8 Practical Design Questions for a Working Kitchen

January 02, 2020

8 Practical Design Questions for a Working Kitchen

Your kitchen is the main room of your home. 

Think about how much time you will spend in your kitchen, what activities take place, where everyone spends their time, how often you have meals at home.

Yet most people don’t seriously think about the fact that the kitchen is a working room. A lot of things happen in the kitchen. A lot of things come together.

8 Practical Design Questions for a kitchen


So before you begin your kitchen renovation think about these 8 key questions to make sure the layout of your new kitchen will suit the way you and your family will use it. 

1: The Work Triangle

The “Work Triangle” - the triangle made by the stove, the sink and the refrigerator - should be compact enough that it allows convenient and effective circulation for the chef, but generous enough that two people working in the kitchen aren’t bumping into one another.

This triangular path shouldn’t exceed 6 meters for your comfort and speed during the cooking or cleaning processes. As you can understand why the triangle shape is chosen for these triplets, the main point is that you shouldn’t put these elements as a line next to each other. 

If you have a U shaped kitchen, you can have cooking places on your one side and refrigerator on your other side while the sink is staying in front of you. 

If you have a corridor kind of kitchen, you can have a cooking place and refrigerator on the same line, while having the sink on the other side, in front of them. 

In L shaped kitchens, you can have a sink and fridge on the same line while the stove is staying on the other leg.


2: Social and Functional

The kitchen is the heart of the home, a space people naturally gravitate to. 

With this in mind, gathering and entertaining areas in the kitchen should be independent of the Work Triangle so that guests can nibble on appetisers, enjoy a drink, and watch the chef without getting in the way of the cooking.

No matter the home everyone will gravitate to the kitchen when someone is cooking so make sure you allow for this. 

Couple cooking in kitchen

3: Think About Every Door and How You’ll Use Them

Your kitchen drawings or plans should include the geometry of appliance doors. 

This typically includes the swing of the refrigerator door(s), the oven and dishwasher in their open positions, and any other key operations like pull-out rubbish bins. 

While these operations will most likely overlap in some areas, it’s important to control which ones overlap. For instance, the oven door and dishwasher door can have overlapping operations as the two are typically in use at different times.


4: Smooth Clean-Up After a Meal

The sink, rubbish bin and dishwasher have an important linear relationship. 

The design of a kitchen should take the sequence of meal clean-up into consideration. 

Most households clear, rinse and place dishes into the dishwasher in that order. 

Subsequently, the kitchen design should locate the bin, sink and dishwasher in a linear order with the bin closest to the eating area.


Cutting vegetables in a kitchen

5: Easy Unpacking of Groceries

Kitchen ergonomics should address more than just cooking. 

How you enter your home and unload groceries is an important, and often overlooked, design consideration. 

Locating the refrigerator and pantry near the entry of the kitchen (and preferably near some countertop) makes a kitchen work much more smoothly in general.


6: Kitchen Flooring

The decision about the flooring of the kitchen is not an easy deal as it seems.

 A kitchen is a place you must clean in each step, even if you are careful. 

While you are selecting materials for the flooring of the kitchen, you must pay attention to pick up the ones that are easier to care for. 

You wouldn’t like to choose to live with the one easily damaged. Eventually changing the kitchen flooring is a quiet bit of job. 

Therefore flooring material you choose must be fairly resistant to the possible external damages. 

Don’t fall in the trap of those beautiful glossy tiles! It is easy to slip there. If you are a fan of kitchen rugs, be sure that they are stable with stickers on the floor, not moving easily.

Kitchen flooring

7: Kitchen Colour Scheme

Even if dark colours become more popular in recent years and seems cool, it is better not to choose them as a background of your kitchen. 

Dark colours tend to decrease the size of your kitchen on visual perception. In this case, choosing dark colours as accessories in your bright kitchen will be more effective. 

This way you can highlight your accessories or special items such as coffee machines and have a nice accent. 

For the big, bright and clean looking kitchen, we suggest you to take the neutral colours as a base for the décor and textiles.

8: Plan Your Lighting

Poor kitchen lighting can quickly decrease the enjoyment of your new kitchen.

Bright lighting is essential. 

Think of a central light for general use but then think about task lighting. This is lighting where you will be doing most of your work ie cooking and preparing meals.

Don’t just rely upon the lights from your appliances to be the source of lighting for your cooking. 

Think of having lights at particular points for the areas where you will be preparing foods. Lighting o underneath your cupboards is a great way to light up your benchtop and preparation areas. 


Planning your kitchen lighting


The kitchen is a very important room in any home. It is the workhorse of any home. 

Before you start to plan your new kitchen think about all the activities that will take place in your kitchen and use these 8 questions to help guide your thinking and planning

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