Kitchens can be beautiful places with brand new wood cabinets, countertops, and appliances. However, first and foremost, a kitchen must be a practical space. It is where you need to prepare and cook food for yourself, family and friends. Let’s look at how to ensure your kitchen renovations create a beautiful, yet practical, workspace.
Ideas for Building a Practical Kitchen
Create a work triangle – Cooking requires preparing ingredients, cooking them to create finished dishes and then cleaning up the mess. Three main areas of the kitchen get involved with each of these activities: the sink, the refrigerator, and the stove. The cook needs to be able to move between each of these areas efficiently. Kitchen designers recommend arranging these areas close together, often in a triangle shape for maximum efficiency.
Build activity centers – It makes practical sense group items related to one activity in a single area. For example, put the coffee, filters, and mugs near the coffee maker. Keep the chef knives, cutting boards, and spices near the food prep area. Have the sponges and dishwashing soap near the sink. These activity centers make kitchen work easy and organized.
Think about storage needs – Storage is a big necessity in a kitchen where you need to keep food, dishes, pots, pans, silverware, bakeware, cleaning supplies and small appliances confined to a single room. Another consideration with storage is how you plan to use the kitchen. Keep your pots and pans near the stove. Have glasses near the refrigerator for cold drinks. You need adequate storage for necessities at each activity center.
Ensure countertop space near appliances – You should have countertop space on at least one side of the sink, refrigerator and stove. This bit of flat space gives you a place to put things down while working in the kitchen. You can land cold items near the refrigerator after a grocery run. You can stage the ingredients next to the stove while cooking. You can stack dirty dishes next to the sink while you are prepping veggies.
Give yourself plenty of countertop space – Countertops do multiple jobs. They are where you chop vegetables, roll out dough, and let finished dishes rest before serving. They are also where small appliances live. When going through a kitchen renovation, make sure you end up with as much countertop space as possible so you have room to work while enjoying your new space.
Add lighting everywhere – A dimly lit kitchen is a dangerous one. Anyone entering the kitchen should be able to see what is on the floor clearly. Those doing food preps should be able to see the ingredients without eye strain. Even those doing dishes should be able to tell a sharp knife from a spatula. Add lighting everywhere you can in a kitchen. A central light fixture illuminates the floor. Pendants add stylish lighting on an island or peninsula. Undercabinet lighting makes food prep and cooking safer.
Ensure adequate ventilation – Cooking and baking create steam and, sometimes, smoke. Your new kitchen should have adequate ventilation to keep these airborne flows away from the rest of the house. Your stove should have a vent hood that pulls steam and smoke to the outside. The fan should be powerful, yet quiet.
Consider traffic flow – How are people going to enter and exit the kitchen? How are they going to move through space? Will visitors get in the way of the cook? Is the refrigerator convenient for both the cook and someone wanting to get a cold drink? The kitchen should offer clear traffic flow patterns without obstructions.
Add built-in garbage and recycling storage – Standalone trash and recycling cans are rather unsightly. If you are going through a kitchen renovation, be sure to build-in storage for those cans. Pull out or tilt out containers are a perfect choice. When not in use, they go back into hiding, lurking behind cabinet fronts that blend in from all angles.
These ideas will help make your beautiful new kitchen space as usable as it is visually appealing. One last tip, have professionals handle the electricity and plumbing. You want your new kitchen to function well for years to come.