A kitchen can often be updated by simply changing cabinet doors and hardware. Learn how to modify the layout to fit new appliances and additional storage.
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Planning a kitchen is a fairly complex task because of the many different factors that need to be considered. It is also an area in which strict budgeting is necessary since much of the cost of a kitchen is not only in the cabinets, but also in the time and cost of installation. This will also depend on how much you wish to tackle yourself.
Decide what appliances you are going to have in the kitchen. Most food preparation in the kitchen is related to the stove, the sink and the refrigerator. Generally, a triangular layout of the three essentials is considered ideal — access is straightforward, and there is room for preparation or storage beside each area.
It is best not to put your refrigerator next to your stove, since the refrigerator will have to work harder because of the warm air around it when the stove is on.
If you want an island in your design, it is best if it does not block your route between sink, refrigerator and stove. An electrical supply for an island can run under the floor, especially if you are installing a new floor anyway. Many people utilize the additional counter space of an island to contain the stove.
Think about what you would like to store in the kitchen and how you use your kitchen. Pantries and cabinets that extend to the ceiling are great ways to increase the amount of storage in a kitchen. Manufacturers of kitchen cabinets also offer a range of great storage options from lazy susans to integrated garbage cans.
Countertops are essential for both food preparation and to accommodate electrical appliances such as toasters, blenders, coffeemakers and freestanding microwaves.
Countertops can also provide an eating space, in the form of a breakfast bar, for example. The underside can be left open, or peninsula cabinets can be installed underneath. In the latter, a wide section of countertop provides a large overhang.
In smaller kitchens, the size and shape of the room will often dictate the layout. In larger rooms there are more options to consider. Typical kitchen layouts are galley, L-shaped, or U-shaped, and may include islands, breakfast bars, and dining areas. Most kitchens are a variation on one of these examples. Typical layouts are shown below with “work triangles” indicating the possible positioning of appliances.
An L-shaped layout has cabinets along all or part of two adjoining walls. In a larger kitchen this may allow room for a dining area in the kitchen. This layout provides ample storage space and floor space and is therefore ideal for a busy family life.
In an U-shaped layout, cabinets cover three walls, and in a larger room one length of the U may be used as a breakfast bar. In a small kitchen, this layout provides maximum storage and appliance capacity, but standing room is limited. It is best to keep the refrigerator close to the door.
A galley layout uses straight runs of cabinets on opposing walls in a narrow kitchen. As in the U-shaped layout above, floor space may be limited, but wall space is used to its maximum potential.
An island layout tends to be used either in large kitchens or as a design feature in smaller ones. When appliances are installed in an island, the "work triangle" theory doesn’t apply. Routing utilities may be tricky with this layout design.