Planning a new kitchen or re thinking an old one is a major undertaking today. Kitchens reflect their owners needs and aspirations accurately. The well designed kitchen should not only be pleasing to the eye but should reflect the individual needs, work habits and entertaining styles of the members of the household. Kitchen is acknowledged as the busy center of household activity. To help you we have suggestions for kitchen planning concrete information on dimensions, building materials and appliances.
Planning Your Kitchen
Certain considerations are necessary before actual planning of the kitchen. Thorough evaluation of needs of all family members especially the cooking member is very essential. Think about various family activities that depend on and around kitchen. Does your family gather for regular meals and for how many meals. Do you want to eliminate family traffic in kitchen during meal preparation.? How frequently do you entertain? Is most entertaining formal or informal? How many family members participate in cooking and preparing meals?
Look at your present kitchen ……. What do you like about its efficiency and appearance? What do you dislike? What all appliances do you use in your kitchen? As you consider these questions, some possible kitchen floor plan begins with decisions on the basic kitchen layout to be used, the position of work triangle (explained later) and the specialized work centers to be incorporated.
The purpose of careful planning is to make it possible for you to do the work as easily and efficiently as possible. Probably no two people would come up with exactly the same ideal kitchen, but there has been enough research done on how we tackle tasks like preparing food, cooking it and clearing it away, for a few basic rules to have emerged.
Work Sequence :
When thinking of all different jobs involved in preparing and clearing away the simplest meal, it is realised that most of them take place around three centers of activity: where the food is stored (refrigerator, freezer or store cupboard), where some of the preparation and most of the clearing up is done (the sink) and the cooker. The secret of good kitchen planning lies in the way these centers are linked. Efficiency studies have shown that the work sequence is most convenient if it follows this pattern: food storage--- work surface----sink---- work surface---- cooker---- work surface.
Basic Kitchen Floor Plans
Five basic layouts stand out in kitchen design today. Defined according to the shape in which counters are arranged (regardless of whether a counter is built against a wall or is freestanding), they are
A one counter or strip kitchen :
This type of plan is commonly used in small space situations such as small flats or apartments. In this all appliances and work areas are in one row. A single counter plan is most efficient when the sink is centrally located and the total length is less than 22 feet.
The main disadvantage is that distances between work areas tend to be long, since one-counter kitchen doesn't allow a work triangle
A two-counter, corridor kitchen :
This type of plan divides appliances and work areas between two parallel counters (Parallel counters should be separated by at least 4 feet of clear space; 5 feet if two or more people will be working at the same time) This arrangement creates a work triangle, usually provides ample counter space, and is generally a very economic type of kitchen to build.
Its main disadvantage is that the corridor between the two counters encourages foot traffic, if there is a doorway at each end of the kitchen. Further if the corridor leads to the outside, it may develop into a family highway
The L--shaped kitchen :
L shaped kitchen arranges appliances and workspace along two perpendicular counters. This is the most popular kitchen plan because it adapts to a wide variety of arrangements. Frequently one "leg" of the L doubles as the room divider. This plan frees floor space for other uses and directs traffic away from the cook's work area.
Placing the sink and appliances can be a challenge though. If the sink, refrigerator and cooktop are too far apart, the work triangle becomes exhausting
The U--shaped kitchen :
U shape kitchen requires lots of space but is considered by many experts as the most efficient floor plan because of its compact work triangle and the easy separation of the work area from family traffic patterns This floor plan divides appliances and work areas among three connected counters arranged in a U. Any or all parts of the U may extend into the room without wall support. Generally, the sink is placed at the base of U, the cooking range and the refrigerator on the facing legs of the U. The result is a tight work triangle that eliminates wasted effort. Counter space is continuous and ample storage is made available.
Problems arise if the kitchen is too small (less than 6 feet between opposite cabinets) resulting in very tight working and movement space
Island kitchen :
These kitchens have helped expand basic kitchen floor plans. All layouts except two counter kitchen type can benefit from the addition of an Island. Freestanding and usually centrally located, an Island could be mobile, adding extra workspace wherever required. If it isn't mobile, it may contain a sink or cooking top. Alternatively an island can also provide an eating counter.
Island can efficiently control traffic, provide a tighter work triangle, creates more workspace and add storage. They are especially useful in dividing large kitchen spaces into functional work areas
The Work Triangle :
After you determine the shape of your kitchen, appliance placement should be considered next. The three main work centres - Sink, Refrigerator and a cooking range - should form a triangle whose three sides' total no less than 12 feet and no more than 22 feet. This is called a work triangle. The easiest way to experiment with the work triangle arrangement is to make a simple scale model of your kitchen design.
Ideally the distance between refrigerator and sink should be 4 - 7 feet; between sink and range 4 - 6 feet; range and refrigerator 4 - 9 feet. The work triangle in this size range allows for enough counter and storage space so work isn't cramped, yet arranges appliances and their related centres so the cook won't cover great distances during meal preparation.
As most trips are made between sink and range than between any other two-work centres, this leg of the triangle should be the shortest.