The right design will create an efficient space that’s safe and comfortable for all the family

They may be built for cooking, but today’s kitchens are often designed with so much more in mind. Depending on the size of your room, you might want to combine cooking and prep areas with dining and living zones all in one open-plan space. That’s why it’s so crucial to get to know the most common kitchen layouts and pick the right one for your space.

Many people these days want a family hub where everyone can come together for meals, but still have room to do their own thing – be that unwind on the sofa, catch up with TV, browse the internet or fit in some homework. Even if you don’t have masses of space, having somewhere in the kitchen to enjoy a glass of wine or supper with friends will allow you to be part of the conversation while preparing the meal.

When it comes to the functional part of the room, a good layout will make the most of the available space and keep everything well organised, with the most regularly used items to hand. But it’s not all about storage. Flow is an important consideration. Especially in an open-plan space or where there are several doorways or an island to work around.

Using the layout to steer traffic away from dangerous hotspots and towards user-friendly areas instead, such as a drinks fridge or seating area, will ensure that your kitchen is a practical, safe and sociable space for all its users, including guests and children.

1. How to plan a kitchen layout

how to plan a kitchen layout Miami fl

Image credit: Alison Hammond

In most cases, the size and shape of your room will determine the most suitable design, and it’s always helpful to consider the classic ‘working triangle’. This concept is designed to minimise effort and walking distance between the sink, fridge and cooker by placing them on three points of a triangle.

This approach works with most kitchen layouts, although, if you have to run all the appliances and the sink along one wall, you may need to ‘flatten’ the triangle. To do this, position the three points in a line with just a few steps to walk in between.

However, nothing is set in stone. ‘If the triangle works in your kitchen that’s great, but don’t feel you have to be a slave to it,’ says kitchen designer Mark Wilkinson. ‘If you have to walk a few extra steps, it will be worth it if it means you’re able to include an extra element you really like that wouldn’t otherwise fit into the design.

2. Are there any alternatives to the working triangle?

how to plan a kitchen layout in miami fl

there are several other designers who feel that the triangle can be too rigid and who prefer to think of the kitchen in terms of zones. ‘Blum’s Dynamic Space’ concept is based on arranging your layout as task zones designed in a clockwise (or anti-clockwise) route.

Tasks might include emptying the dishwasher (store your crockery close by), making breakfast (keep all your breakfast things together), preparing meals (utensils, chopping boards and bins in pull-outs under the worktop), cooking (store pots, pans and utensils in a drawer under the cook top with bottles of oil and spices in a pull-out close by), and cleaning (materials for cleaning close to the sink).

With everything close to hand, you can then create the most convenient workflow.

3. How do I control the flow of people in a kitchen?

kitchen layout miami fl

Image credit: Colin Poole

The workspace may be crucial, but the movement of people around the kitchen space as a whole also needs careful thought. The main aims are to keep children away from danger spots and stop guests from getting in your way. Look at placing the fridge at the threshold so children can access drinks and snacks without straying into your path. In open-plan spaces, make sure the route through from the entrance to the garden is unobstructed and think about how best to direct your guests to seating areas.

An island can act as a useful shield for the cook – position bar stools along the opposite side to give guests a place to perch at a safe distance. ‘in a large space, consider using two islands to create multiple-flow possibilities.

Try changing decor to demarcate the separate dining, lounging, cooking and office areas in a multi functional space. ‘This can be achieved by using different floor finishes, paint colours and lighting in each of the zones.

‘Don’t forget, you can always strategically position a wall, or include a room divider such as a half-height wall or storage unit, to help screen off certain areas. It does need to be carefully placed so as not to block out light, but we are using these features very successfully in an increasing number of our designs.

4. My kitchen isn’t a standard shape – what do I do?

Image credit: Niall McDiarmid

Not all kitchens are standard cubes or rectangles. Some are glass boxes with limited wall space, others have sloping ceilings, while you may also have tricky features to work around such as pillars or numerous entrance doors. An experienced kitchen designer will have come across all these sorts of problems before, so do ask them for advice.

‘Often, it’s not possible to get rid of structural pillars, but sometimes you can move them, and even shifting by half a meter can have a huge impact in some rooms. You can usually convert something negative into a positive feature if you deal with it imaginatively – try building a pillar into an island to create an architectural feature, for example.’

L-shaped and t-shaped rooms can be effectively split into zones, dedicating one leg to dining or storage, and keeping the working kitchen in the other.

If you buy a property with curved walls, it’s usually because you like its style – ‘so make the most of its quirkiness with cabinets that follow the curves,’ Scott advises. Even if this means that you have to buy more expensive bespoke furniture, you may not need a large amount of it to create a dramatic effect.

5. Consult a kitchen designer

To get the absolute maximum from your space, input from a professional kitchen designer can prove invaluable. Their experience and expertise will offer you plenty of simple ideas – as well as innovative ones – that you might not have even considered.

Kitchen designers will also have up-to-the-minute knowledge of products, fixtures and fittings, and can source everything on your behalf. Ultimately, they’ll help ensure your new kitchen works as efficiently as possible.

6. Call in the professionals

Click Here to Contact Us at Pro Kitchen Design to see how we can help you plan your dream kitchen