Editors Note: This is a guest post written by Innovative Kitchens.
How to approach the layout of your kitchen
The concept of the kitchen working triangle has been around a long time and can still be used when thinking about layout. The concept is easiest when thinking about one person in the kitchen doing all the walking and work. Essentially it conceptualises the flow between storage, preparation and cooking = fridge/pantry - sink – stove.
Blum, the suppliers of kitchen hardware, have an interesting concept called Dynamic Space. More about this on their website http://www.dynamicspace.com/dynamicspace/en/02/02/index.html
In this concept, Blum consider efficiency in the kitchen. In principle if the kitchen is consolidated into five zones, where the elements of each zone are clustered together, then the user will walk the least distance over the lifetime of the kitchen. So it will be good to keep consumable storage (food) i.e. pantry and fridge together. Cleaning elements clustered would mean sink, bins and dishwasher together. Cooking would mean oven, hob and microwave together.
The kitchen is all about food. If you follow the food trail, the kitchen layout will often become clear. Of course there are always difficult kitchen spaces where some innovative thinking may be needed. Add to this approach – the kitchen space will have some obvious constraints. Fridges, pantries and oven towers need a solid wall. Stoves and hobs normally go against a wall so that a splashback can be installed behind. And most folk like the sink in front of the window. These ‘norms’ already limit the layout to a few concepts.
Follow the food through 5 easy steps.
This is the simple process I follow (after taking into account the obvious constraints)
Step 1 Food Storage
You go shopping and land with the shopping bags somewhere convenient like an open bench top. Pack away the food groceries into fridge and pantry – if these are nearby and together, great. Sometimes a walk in pantry may not be immediately next to the fridge. Embrace compromise as part of the design process. A trade off here often results in a great result somewhere else.
Step 2 Food Preparation
Back to fridge and pantry. Now you need some bench space to work on. You need bowls, knives, chopping boards – and it would be great to have water and bins nearby.
Step 3 Food Cooking
Great if oven, hob and microwave are all close by. We often compromise here. We like oven and microwave in a tower (tall unit) – so that we can achieve drawers under the hob. This is a great place to have utensils, pots and pans, right there. And since we go to oven less often than the hob – we don’t mind if the oven tower is separated from the hob.
Step 4 Serving (and eating – the best part)
Need bench top space again. Plates, cutlery and crockery – near to dining side if possible.
Step 5 Cleaning
Last step is cleaning. Scrape off, rinse off and into dishwasher – so it is important to cluster bins, sink and dishwasher. We try to keep the dishwasher out of the working area as much as possible – generally to the outside of the working area. Watch out for the position of the open dishwasher door – how this will work to load and unload.
That’s our thought process on the layout. Remember perfection is probably an illusion. There may be several different ways to lay out a kitchen in the available space. The goal is to achieve a good layout. One that works within the natural constraints and where the work flows easily and naturally through the 5 steps of the food trail. Compromise is a part of the process and should be embraced. Often one element will be compromised to achieve a good result in another part of the layout. Take your time and enjoy the process. Don’t be shy to ask for professional advice. That’s what experts are there for.
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All images courtesy of Innovative Kitchens