The old saying “Too many cooks spoil the broth” certainly doesn’t apply in the 21st century kitchen anymore; For it has evolved into a multi-cook room with designated spaces for all stages of making a dish. No longer do grandmas sit at the dining tables, chopping the ingredients for their special recipe; now the chopping is done at the kitchen island and the dining table is only an extra.
In fact, kitchens have become much larger and time has become much more limited. In your house too, it’s likely that you and your husband/wife take up different parts of the whole cooking affair; with one partner doing the grunt work at the worktop, and the other chopping the ingredients at the island. With the birth of collaborative cooking in modern times, chances are that your kitchen has evolved into more than just a place to cook as well –yes, we are talking about family time and entertaining guests over some wine during the holidays.
So what does this all mean for your kitchen remodel? Let’s find out.
Putting the Layout Planning in Perspective
Today, the size of an average American kitchen has grown to 2,466 square feet. Maybe even your kitchen is of similar size, if not bigger. Even though it’s ideal to have a lot of ornamental elements, you need to ask yourself: Is having multiple walls of cabinetry the most efficient use for that space? Is having a large kitchen in what may be a small house really necessary? Is a kitchen island required if you already have enough worktop space?
While nobody is denying that having features like the kitchen island in your kitchen is ideal, the truth is that most kitchens do not actually make the clearance for it. You need to ensure that opting for lavish-sounding features doesn’t mean compromising on the actual necessities of your family. Your kitchen layout needs to be planned in a way that it meets your family’s needs without stepping on the work-flow around the space.
How to Design the Perfect Kitchen Layout
The answer to the question depends on the size of your kitchen, the number of members in the family and the vision you have in mind. Just as much, it may also depend on how much worktop space is required by your family. If you don’t cook as much, then maybe having a compact kitchen is more suitable for you as that space can be used for some other purpose. To help you make the decision based on your individual requirements, we have listed down the most popular kitchen layouts along with how you can make the best out of those for your kitchen.
But first, make sure to plan the shape of your kitchen.
Designing the Basic Shape of the Kitchen
A basic kitchen design should be centered around the 3 main work points: the stove, the refrigerator, and the sink. Traditionally, they were arranged in a work triangle across the kitchen. With the introduction of kitchen islands since the 1980s, the arrangement has been taking a new shape — a linear arrangement is being preferred for the work points and the entire appliance section is being placed on the kitchen island itself. Simply put, the shape of the kitchen depends largely on whether you choose to have a kitchen island or not.
Should You Add a Kitchen Island to Your Kitchen?
Let’s face it: Most people go for kitchen islands because they add a spotlight to the kitchen. You can also choose to place your appliances on it and equip it with a second sink or wine cooler. It can be an extraordinary addition to your kitchen if you require additional countertop space or need to turn your current one-wall kitchen into an L-shaped, U-shaped or a Galley Style kitchen. After all, what is better than a kitchen island to have casual drinks with friends along with some snacks?
While there is no doubt that an island adds a sense of grandeur to the space, the question is: Is it always necessary?
With almost all 21st century American kitchens having a kitchen island, the idea can even be a little monolithic sometimes. In fact, reviving the old dining table for more intimate meals can be an excellent option if you don’t have a lot of guests over. You probably don’t have a requirement for all the extra storage space either. Unless you have two people cooking together at most times, the idea of a second sink can be ruled out too. Ultimately, the decision to include the kitchen island in your kitchen is yours — but it’s always better to know both downsides and upsides before making an informed decision.
Also Read: ACCESSORIZING YOUR BACKSPLASH
Choosing the Most Functional Layout for the Kitchen
- One Wall or the Pullman Kitchen: Ideal for studio apartments or small houses, this layout is best for saving space. If it’s just you and the missus, it can be a great choice as all your appliances can go along with cabinetry on one wall. We don’t recommend this for families with children as the storage space might not be enough.
- Open Plan Kitchen: An open plan kitchen looks grand because it gives the illusion of a larger space. It is best enjoyed when you have a dining table adjacent to the area. This allows you to talk to kids or guests from the kitchen without having to abandon your cooking. This way, this space can become the family hub to spend time together. It can also be a great way to have a “parent-child moment” as you could involve children in cooking too. From homework to fostering discipline — a strategically placed kitchen diner can make a lot of things happen with ease. The only downside to the arrangement is that it requires a considerable amount of space.
- L Shaped Kitchen: Best suited to make use of a small area most efficiently, an L-shaped kitchen is preferred by those who do not necessarily require a lot of countertop space. For that reason, it works best in medium-sized kitchens which have less traffic. As the arrangement of the sink, refrigerator and stove is in the shape of letter “L”, it allows for quick reach to all appliances from the worktop. You can also choose to have multiple work zones with this layout if the countertop space is low. A kitchen island does the trick here. However, if you have a large kitchen or multiple cooks, other layouts might be more suited to deal with it.
- Horseshoe or U-Shaped Kitchen: A U-Shaped kitchen features three walls — all occupying appliances or cabinetry. Some homeowners strategically place their appliances from most used (at the forefront of the U) to least used (endpoint of the U) — allowing for easy access even when you enter the kitchen. A modern alternative to 3 walls of cabinetry can be to include a kitchen island as the third wall. That way, the workflow can be centered around the island and appropriate clearance can be achieved. For those reasons, this layout works best for large kitchens involving multiple cooks.
- Galley Kitchen: The kitchen-version of “Value Packed”, this layout makes the best use of a compact kitchen area. Also known as a Corridor kitchen layout, this layout is named so because a lot of designers convert a large corridor into a small kitchen area. This design is ideal for small families with one cook, or those looking to extend the living room space. As the countertops are placed parallel to one another, you can also cut corners by skipping the notorious corner cabinetry. The only downside to this layout is that it is unsuitable for those that require a lot of storage space.
- G Shaped Kitchen: G Shaped kitchens are popular among those who do not fancy the idea of living rooms and kitchens being one. Simply put, by adding a bit of extra worktop in the form of the fourth wall, one can demarcate the kitchen from other areas. Parents can also enjoy the added advantage of watching over the kids as one can see over the small countertop. If you fancy a kitchen island but want to cut down on costs, you can also use the small countertop as an alternative as stools can be placed near it.
As the choice of the kitchen layout depends entirely on personal preferences, size of the kitchen and also the way it is designed, there is no clear answer as to which kitchen layout is the most functional. Although your heart may be set on one, it is best to consult a designer to see if the layout is feasible for your space before you make the drop the ball.
We wish you happy remodeling!
Also Read: Remodeling Your Kitchen in 2021