The Golden Rules of Kitchen Design
Every week we design a number of new kitchens, each of which is totally different and unique depending on the customer’s needs, however as kitchen designers there are a few ‘golden rules’ we follow to help make layouts work effectively.
When we work with customers to design kitchens in Oxfordshire, each has their own set of priorities and outcomes they’d like to achieve, whether that be creating a very minimalist feel, or maximising floor space in smaller rooms. However the one thing every one has in common is the desire to have a kitchen which works on a very practical level; there is room to get to all the appliances easily; cooking is convenient and easy; and materials will be durable and hygienic. Often we don’t even know that we want these things, and they certainly aren’t always expressly communicated by the customer – they are the unwritten rules of things we want and expect from our new fitted kitchen.
So what are the golden rules of kitchen design? For us at Kitchenroom there are five key principles we have at the heart of every kitchen we plan.
RULE 1: The Magic Triangle
One of the things you may hear kitchen designers refer to is the ‘Magic Triangle’. This may sound mysterious, but it in fact refers to the idea that your cooker, sink and fridge should be placed in a rough triangular layout, making them all relatively near each other and easily accessible when using the kitchen. The idea behind this principle is that these elements should be close enough together that they are within easy reach when cooking, but they should also be far enough apart that there is space to move if two people are preparing food at once. There is nothing more annoying than bumping into each other when you’re trying to cook!
This ‘rule’ is in place for very practical reasons, and although these three elements are traditionally the ones to consider, the same logic should be applied when thinking about other kitchen appliances such as the dishwasher. For us the dishwasher should always be close to the kitchen sink too, as these two items are often naturally used in tandem. Having to walk a few feet from your sink to your dishwasher is the kind of thing which may not seem like a big deal on paper, but is bound to drive you crazy when you’re living with it day-to-day.
RULE 2: Make it sociable
If you’ve ever hosted, or even been to a house or dinner party, you will know that the kitchen is always the place where people congregate. Whether you have a large open plan kitchen, or a compact galley space, people flock there as it is quite simply the heart of the home. When you’ve just installed your brand new fitted kitchen, you’ll be delighted to show it off to your guests with pride, but what you really don’t want is a feeling of congestion as people try to make drinks and socialise whilst you’re trying to cook. It’s with this in mind that we introduce our second golden rule of kitchen design – make it sociable.
We talk a lot about creating zones when it comes to kitchen design, and this includes zones which lend themselves well to socialising. Depending on the size of your kitchen that can be an island or breakfast bar, or simply a section of workspace which is in a separate area to the previously mentioned ‘Magic Triangle’. This can either be a place for people to gather and chat, or somewhere to make drinks which won’t interfere with the cooking/food preparation zone. These concepts may seem simple, but thinking about these principles at the design stage of purchasing a new kitchen can help you to enjoy socialising at home so much more for years to come.
RULE 3: Think about every door and how you'll use them
When we send you our kitchen design plans you will receive a few different images for your consideration. The ones customers get most excited to see are understandably the realistic CGI drawings of what your new kitchen will look like. These give an indication as to what the finished look will be, which is a thrilling moment for most people. You will also receive a detailed plan of the kitchen which shows all the important details such as the geometry of the cupboard and appliance doors. This typically includes the swing of the fridge/freezer door, and the open positions of things such as the washing machine, dishwasher and pull-out bins. It isn’t uncommon for some of these things to overlap slightly, which as long as the appliances in question aren’t usually used at the same time, is not a problem. You wouldn’t however want your oven and dishwasher to interfere with each other.
We use a similar principle when introducing islands or breakfast bars into our kitchen designs. Ideally there should be at least 1 metre clearance all the way around any peninsula to ensure it is easy to navigate without feeling cramped or hemmed in. This also allows for all cupboard and appliance doors to open fully, which is a very important consideration when placing an island.
RULE 4: Make cleaning up easy
No one much wants to think about doing the dishes after a meal, but poor kitchen design can make this already arduous task feel like even harder work. The sink, rubbish bin and dishwasher are the three kitchen elements used when tidying up after a meal and ideally should all be near each other in a linear order. Typically most households clear their plates into the bin first, then rinse them off, then load them into the dishwasher. As such, these three things should be arranged in this sequence in an ideal world. Of course this isn’t always possible to do, so care needs to be taken when considering the best available options to make clean up time as simple as possible.
We tend to find that if one of these elements needs to be placed at more of a distance it is the bin which causes the least disruption. Many customers also prefer to have their kitchen bins tucked away, perhaps in a utility room where any potentially unpleasant smells are removed from the immediate kitchen space.
RULE 5: Make dealing with the food shop a piece of cake
Doing the weekly food shop is another one of our not-so-favourite tasks, and with many home delivery services now doing away with plastic bags, it’s important to make the putting away of your weekly groceries as easy as possible. Many designers often overlook this particular design consideration but placing your fridge-freezer and food/larder cupboards near each other is a no-brainer when it comes to easy unloading. It’s also a great idea to have some worktop space nearby too so everything can be taken care of in one area.
If you are lucky enough to have space for a built in larder or pantry cupboard, this is one of the areas which we would recommend giving particular thought to, as the internal layout and structure of this area can massively influence just how useful a space it proves to be. We are very much in favour of wire-work storage systems in larder cupboards as these help to organise food well, making cooking a more enjoyable experience, but we’d encourage our customers to think about what purpose they want this space to serve for them, and we can help to plan it accordingly.
RULE 6: Every kitchen is unique
Our final rule is to remember that every kitchen is unique, every customer’s needs are different, and every space has it quirks, all of which mean a need to be flexible with the other five golden rules! As with most things in life, kitchen design almost always requires a degree of compromise which means it is not possible to be completely rigid if a customer requirement and a ‘golden rule’ don’t quite mesh perfectly. We’ll always work with our customers to find the best solution and create a kitchen they’ll be happy living and socialising in for many years to come.
Why not get in touch today to book your FREE home design visit? We cover the Oxfordshire and Berkshire areas, including, but not limited to Didcot, Abingdon, Radley, Oxford City, Wantage, Wallingford, Benson, Berinsfield, Goring, Pangbourne.
With Kitchenroom you can always be assured of:
1. First class personal service from start to finish
2. 18 mm Rigid (assembled) wall and base units with doors already fitted
3. 10 cabinet colour options (so not just white / ivory or oak) to match the colour of the kitchen
4. 2 mm ABS edged cabinets
5. Soft close Blum doors & drawers that come with a lifetime guarantee
6. 25 year guarantee on our units / 10 years on Solid wood kitchens / 7 years on MDF kitchens
7. A typical lead time of 3-4 weeks
8. We can supply only or supply and arrange to fit your new kitchen where we will take care of the whole project from start to finish
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