As a kitchen designer it’s not uncommon for us to come across proposed plans for kitchens that completely miss the mark when it comes to design functionality. Whether it’s a homeowner that’s trying to work something into their kitchen plan that they thought looked cool on Pinterest, or the architect quickly placed the cabinets to meet the minimum kitchen plan requirements, we see a lot of kitchen designs that need our help. In an ideal kitchen, you’ll have the perfect marriage of both a kitchen that is beautiful to look at and highly functional to live and cook in.
Have you ever seen a beautiful kitchen and then went to open a cabinet and realized you can’t open it without hitting the stove? Or what about that corner you want to prepare food in, but when you stand there, you block access to the dishwasher?
The thing is, function is just as important as the aesthetic design of the kitchen. The last thing anyone wants is a nice looking space that’s frustrating to work in. I see this all the time when I’m designing kitchens. Often I get plans that are already drawn up and whoever laid out the original kitchen isn’t thinking “off the page” and creates a completely dysfunctional space.
Here are just a few of the functional issues I’ve seen:
The list goes on and on…
Poorly functioning kitchens are everywhere and the key is working with a kitchen designer that knows how to take a 2D idea and translate it into a functional 3D space for you.
You’ve probably heard about the kitchen work triangle? The theory that the sink, refrigerator, and stove should be placed so you have a kind of triangle of activity in your kitchen. This work triangle idea originated in 1940’s kitchen design and is still a gold standard in function for today, but it has evolved as our kitchen’s are much larger than most were in the 1940’s. So the stringent work triangle rules that applied to the kitchens of yesteryear have become a much looser concept of creating the ideal work zones in today’s modern kitchens.
Here are just a few practical suggestions when designing the layout of your kitchen:
Of course, those are just a few ideas to think of. Ultimately, it makes sense to use a kitchen designer that’s put together hundreds of designs and understands what it takes to make a space look good and work right!
I see function mistakes being made in laundry rooms and bathrooms too. In laundry rooms the washer/dryer placement needs to be at least 30” from a corner or you’ll have a lot of trouble reaching into the cabinet that is next to the appliance. If space permits it’s better to have the washer/dryer on a separate wall than the cabinets and counters.
And although many people love the idea of a double sink vanity, when someone attempts to squeeze duel sinks into a vanity that is less that 60” …you better really like the person your sharing the space with! If the space is not wide enough, double sinks eliminate virtually all counter space and leave no room for drawer banks.
The bottom line: It takes a lot of space planning and visualization to create kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathrooms that are as functional as they are beautiful. Make sure your space will translate off the blueprint and into your busy life by using an experienced cabinetry design professional to help.
Joel Cohen is a professional kitchen designer with over 500 completed/installed projects. Hampton Hill LLC supplies high quality cabinets at wholesale prices to contractors, designers, and homeowners in Bend, Oregon and in Seattle, Washington.
Good advice. Do you do online consults and work?