7 practical design tips for a highly functional kitchen

by Amy Biddle on Thursday 14th May 2015

Amy Biddle

When it comes to planning our new kitchen, many of us worry too much about the aesthetic, and not enough about the functionality. Regardless of the layout, there are some key practical things that should be a part of everyone’s plan.

1) The golden triangle

A three-point rule for the placement of the sink, fridge and cooking areas. This is a good rule of thumb and is simply about keeping the most-used areas of the kitchen in close enough proximity to each other. Also make sure your utensil drawers and pots & pans are stored next to the hob and oven.

​2) Space between worktops

Allow 1.1m of floorspace between your two worktops. This will allow room for you to open drawers and cupboards, as well as to stand in front of your dishwasher when it’s fully opened.

3) The crucial dishwasher location

Never install your dishwasher next to a wall. This will greatly limit your access to the dishwasher and make it very difficult to pack and unpack, as you will only be able to access it from one side.

Place the dishwasher within arm’s reach of the sink to avoid dripping water and grease onto the floor so when you rinse the excess food off plates, you can place them straight in the dishwasher.

Equally when you unload the dishwasher you don’t want to have to trot around the kitchen storing away your plates, mugs and glasses. By incorporating cabinetry close by you can simply unload and pack away in one easy move.

4) Breakfast bar overhang

If you’re planning to include a breakfast bar in your kitchen, incorporate an overhang. This will provide legroom for those sitting on the bar stools. Anywhere between 30-50cm overhang on the back side of the island or peninsula will ensure the sitters are comfortable.

​5) Bin location

Try to keep the bin within easy reach of the dishwasher, the food preparation area and the hob zone. lntegrating your bin into a base cupboard is a good idea for aesthetics - opt for a generous capacity on a soft close drawer runner. As for a compost bin, keep as close to your food preparation area as possible.

​6) Good lighting

Good lighting can make or break your kitchen design. Consider a combination of ceiling lights, under-cabinet lights and pendant lights. This will ensure you can illuminate each space correctly - mixing ambience with focused task lighting in the areas you work in. Think about dimmers over dining areas.

​7) Socket placement

The trend these days is to hide your appliances away in a cupboard and keep workspace clean and clutter free. Plan for electric sockets to be installed inside your cupboards, so your appliances can actually be plugged in. If you’re planning on having an island think about adding a hidden pop up socket in the middle perfect for laptops, mixers etc.

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