In the past the kitchen was usually placed in a distant part of the home or even separated from the rest of the house due to the abundance of different smells being emanated from there. It was not a place for social meetings and the time spent there was to cook, not to mingle. The kitchens of today are very different from what they used to be – they are well furnished, filled with modern appliances and, for the most part, equipped with seating areas. They are not only built to serve as a place where meals are prepared, but for comfort also – many families use them for dining, a place where they can get together or invite friends over for a cup of tea or a meal.
If you are looking to modernize your kitchen and turn it into the heart of your home, here are a few helpful tips. First and foremost, you start by planning out your kitchen:
I. Deciding on your kitchen layout
Depending on the size of your kitchen there are several possible layouts that can be considered:
- When having almost no space to work with in your kitchen, the one-wall plan may be your only option. It is considered the most economical use of space by experts, and if you choose a good configuration for your appliances (i.e. sink in the middle, fridge on one side and cooktop/oven on the other) it can be also very comfortable and functional.
- For smallish kitchens (but no less than 2,5m x 2,5m) the design experts recommend the so called U shaped kitchen. This layout is quite useful as you will have functional storage and countertops on three sides of the kitchen. The goal here is to achieve the minimum recommended by experts workspace of 1,2 – 1,5 meters in the center of the room.
- Another option for small to mid sized kitchens is the L shaped floor plan. This uses space more efficiently, especially if you place the sink and the stove at the corner of the “L”. You should foresee a lot of counter space on the long wall so that your workstations have enough area for prep work.
- If your kitchen is large and you are looking for a way to maximize the use of space, adding an island could be the best way to boost your layout exponentially. The island layout usually creates a working triangle in your kitchen. One of the most important points in this layout is to make sure that in the work triangle you have formed with the island you have enough space. The perimeter of this area must be no less than 4-5 meters and no bigger than 8-9 meters, considered by experts the best dimensions for maximizing efficiency.
Once you have decided on your kitchen layout, you can develop the working zones in your kitchen. Because the three pillars of a kitchen are the refrigerator, the stove and the sink, the most classic approach to the working zones is the “working triangle” placing those three areas within 2 meters of each other. Although the classic “work triangle” approach is still the most common one, modern kitchens are more spacious and with a lot more appliances, giving way for the more flexible task-specific zones.
In part II of our series we will discuss what options exist for furnishing our modern kitchens with reliable and efficient kitchen appliances.