I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I really enjoy cooking, baking and trying new recipes. When I look at houses for sale (because sometimes I just like to do that, don’t judge) the kitchen is always a focal point for me. The most amazing house can take a quick downturn if the kitchen is outdated, too small, or poorly laid out.
You can easily paint cabinets, replace counters and add a nice tile backsplash. But if your kitchen isn’t laid out well it isn’t going to feel right. The usability is greatly diminished and it makes working in there very difficult. You can even grow to dislike being in the kitchen at all if it is hard to work in.
So what makes a well laid out kitchen? Much of it has to do with the relationship of key parts to each other. The three main components you will use in the kitchen are the stove/oven, sink, and refrigerator. These three parts are often used in conjunction. You will make many transitions between these places and you want those transitions to be smooth.
Because there are three main parts of your kitchen used so frequently, and traveled between, this layout is referred to as the triangle or golden triangle (emphasizing the importance). Ideally you don’t want these very far from each other or at awkward angles from each other, to best facilitate flow in your food prep and cooking. For kitchens with separate cooktops (stoves) and ovens, it is more that the cooktop sits well within the triangle than the oven.
After the flow of the workspace, another important factor in a well laid out kitchen is storage space. You will need to house dishes, utensils, cookware, small and medium kitchen appliances, and non-refrigerated food items. Well designed and easily accessible storage makes a huge difference in your kitchen’s usability. Deep cabinets under the corner of a counter may seem like great, ample storage. But if you need frequent access to the items in that space it can be difficult to dig back to it and haul it out. These types of spaces can be better utilized by adding a Lazy Susan or pull out shelves. There are amazing spinning, sliding, lifting and organizing aspects that can now be added to kitchen cabinetry.
In my current kitchen the cabinets above the counter don’t go to the ceiling. They are at least 12 inches from the ceiling. This is, of course, a fabulous place to keep…dust. It is definitely one of my least favorite things about my kitchen. It feels like wasted space. I have some random decorative objects up there that sit and collect dust (that I don’t care to climb up to clean off). I also keep my electric griddle there because it’s big and I don’t use it often. Cabinets that reach the ceiling can still have areas that are harder to reach (particularly for those of us who aren’t overly tall) but you can place less-used items up there (hello, electric griddle) and you don’t have the dust issue.
Beyond what the counter is made of (I’m told granite sucks the cold out of chilled and rolled cookie dough like you wouldn’t believe), the amount and layout of counter space is important. When I am working in the kitchen I often have a bunch of pots, pans, utensils, food items, cutting boards…a LOT of stuff spread around. The kitchen in my first house had wonderfully designed cabinetry (save the corner void I mentioned earlier) but very little counter space. I now have an island in my kitchen that I usually have access to half of (thanks to it being a popular drop point for everything in my home). The island is across from my sink. For me it isn’t the best location but it’s workable. Having a good span of counter space next to your sink can make work flow more easily. You would be surprised how much you use the sink when cooking and prepping food.
A well laid out kitchen can make all the difference in how well it works for you and how much you enjoy being in there. It can also prevent accidents and injuries. When you take into account these basic aspects and consider your personal cooking style you can have an amazing kitchen that is a joy to work in.
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