1. Eliminate wasted steps.
When designing a kitchen layout, think about what tasks you perform most frequently. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and energy by placing items needed to complete a task close together. For example, keep coffee mugs, coffee grounds, and all your java essentials near the coffee machine. Your groggy early-morning self will thank you. Similarly, keep wraps and plastic containers in one handy spot near a work surface for wrapping leftovers. Locate dishware and flatware near the dishwasher to ease the process of unloading.
2. Design wide walkways.
Ensure your kitchen floor plan includes enough room between cabinetry and the island to easily move through the space. As a general rule, paths throughout a kitchen should be at least 36 inches wide. Aisles within the cooking zone should be 42 inches wide for a one-cook kitchen and 48 inches wide for a two-cook configuration. When planning, adjust kitchen islands and peninsulas accordingly.
3. Direct traffic through the kitchen.
Traffic flow is a key consideration when designing a kitchen layout. You don’t want the cook bumping into people constantly coming and going. If traffic flows through the kitchen to another room, make sure the range or cooktop is not placed along that busy path.
A central kitchen island is a nice way to separate the working area of the kitchen from the social part of the kitchen. It keeps family and friends nearby to chat with the cook while deterring them from getting in the way.
Also, make the refrigerator accessible to both passersby and people working in cooking and cleanup areas.
4. Stay clear of corners.
Pay attention to corners when deciding where to place cabinetry and appliances. To make cabinet and appliance doors fully functional, plan space for the door’s clearance and swing direction in your kitchen design. Keep appliances away from corners, and make sure doors won’t bang into each other if open at the same time. If you have a tight corner to work around, consider opting for low-profile handles. Knobs, pulls, and appliance handles that stick out too far can also make it difficult to get neighboring corner cabinet doors open.
5. Find the right height for the microwave.
The correct height and location for a microwave oven will vary depending on the chef or the kid-friendly nature of the kitchen. For adults, 15 inches above the countertop level is a good microwave height. If kids will be using the appliance, a below-countertop setup might be safer and more suitable.
6. Determine the island’s function.
When it comes to kitchen isles, form follows function. Think about how you’d like to use the island within the space before you consider the design. If you want to cook and eat on the kitchen island, for example, plan enough space so the cooktop is safely separated from the dining area. The island can also house other elements such as a sink or dishwasher for added functionality.
7. Plan landing space near appliances.
Landing space around appliances provides a spot to quickly place items hot items coming out of the oven or microwave. It’s also helpful when prepping ingredients. When designing your kitchen layout, allow at least15 inches of countertop on each side of a cooktop and refrigerator. Landing space is also important near other small appliances, such as a coffee pot or toaster.
8. Consider the countertops.
Think through your needs for food preparation help guide your countertop choices. Chefs who like to cook require more counter space (ideally between the range and sink) than those who cook infrequently or who prepare simple meals. Additionally, incorporating two countertop heights can make baking easier and help kids who are involved in meal preparations.
9. Double up kitchen appliances.
If you have a large family or extensive cooking needs, consider doubling up on your most often-used appliances while kitchen planning. A second microwave oven and a mini-refrigerator or refrigerator drawer positioned at the edge of the kitchen work center, for example, can spread out the workload and keep snackers out of the cook’s way. Add a snack bar with stools for an after-school spot for the kids.
10. Arrange the range area.
Plan to store important cooking essentials in the space directly around the range. Place a shelf beside or behind the range to keep cooking oils, utensils, and spices handy. Plan your kitchen layout to include extra deep drawers for cookware near the range or under a cooktop. For a more open kitchen design, place S-hooks on the side of the range hood to hang frequently used pots and pans.
Related: This DIY Spice Organizer Is the Solution to Your Messy Kitchen Drawers
11. Install a pot-filler.
Tired of lugging water-filled pots from the sink to the cooktop? A swing-out tap, also called a pot-filler, installed near the cooktop fills pots near where you heat them. Alternatively, you can install an extra-long hose attachment on your main faucet to fill pots on the cooktop.
12. Be smart when storing knives.
Hang knives on a magnetic strip tacked to the backsplash. Place it above the stretch of countertop you typically use for prepping ingredients. This makes it easy to spot the right knife for a job and keeps dangerous items out of children’s reach.
13. Make recycling easy.
Plan spots for waste and recycling to make sorting as easy as possible. Equip a cabinet with separate containers for glass, plastic, and metal. A spare drawer could hold old newspapers and other papers to recycle.
14. Organize items within reach.
When organizing your pantry and other food storage areas, take stock of what you plan to store in the pantry and measure the height of storage canisters or frequently-used products. Then you can have pantry shelves installed at the right height and know everything will fit in the pantry. While in the kitchen planning phase, you will also want to decide if any small appliances will be housed in the pantry. If so, be sure to dedicate enough space for those items as well.
15. Add a message center.
Establish a message center in an easily viewable spot, such as next to the refrigerator. Put a bulletin board, chalkboard, or whiteboard on the wall to create a spot to jot down reminders or grocery lists. Store a calendar, notebook, and writing utensils in a nearby drawer or wall-mounted baskets.
16. Consider electrical outlets.
Ensure your kitchen includes plenty of electrical outlets in areas where you plan to use a coffee pot, toaster oven, blender, and other countertop appliances. Install multiple outlets along the backsplash and on the island so you’ll have electricity wherever you need it. For extra customization, consider outfitting a drawer with outlets and USB ports to create a hidden charging station for devices.
17. Cut kitchen cleaning time.
Careful design decisions make kitchen cleaning easier. For example, glass refrigerator shelves catch spills that wire shelves let through. Flush-set or undermount sinks don’t have a crumb-catching rim to worry about. Matte finishes don’t show dirt as much as glossy ones do.
18. Break up cabinetry blocks.
Kitchen walls completely covered in cabinetry can appear heavy and uninteresting. Break up long blocks of doors and drawers by adding interesting details such as glass doors and display shelving. You can also try placing wine storage or windows between cabinet areas.
19. Use light colours in a small kitchen.
Dark color schemes can shrink an already small space and make it less inviting. Use soft shades on kitchen cabinets to visually expand a small room. Outfit large windows with simple window treatments to ensure the space receives plenty of natural light.
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