You probably spend a lot of time in your kitchen. It’s more than just a space for cooking—it’s where you live. So you want it to look good. The following ideas will help you plan out a kitchen that’s as beautiful as it is efficient, so you enjoy being in it as much as you enjoy doing any actual food prep.
1. Get Efficient
Take a look around and mentally divide the kitchen into an eating space, a storage space, and a clean-up area. Locate your storage space near where you eat, so it’s easy to access plates, cups, etc. and just as easy to put them away. Similarly, consider your main work space and set up a place nearby where you keep Tupperware, aluminum foil, etc., so it’s convenient to reach for. Finally, place any clean-up supplies near the dishwasher. Sometimes putting plates and cutlery right by the dishwasher is also convenient.
2. Keep Space in Mind
When you’re carrying a hot skillet, the last thing you want is to have to squeeze through a narrow space that then risks you slopping sizzling food all over you—and all over your floor. To avoid this, make sure you leave about 36 to 48-inches of space for you to walk back and forth, adjusting dimensions according to how many cooks are usually in the kitchen. Any additions to your kitchen installation, such as islands, need to be planned accordingly.
Organize your kitchen so the stove is set away from the main aisle through which children may be running. You don’t want them to bang themselves on any handles or to be able to reach any dangerous implements. On the other hand, you do want the fridge to be accessible to hungry kids of a certain age, so bear that in mind when you choose its spot in your kitchen. It’s helpful to put the fridge relatively near where you’re working, so taking food out and putting it away is easy.
If you have kids that are an age where they can help out, give them a designated shelf and drawer, positioned at their height, where they can get to dishes and snacks.
5. Height Matters
When figuring out where to best place a microwave, again consider how childproof the room needs to be, as well as how tall any adults are who will be in the kitchen. Typically, a height of about 15 inches above a counter is efficient. However, to avoid having kids standing on their toes and/or spilling hot food as they take it out of a microwave, you may want to consider a microwave built into an under-the-counter (or on the counter) space.
6. Consider Counter Space
A good rule of thumb when considering a new kitchen installation is to plan for 15 inches on either side of a fridge and a stove. That gives you ample prep space. Also build some extra space into the area around your microwave.
7. Measure Corners
The last thing you want is to install a door and then have it not be able to fully open. So measure any doors (including doors for cabinets) to ensure they are plumb and lined and have plenty of space. Similarly, measure to make sure doors can be opened simultaneously without colliding with each other. Also avoid positioning appliances in corners, which can make clean-up tricky.
Again, measure where you want the island will be, and assess it according to what else will be close by. Some people eat at islands, so if that’s the case, you’ll want to plan to have the stove set further back, for safety’s sake.
Make sure you install enough electric outlets in the kitchen that you can plug anything in with ease. Islands are a good place for multiple plugs.
10. Consider Countertops
Think about whether you do a lot of elaborate cooking or just use the kitchen for the basics. If you do cook a lot, you’ll need more counter space, probably near the stove and sink, where you’ll be doing most of the prep work.
Another thing to consider is whether or not you have kids. If you do, putting in both a high and a low counter top gives kids a designated space to help out.
11. Two is Better Than One
If you’ve got a lot of people coming in out of the kitchen, it might be helpful to put both a second microwave and a fridge (maybe a smaller-sized one) somewhere in the kitchen where people can access them without getting in the way of whoever is cooking. Adding stools to an island, or incorporating a bar into the kitchen design, is a good way to designate a place for kids to do their homework, eat their after-school snacks, etc. It’s also a good place for any guests to gather.
12. Shelves and Hooks
When you’re cooking, you’re probably always reaching for utensils, spices, etc. Having a shelf within arm’s reach, stocked with all the necessary items, along with some hooks where you can hang pans, makes life easy.
13. Faucet Pull-out Spray Hose
Instead of filling a heavy pot with water and then precariously carrying it all the way to the stove, possibly spilling water every which way, install a pull-out spray hose. That way you can fill the pot directly on the stove.
14. Pick a Spot for Knives
Especially if you have kids, you want a specific spot for sharp knives. But even if there are no kids around, it’s a good idea, for safety’s sake, to have a designated drawer that has specific slots to lock knives in place and sheath their blades.
15. Eco-friendly—and Efficient
Organize one space that’s divided into removable containers for metal, glass, and plastic. You might also consider a space for paper.
16. Establish a “Control Center”
Every kitchen needs a spot for grocery lists, reminders of upcoming events, etc. Pick one place where there will be a whiteboard, a calendar, and a drawer with pens, Post-it Notes, etc., which you can use to keep track of things.
17. Make Clean-up a Breeze
Think about clean-up as you’re designing your kitchen. For instance, what surfaces will minimize dirt and finger smudges? How much space have you allowed to be able to thoroughly sweep up messes? Also consider the inside of appliances such as fridges, where wire shelves can send a spill that a glass shelf would easily have contained pouring all over the rest of the fridge.
18. Visual Appeal
You don’t just want efficiency in your kitchen—you also want beauty. You’ll be in this room a lot, so you want it took like nice. As such, consider how you lay out your cabinets. Is the layout aesthetically appealing? You can add details to doors and shelving or consider a variety of different presentations for kitchen windows and storage areas. If your kitchen is small, dark wallpaper or paint will only make it smaller. Conversely, light shades and allowing for lots of light can help make a small room seem much larger.
19. Pick a Spot to Focus On
While you want your kitchen to look great, you don’t want to go overboard and provide so much to look at that things feel cluttered. So choose one thing to emphasize, such as a nice floor, beautiful cabinetry, or a gleaming new stove set in pride of place. Then use smaller details to complement that one key installation.
20. Hire an Experienced Kitchen Assembly and Installation Professional
Why not make things easy for yourself and hire someone who knows exactly how to make your kitchen both efficient and beautiful? Kitchen assembly and installer professionals are trained to follow all these tips, and more. These experts will be able to work with you to make your kitchen dreams come true and ensure it provides many years of peak performance for you and your family.