Your kitchen is the heart of the home. Even if you’re not an avid cook, the kitchen is the space that most people like to entertain in and enjoy spending time with family. The aesthetics are important, but the function of how your kitchen works is even more important. The way your kitchen is laid out will make the difference in how quickly and efficiently you use the kitchen. A poor layout can result in retracing your steps and spending more time in the kitchen can be a turn off to enjoying cooking. Look at these tips on how to layout an efficient kitchen floor plan.
Laying out the work triangle: In every kitchen there are 3 main components that make up the ‘work triangle’. The refrigerator – where food is stored, the sink – where food is washed, and the stove/oven – where the food is cooked, makes up an efficient work triangle. Draw your kitchen as a floor plan and see how your three areas layout. Ideally you would like to go to the refrigerator, to the sink and to the stove in one easy path. If you have to retrace your steps, or walk around obstacles to get to any of the three, your layout is inefficient.
Layout work surfaces: A work surface, or countertop area should ideally be located between each of the work triangle areas. Therefore, between the refrigerator and sink, and between the sink and stove/oven, a countertop area is ideal. In smaller kitchens, a work area in each space may not be possible due to space. The more working areas you can provide yourself, the better. Consider using multifunctional work areas if space is an issue. For example a raised countertop adjacent to a dining area, can serve as a seated bar for eating as well as a preparation work surface for cooking
Kitchen islands: In large kitchens a kitchen island can cut down on excessive travel to each part of the work triangle. Consider placing one or more of the work triangle functions at the island. Having a sink in the island will prevent you from walking from the refrigerator to another remote area constantly. Kitchen islands for a small kitchen can be on casters or wheels for temporary use. An island can be used for storage below, and also serve as an additional work surface. Consider using a movable kitchen island for convenience and roll out of the way when more people need to fit in the kitchen.
- Shape of your kitchen: Here are the pros and cons of each type of kitchen:
- U Shape: PROS: This plan offers three sides or walls for the work triangle to be efficient. The cook can maximize their time in the kitchen and won’t get distracted by traffic walking through the kitchen. CONS: Multiple people working in the kitchen at one time may be difficult.
- L Shape: PROS: This plan allows for more space saving because two of the work triangle functions are on the same wall. This plan is also easier to entertain from, since it is open up to the adjacent room on one side. CONS: Ample counter space room should be given in the crook of the L for maximum usage. If not, the kitchen will work less efficiently due to less room to prepare and cook the food.
- Galley Shape: PROS: In this plan the walls are parallel with all of the work triangle functions. It is very efficient due to less area to travel and is ideal for space saving. CONS: This plan isn’t ideal for a lot of people in the kitchen because the traffic area is also the cook preparation area. This plan can also be difficult to entertain from, unless one wall is open to an adjacent room with a seating bar for example.
The way your kitchen is laid out will make a difference in how you enjoy and use the space. If you find your current kitchen isn’t efficient, try to layout another option, it may not be difficult to alter your existing plan. If you are in the process of moving, think of these tips when looking at kitchens. Your kitchen is the heart of your home and your family, make it work the best for you!
Freshome readers, what layout kitchen works best for you? Is your kitchen large or small? Tell us what you love, or hate about your existing space.