Kitchen Layout Considerations
The layout of a kitchen can have the biggest impact on its functionality so it is vital to get it right. One of the best ways to start the design process is by initially using a number of template kitchen layouts and then adapting them to suit your space, requirements and budget.
One of the most straightforward kitchen designs is a galley kitchen, making them popular amongst younger people and first-time buyers. Generally this type of kitchen can be designed and fitted using standard styles and sizes, making them low budget and cost effective.
Although galley kitchens are generally the smallest type, they also tend to be the most functional to move around due to the fact that all areas are within easy distance to each other. Preparation, sink and cooking areas tend to be parallel to each other along the same wall, which creates an effective production-line format to the kitchen. This also means that the other wall can be used for storage and as a general worktop.
L shaped kitchens
These are the most common shaped kitchen, and are often finished with a tall oven or fridge-freezer at the ends of the run. L shaped kitchens also provide various storage options, given the various corners, Le-mans and magic corner wireworks are popular choices.
L shaped kitchens are ideal for those with a young family due to the fact that they often provide enough room for a breakfast table and thus make the room multifunctional. Areas such as this often work well for younger children by providing enough room for eating and playing, whilst still offering a dedicated dining room reserved for adults.
U shaped Kitchens
With a U shaped kitchen there is easy access to the main areas of preparation, washing and cooking. Whilst these shaped kitchens often do not allow enough space for a table and chairs, they tend to function well by allowing generous space between the areas. As a result, this shape kitchen is a popular layout for older families, and shared houses.
Island kitchens are one of the most popular kitchen layouts, providing a practical and functional layout, especially when teamed with a bank of tall units with built in ovens/multifunctional ovens, tall fridges and freezers. When designed with all areas of preparation, washing and hob cooking in front of you, islands are easy to work around and also provide a very sociable way of cooking. Islands also work well in multifunctional living spaces, where there may be a combined living/dining room.
These kitchens are well suited to larger rooms, and often require a generous budget due to the additional resources required such as a granite worktop on the island.
In larger open plan spaces such as converted barns/chapels, secondary islands can be used to divide the open plan space and provide an additional worktop. Usually the main island is used for preparation, washing and hob cooking and the secondary for entertaining and additional space.
Given that these type of kitchens are suited to larger spaces, they are often designed as part of a bespoke project. This ensures that the finishes are considered as part of the whole house, with stainless steel, glass and even muraspec (decorative panels and wallcoverings) often chosen to complete the look at the back of the island.
Whilst the layout of a kitchen is dependent on the room size and shape, there are a few key trends. The most apparent of which has been a shift from conventional shaped kitchens to a reduction in wall units. Shallow tall storage units which are the depth of a wall unit but are often built from the floor to ceiling, are becoming increasingly popular as they allow customers to see everything being stored as well as helping minimise any worktop clutter.
As open plan spaces continue to increase in popularity, designers are often adapting to create an overall finished look first and then working backwards along this theme to ensure that the layout works and looks the part. This often means using completely integrated appliances wherever possible to minimise the impact the impact that the kitchen has on the room as a whole.
However, to ensure that your kitchen caters for all of your requirements it is advisable to discuss your layout with a specialist designer.
Article submitted by Richard Davonport, Managing Director at Davonport who offer handmade kitchen cabinetry with practical design features and can be tailored exactly to your needs. Founded almost 20 years ago, Davonport combine the latest technology, with traditional woodcraft and finishing skills, to create cabinets of the highest quality.