Designing a new kitchen is certainly no mean feat. There are a lot of questions to ask (of yourself and your designer), style, materials, finishes, and appliances choices to make, and perhaps most importantly, practicality and functionality requirements to consider. After all, when it is all said and done, a kitchen that looks amazing but is almost impossible to use effectively is a pretty big waste of time, effort and precious money. And nobody wants that.
If your style preferences change or you need to replace an appliance these can be done relatively easily. But if you get your kitchen layout wrong in the first instance, it is nowhere near as easy to remedy. So when planning your new kitchen be sure to dedicate significant thought to deciding on the best kitchen layout for your home and your family. Taking the time to get the layout right in the early stages of the process will ensure that you can get the absolute most out of your amazing new kitchen that everyone has worked so hard to create and deliver.
We have gathered together our professional advice on the important elements to consider, specifically what you should be mindful to avoid when planning your dream kitchen.
1. Don’t obstruct the flow between work zones
Once referred to as the “Kitchen Triangle” – being the sink, refrigerator, and stove – today’s thinking has evolved this concept a little and now often refers to “work zones” as opposed to only 3 specific stations. This shift is said to better match the way that we are now designing and using modern day kitchens, but the premise and reasoning behind it remain the same. In order to create an efficient kitchen, the movement between key work areas should be as clean and clear as possible. Not only does this allow for the main food preparer to get their meal ready with minimal effort, but also allows for others to assist and/or move freely around the kitchen without impeding the main activities.
2. Not enough countertop/bench space
Another factor that can really impact efficiency in the kitchen, and is almost impossible to remedy after the fact, is not having enough bench space. Almost every activity that you will do in the kitchen requires bench space. Not to mention the countless appliances that need to sit on the counter in order for you to use them, the permanent ones and the temporary ones too. So be sure maximise every possible opportunity for as much bench space as possible, whilst keeping in mind the above regarding flow between work zones. You don’t necessarily want to go overboard if you are lucky enough to have a generous space to work with, it’s more a matter of being aware and smart with the space that you do have.
Great ways to maximise the space that you do have is to install a kitchen island or breakfast bar and use under or over bench spaces for permanent appliances such as ovens and microwave ovens to keep that precious bench space free for other things.
I am not sure that I have ever heard anyone say “I have too much bench space in my kitchen.”
3. Not enough storage space
Just as every great kitchen should have plenty of bench space, it should also have ample amounts of storage for all the bits and pieces a kitchen needs to effectively prepare and serve delicious meals. Crockery, cutlery, glassware, cookware, appliances, and pantry items, just to name a few. Phew, even the list of the type of items is long, before we start breaking it down into individual items!
Without enough storage space your items will inevitably spill out onto your benches and eat up that precious space, and that is definitely not the outcome that anyone is looking for.
Tips for maximising storage space in any kitchen include installing overhead cabinetry wherever possible to make use of any available space, including over the fridge. Drawers are also a great way to make use of the storage space that you do have available. They can be used as part of the main cabinetry design or inside pantries for quick and easy access to your kitchen items. The pull out function of the drawer means that you don’t have to reach in and over and behind precariously stacked items like you might have to with impractically sized shelving. Everything is easily accessible and the use of space is maximised too. Win, win!
4. Kitchen island faux pas
Kitchen islands are definitely a great way to maximise storage and bench space in your kitchen. But that doesn’t mean they are always a great and fail-proof idea.
Kitchen island design needs to be carefully considered in respect to the other elements of the kitchen such as cabinetry design and size of the space. In some cases, bigger is not always better. If the kitchen island is too large or incorrectly positioned it can cause more problems than it solves by obstructing traffic and workflow.
On the other hand, a kitchen island that is too small may end up being a waste of precious space when in fact a breakfast bar or butcher’s block may have been a much more suitable solution in that particular situation.
5. Insufficient lighting
Good lighting can really make or break any space but it is particularly important in the kitchen. Kitchen lighting is spoken of as having, or needing, 3 different kinds of lighting in order to be most effective.
- General lighting – for lighting the whole room. The kitchen needs to be well lit for safety and functional purposes.
- Task lighting – focused on specific work areas to ensure that there is adequate lighting to safely operate and carry out the tasks in that area.
- Accent lighting – for creating atmosphere and ambiance and highlighting specific design features.
Consider beautiful pendants for accent pieces and under-cabinet lighting is perfect for ensuring workspaces are suitably lit. This is especially important when dealing with heat and sharp objects, which is commonplace in most kitchens.
6. Not too hip or fancy
Be mindful of rushing out to install the last and greatest in kitchen trends. Whilst it may very well look amazing in the showroom or the glossy magazine, you might find that the gloss quickly fades once it is installed in your home. That is not at all to say that you have to have a plain and boring kitchen, this is far from true. But consider the fact that a kitchen is a big investment and trend items will come and go relatively quickly, leaving you with another expensive project to update things again once the fad has had its day.
Opt instead for high quality but timeless designs that you can style with trendy appliances, soft furnishings and feature pieces and artwork that are much more cost effective and easy to replace as your tastes and trends changes.
7. Not using experienced professionals
There are so many things to consider when designing a new kitchen, you cannot possibly be expected to be a master of them all. This is where it is so important to work with proven and experienced kitchen professionals to give you the best chance of creating the kitchen that you want and deserve.
They will be able to guide you through all of the traps we have highlighted above and more, and work with you to combine what you want from your kitchen with what they know gives great results.
Harrington Kitchens have over 20 years of experience in delivering kitchens of the highest quality, every time. Contact the Harrington Kitchens team on 1300 662 112, submit an online enquiry or visit us at our Narellan or Bowral showrooms to discuss how we can create your dream kitchen that not only looks great but is functional and efficient too.