup makes it easier to access everything. You can theoretically add a kitchen island to the setup; however, if you do have enough space for an island, we would suggest going for a different and better layout altogether.
Set up along three walls, this plan is best for kitchens with multiple cooks and ample space. The appliances and cooking stations can be placed on the three walls with the most used space in the center to the seldom-used appliances at the corner.
Galley kitchens are basically converted corridors, ideal for families with a single cook. As the countertops are placed parallel to one another, one can cut corners by skipping the corner cabinetry. If you require a lot of storage space, however, it is best to opt for another kitchen layout.
If the idea of a hybrid kitchen + living room turns you off, G-shaped kitchens are perfect for you. Instead of getting an island, you can add a worktop in the form of a fourth wall. Thus providing you extra space, a seemingly faux-open concept, a space to sit around; while simultaneously providing ample privacy and autonomy over the space.
A popular layout preferred in open plan homes is the island in the middle of a kitchen. This space can be made functional by incorporating a cooktop, sink, and a work-cum-dining space on one side.
A major requirement here is the size of your kitchen. The room should have enough space to accommodate the island as well as regulate the traffic flow. To draw attention to this space, you may get a little creative with task lighting by installing overhanging pendants or other decorative lighting.
The peninsula is a smaller and cheaper version of an island that juts out of a cabinetry or a wall. When you don’t have enough room in your kitchen but need an extra space for food preparation or dining purposes, a peninsula can be a savior. This works perfectly with an enclosed kitchen, where you can remove a wall to open up the space without compromising on storage space.
Mistakes to Avoid
There’s no doubt that you’d create a design based on your preferences, but sometimes creativity can come in the way of functionality. Homeowners often end up putting in a lot of heart into designs but fail to notice dysfunctions. With a little forethought and a discussion with your contractor, you can avoid such calamities.
Here are a few mistakes that you can avoid to make your kitchen a lively, welcoming space.
- When you design an island, make sure that it doesn’t block your navigation around the kitchen. For instance, don’t place the refrigerator on one end while you install the sink on the opposite end. This might feel inconvenient and interrupt your flow of cooking.
- Avoid installing tall units in the middle of your cabinetry as it can block your view while also interrupting counter space flow. It is ideal to not have high counters so that the space can look more open and feel airy.
- Never have narrow aisles between the kitchen cabinetry and the island. This not only increases traffic flow but also makes it uncomfortable to move around. At times of rush, it might also lead to accidents that you can easily prevent by opening up the circulating space in your kitchen.
- Although people are starting to be creative and moving to the cooktop-over-the-island concept, it is more viable to have your stove or oven next to an exterior wall. This makes it easier to install a proper ventilation system, and it also saves a lot of money that might otherwise go into creating a separate ventilation outlet.
- When your hang your lighting, make sure they aren’t hung too low to obstruct you in your work. This especially applies to pendants. Placing a few feet above your head will not only dissipate the light evenly but also create a warm effect.
Choosing a kitchen layout is a highly subjective decision. It is important to make sure that your choices are based on your necessities rather than impractical longings. We recommend consulting a designer to find the layout that works best for you and not the one that just looks good.