Designing the Perfect Kitchen Layout
What is the perfect kitchen? While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, we can all agree that the perfect kitchen is one that is a joy to work in. Everything is well-spaced, you can always reach into the cabinet you need, and the floorspace flows effortlessly - even when the fridge is open. Building a new home or remodeling your kitchen, choosing the right kitchen layout can make your cooking and family time a much more enjoyable experience. The question is how to design it. Where should you put your oven, sink, and spice rack for the easiest and most enjoyable flow of cooking? How much space do you need around the island, and how can you avoid annoying kitchen pitfalls you've seen in the past? How can your kitchen be both breathtakingly beautiful and a joy to cook in?
Today, we're here to lay out the design approach for your perfect kitchen layout.
The perfect kitchen starts with the golden triangle. This defines the ideal distance ratio for the three most important points in your kitchen: The sink, the stove, and the refrigerator. Here are the rules of the perfect kitchen golden triangle:
The golden triangle is drawn between these three points, defining the distance you need to walk or reach between your fridge, sink, and stove. Each leg of the triangle should be between 4 feet and 9 feet long. This gives you plenty of maneuvering and countertop space for each station, but also keeps you from walking miles across your kitchen between these essential points. Be sure to avoid interrupting your triangle with furniture or cabinets, which will add realistic distance between your key points. Build a golden triangle and your kitchen will be easier to cook in and help you achieve a visual balance in your aesthetic design.
The next thing to ask yourself is how to customize the kitchen to your own personal style. The perfect kitchen layout for you might not be perfect for someone else. Not only are you adapting to your own kitchen's floorplan, you should also consider the experience you create for yourself with the kitchen design. For example, would you prefer an entertainer kitchen with bar seating for your family audience or would you get your alone-time in the kitchen?
Would you rather plenty of counterspace to spread out, or do you need a big sink to effectively clean & soak as you go? Or your family may need more floorspace around the island because you are a high-energy, high-traffic crew of people. These elements should influence designing an ideal kitchen layout for your ideal kitchen experience.
It's worth a quick note that any walkway in your kitchen should be at least 36 inches (3 ft) wide. If you regularly have multiple cooks in the kitchen, 4-foot walking spaces are much more comfortable while 5-foot walking spaces make a kitchen feel enormous and can challenge your golden triangle.
Now let's talk counter space. Some of us need a lot of counter space to spread out, but you might be dreaming of the perfect compact kitchen with just a few key feet of counter space to be used strategically with each step of a recipe. How much counter space do you need, and how much can you fit into your current kitchen floorplan? When you account for the sink, stove, fridge, and island, consider where you can place stretches of countertop and how much you need to feel comfortable when cooking.
Another important question is whether you will install an island at all. Not all kitchens are island-friendly. U-shaped kitchens and parallel kitchens often don't have an island, especially if you don't have a very large kitchen floorspace to work with. If you do have the space, decide whether you'd rather an island or to keep that floor empty for a kitchen table, foot traffic, or household activities.
Where will your spice rack go? This is one of the most important overlooked details of kitchen design. Your spices are items you cook with every day, for most of your recipes. You need that rack at-hand and not hidden behind an inconvenient cabinet door or an unpleasant reach from your stove. There are a few clever ways to put your spice rack right where you need it most. You can have a slide-out spice rack in the lower cabinets or mount the rack above your stove backsplash instead. You can design the perfect by-the-stove cabinet just for spices and utensils or, if you're tall, stash all your spices in upper cabinet that hides your stove hood vent. All of these are great options, but your own cooking habits are the most important element of choosing where to place your spices.
Always give your oven plenty of "transition space". This is the room you'll need to stand by the open oven door and maneuver pans in and out of the oven. We've all worked with a too-cramped kitchen where elbow burns were a daily hazard. Make sure your island, dishwasher, and cabinetry don't crowd your oven space. If you are mounting an oven into the wall, don't forget the importance of oven height. If you are not a tall person, mount your oven a little lower. You'll thank yourself later.
As experienced kitchen installers, we've heard a lot about cabinet door design. The single worst thing you can do to a kitchen (other than ignore the golden triangle) is to have cabinet doors that open the wrong way. Let's say you're standing by the sink. The cabinets nearest the sink should open toward the sink while those nearest the stove should open toward the stove. Why? So you never have a cabinet door opening into your face when you just want to put away the plates or to reach the turmeric - speaking of intelligent spice rack design.
Finally, let's talk island design. If you're adding an island to your kitchen, you can put pretty much anything you want into it. You can install another sink or a small bar sink. You can mount your stovetop in the island instead of the wall-side countertops for a more entertainer kitchen design. You can add hidden compartments (we've even seen hidden basement stairs). The kitchen island is your opportunity to enhance the ergonomics (art of efficiency) of your kitchen beyond what the wall-lined design can do for you. You can complete your triangle, give yourself more counterspace, and define a better flow of traffic when your island perfectly reflects your kitchen design.
Every kitchen is different, from floorplans to the golden triangle ratio. The path to the perfect kitchen layout for your home and cooking style lies behind a little experimentation and expert advice. Take some time with kitchen floorplan apps experimenting with how your kitchen might look if you place the stove there or the island like-so. Change the arrangement, measure the walking spaces, and consult with experienced kitchen designers until you find the perfect layout for you.
For more kitchen design insights or to find the farmhouse sink to perfectly complete your kitchen design, contact us today!