Want to make your kitchen as practical as it can be? Start by figuring out two key design elements: avoiding wasted space and a layout that keeps the traffic flowing.
How to Avoid Wasted Space in the Kitchen
One of the best ways to improve your kitchen’s functionality is by finding and eliminating wasted spaces. Reorganizing these “dead spots” will save you time-consuming steps and maximize your kitchen’s efficiency.
- Space between fixed cabinet shelves: add risers to create levels. Whether they’re fixed shelving or pull-out units, they’ll help you fit the most “stuff” in the smallest amount of space.
- Space above the upper cabinets: if your cabinets don’t reach the ceiling or you don’t have a soffit, use this area to display items that would normally be hidden in a cabinet. Beautiful serving pieces can often double as works of art. Or use it as a gallery for photos of your favorite travel spots.
- Space below the upper cabinets: keep everything you use for prepping meals close at hand by installing spice racks that match the wood tone and design of your cabinets and adding a magnetic knife rack. Or, use it to hang stemware. The trick is to avoid a cluttered look.
- Space at back of lower cabinets: install roll-out drawers that mount to the cabinet and fill them with the most frequently used items. Use the back area of the cabinets to store less frequently used supplies like holiday items.
- Space inside the pantry cabinet door. This is the perfect spot for hanging things you use every day: a chalkboard for grocery lists, a calendar to keep the family’s schedule handy, racks for spices or various foils, wraps, and food bags.
When you’re remodeling your kitchen to make it more practical, the goal is to make every design choice count. In-drawer organizers and roll-out trays help you maximize the space you have. Find ways to make every inch usable. Make sure everything has a place and you’ll easily avoid counter clutter.
Keep the Traffic Flowing
As you plan out your new kitchen, think about how you and other people will move around the space. Kitchen flow should be easily directed, with no awkwardness moving from one place to another. While the “kitchen triangle” still matters, today’s designers are also thinking in terms of room zones: a coffee bar area, a baking station, and food prep zone are just a few of the options.
The triangle is made up of three main workspaces: the range, the refrigerator, and the sink area. As you prepare meals, you frequently move between these three areas, so the flow should be consistent, and the pathways should be conveniently spaced.
In an open kitchen plan, walls are removed, making the room feel more light and airy. It’s a popular kitchen layout for entertaining, making it easier for guests to navigate their way around. It also lends itself to creating zones rather than the traditional triangle.
What are Kitchen Work Zones?
The natural evolution of the kitchen work triangle, work zones maximize efficiency in today’s more open spaces. They also make it much easier to accommodate two or more cooks in the kitchen at the same time. To come up with the zones that work best for you, think about the tasks you most frequently perform in the kitchen:
- A baking zone may have one countertop that is a little lower, making it easier to roll out dough, and might include divided lower cabinets that hold cookie sheets and pizza stones.
- A coffee bar station will include the espresso machine, coffee mugs in the cabinets above, easy access to various coffees and teas, and a drawer below for spoons. Some people like to place a small second refrigerator in this zone as well.
- A prep zone is all about convenient meal preparation. The island often serves as the prep zone and may include a second sink for rinsing vegetables, a produce drawer, a pull-out cutting board and/or a mini fridge.
Each zone you create should include storage options that make it possible to quickly access everything you need. Appliances should be grouped according to use, and you should leave plenty of “landing space” next to major appliances like the refrigerator.
Do you have small children in the house? Create a kid’s zone where they can do their homework, hangout with friends, and enjoy and after school snack. A guest zone is also nice to have so that friends and extended family can hang out and chat while you prepare a meal. Large islands or peninsulas are ideal for these situations because they also act as barriers to people moving into your work area.
Are you ready to get started on your kitchen remodel? Have more questions on how to make your kitchen as practical as possible? We’re happy to help. Drop us a line today to learn more. We look forward to meeting with you!