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How to design a functional kitchen.

Design a kitchen is not easy. The rumor is that any person who watched a few youtube tutorials or played around with software is able to design a kitchen. It seems easy to just add boxes (cabinet), electronics (appliances), and some color (counter, flooring, and paint) to make it work. This is not the case. Kitchen, like all parts of a home, is a structural component that mixes art and science.  

First element to consider when designing is the flow of the space or circulation in the interior design term. In the context of interior design, circulation is referred to as placing each work station at it’s best location for an optimized workflow. For example, the cutting area should be placed close to ranges to avoid “long-distance travel”. Sink and cooktop should have some spaces in between to avoid contamination.  Another common example is having rangehood above the cooktop and not above sink because it would defeat the purpose. 

Designers have summarized the space into four workstation pillars.  Food storage (fridge), processing unit (counter with cutting board), cooking area (range) and plating (island or separate counter). A typical one line kitchen should be similar to the following layout:

Functional kitchen flow

In the diagram, option 2 is inferior to option 1 because a homeowner does not need to travel two extra blocks to get work done. 

Functional one line kitchen with island

Now let’s look at a L shape kitchen. Travel distance is especially important for a L shape kitchen that do not have an island. Another problem is how to make the corner cabinet useful. We recommend adding lazy-susan in the base cabinets and glass shelf in the upper cabinet for aesthetics and function. See below for a typical circulation layout. 

Function L shape kitchen diagram

 Accessories of the cabinet is equally important in circulation. Take in-cabinet garbage can, for example, garbage bin is usually located under or near the sink. In larger kitchens, island cabinets are usually facing the sink and the garbage can are placed in one of the island cabinets. Spice rack and lazy Susans are also helpful to organize the kitchen. We have a separate article on those accessories. 

Aside from cabinets, placement of other components also play a big role. Take the electrical outlet for example, when remodeling kitchen, adding cabinets or placing larger cabinets such as pantry may block existing outlets. These outlets will need to be relocated to an appropriate position and follow the electrical code. TR outlet must be applied to all standard outlets and GFCI outlets need to be used close to the sink.

There are many other details that need to be finalized before a kitchen is finished. Contact one of our specialists at burlington to help you with your remodel.