Keys To A Great Kitchen Design
When thinking about remodeling your kitchen, there are a number of things that need to be taken into account. Among them are traffic flow, the 'work triangle', storage, eating space, and the included appliances. Let's look at a few of these concerns, beyond the cosmetic.
Kitchens are usually high traffic areas. They often are connected to the garage, back door, or stairs. Of course, this is usually by design. A door to the garage or near the driveway can make for a shorter trip carrying groceries. If you have a back deck, this door often leads to an area where you grill or entertain family. Easy access to the kitchen can make life much easier in both cases. However, this direct access to the outside can cause the kitchen to be the place where people drop papers on the closest available flat surface, take off their shoes and coats, etc. For this reason, including a mud room is a popular option. The mud room can be the place things are set down out of the flow of foot traffic, while also providing a buffer between cold winter air and the rest of the house when people go in and out.
The Work Triangle
The work triangle refers to the space covered between the stove, sink, and refrigerator. Most of the work in the kitchen takes place with a person traveling repeatedly between these three places. A good rule of thumb is that the three legs of this work triangle add up to 12-26 feet. If this area is too small, it will feel cramped, and impossible for more than one person to work in the kitchen at a time. If it's too big, the extra steps will wear you out before you even get to start eating! It's also worth noting that the work triangle and the main traffic flow should not occupy the same space. The last thing you want is to turn around with a hot pan and run into someone else passing through on their way to the garage. For this reason, the work triangle is ideally contained within a U-shaped area, but it can also be accomplished in an I-shape, with two of the appliances along one wall, and the other on a second wall. I tight quarters, the three can be arranged along one wall, similar to the kitchen on a ship. For this reason, this type of set up is known as a "Galley kitchen". In the work triangle, the refrigerator should be in the most accessible point of the work triangle as people often need to be able to come in and grab a drink then leave without disrupting the person cooking. The stove should be in the most remote part of the triangle.
Kitchens are chock full of places to store things... food, glassware, dishes, pots and pans, gadgets and more. While having enough storage is a large concern, where you locate the various cabinets is equally important. Pots and pans you use frequently should be kept between the sink and stove, or from a hanging rack. Silverware drawers should be near the dishwasher, but out of the work triangle. This is so that one person can set the table while another person cooks. Cooking utensils such as knives and spatulas should be within easy reach of the stove top, sink, and counters you use when preparing meals. Often a pantry is implemented to store dry goods such as cereal, pasta, and rice. As a pantry is essentially a closet lined with shelves, this can be implemented pretty easily and inexpensively.
Often a kitchen will have an area to sit and eat, even when the home includes a formal dining room. There are a couple ways to accomplish this, one being a dining table, and the other being a counter with stools. If you choose to put a table in your dining room, make sure it has enough space around it. A rectangular table for 4-6 people should be 2 1/2 by 5 1/2 feet. You'll also need to account for 3 feet around each side to leave room for the chairs. If you plan to have a sitting area at an island, plan to have 12 inches of overhang to accommodate the chairs and your knees.
Layout Of Appliances
At a minimum, every kitchen has a stove, refrigerator, and a sink. Lay these out according to the work triangle parameters earlier in this article, with a few considerations. First, ensure that there is room for the refrigerator door to swing open freely, without interference from counters or cabinets. Plan to have at least 18 inches of counter next to it to hold foods on their way in or out of the fridge. The sink is traditionally placed under a window, ideally facing southeast to allow for maximum use of natural light. Make sure you include ample counter space (at least 24-36 inches) on both sides, as this is where you'll most likely stack dishes and prepare food. The stove should ideally be located on an exterior wall to ease installation of a venting system. Allow 21-30 inches clearance over the stove. The dishwasher should be located right next to the sink, as you'll often be placing dishes directly from the sink into the dishwasher. For this reason, right handed people will normally want the dishwasher to the right of the sink, and lefties will want the opposite.
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