Kitchen Design 101
A Quick Guide to Understanding Basic Kitchen Design
1. The Kitchen Triangle
Every kitchen should be based around a balanced flow. In order to create this, you should aim to create a triangle between the three most important aspects of a kitchen; the sink, the refrigerator, and the stove. The sink usually sees the most action in the kitchen, for cooking and for cleaning. You should always try to center your sink under a window. There also needs to be easy access from the sink to the stove and the refrigerator. The sum of this triangle should be no less that 10′ and no more than 25′, for a balanced flow. You should always leave 42″-48″ by the range for sufficient cooking space. By following this flow, your kitchen design will be functional and comfortable.
2. Cabinet Functionality
The most important role that a kitchen design has is how to balance functionality with beauty. Important things to keep in mind are awkwardly shaped kitchen cooking ware or the placement of your kitchen accessories. Consider how much storage space you need and include as much smart storage as possible. Adding things like trash and recycling storage help control odors, while also getting rid of the trash bin eyesore. Try your best to maintain wide walkways for direct traffic, particularly in active family households. Potential designs include placing the microwave in a cabinet if possible, or find a good height for the microwave to look like it is part of the design.
3. All Things Islands
Kitchen islands are ideally around 8′ deep and 12′ long, the minimum being 4′ long and 2′ deep. This encourages the maximum amount of usable counter space, which is something every kitchen needs. Something to consider when designing the island is adding seating in a bar style. This will allow for clients to make the most of the heart of their home, and make the kitchen a social area. Islands can also be built with wrap around cabinets to create even more storage space, a sink, or even have a pull out microwave.
4. Other Factors
As a designer, it is your job to make sure that your clients’ kitchen will be a long-lasting and enjoyable environment. Encourage your client to look into a backsplash, as that increases their kitchens lifetime. Good ventilation is also crucial to the lifespan of a kitchen as kitchens have many odors in and out. This can be done with vents and windows which allow access to some fresh air. This is a good way to keep the environment clean and happy.
5. Color Theory
Color is a good way to change a space as it sets the tone to how one wants to feel. Lighter colors tend to make areas look larger, while darker colors do the opposite. In a small kitchen, encourage your clients to use lighter colors to give it a bigger feeling. Using natural wood colors and darker colors can add a sense of grounding to a larger kitchen. Knowing when to add a pop of color to a neutral kitchen can add a focal point that clients will love. However, listen to your clients and try to pinpoint their style. Cabinets are a good base to build off of. Using a timeless cabinet and showing your client how to accessorize to their style will give them personalization in their home while also protecting the home value should they try to sell their home at some point.
Kitchen Basic Layouts
There are five primary kitchen layouts. You will see all of these in your time as a designer. Each layout has its pros and cons and it is your job to ensure that your design is the best fit for the layout of your clients’ kitchen.
The U-Shaped Kitchen
The U-Shaped kitchen is the most functional of all the layouts. It has the most counter space, and works for both large and small kitchens. If the kitchen is a larger U-shaped kitchen, consider adding an island or peninsula for more counter space.
The L-Shaped Kitchen
The L-shaped kitchen is what is commonly seen in open concept homes. The drawback of an L-shaped kitchen is a limited counter space. To counter that, add an island for more storage, counter space, and to break the eye up.
The Galley Kitchen
Galley kitchens are more commonly seen in smaller kitchens. They tend to be very symmetrical, so adding some asymmetry can break it up and make it feel a little less clinical. If it is a big galley kitchen, add a long island to add extra storage. Encourage your clients to invest in their lighting in a galley kitchen as it is more closed off that other styles. Adding lighting and light cabinets can make the galley kitchen feel less claustrophobic and more open.
The One Wall Kitchen
A one wall kitchen is the least functional of all the layouts, therefore the design is of the most important level. Make sure to put the sink between the stove and the refrigerator to allow for a version of your kitchen triangle. Add an island or a table to the space to have added prep space. Because there will be a limited amount of storage, adding wall storage is a must.
The G-Shaped Kitchen
A G-Shaped Kitchen must be no less than 10’x10′. In order to create the G-shape, there must be an entrance of at least 36″ on one wall. You can design a G-shaped kitchen by adding a peninsula. If that is the case, the peninsula should be at least 4′ long. Put your kitchen triangle on the opposite side of the entrance, and try to use 45 degree angles between your appliances.