Here are some points to start your thinking about kitchen layout ideas which you can apply to your own kitchen floor plans.
What are the things you like about your current kitchen layout (if any?). Can you include those in the new kitchen?
Are you a one-cook household, or do several people cook at the same time? If there are several cooks, you may want to make sure there are several work areas, and room for people to work independently without getting in each others’ way. A big possible bottleneck area is the sink, so this is a situation where an extra prep sink can make things much easier.
How many people eat in your kitchen – and for how long will they do so? If your six hulking teenagers are likely to leave home in the next few years, spending a lot of money on an addition to create a larger eating area may not be worth it. Can you squeeze multi-purpose eating spots into your design that can be used for other purposes later?
Consider your traffic patterns. If there’s any way to keep through traffic out of the main kitchen work area, use it! Some methods to redirect traffic include strategically positioning islands, peninsulas,or tables to redirect traffic around the work core: re-locating doors so that traffic flow goes where you want it: and positioning kitchen components which are regularly used by non-cooks, especially the fridge, where they can be accessed without going through or into the work area.
Do you want a pantry? If so, will it be a separate walk-in, or a pull-out cabinet style? What do you want to store there – food, equipment, small appliances? Do you actually want to be able to use appliances in there, and perhaps have a sink? At this point it’s starting to sound like a second kitchen!
Try to create at least one decent-sized, clear counter area for each regular cook. By decent-sized I mean at least 3 feet of clear run, preferably not including a corner. Cutting up your countertop space into little chunks between appliances makes it much less useful. Storing small appliances on it permanently also gets in the way.
There’s a lot of fuss made about whether kitchen countertops will stand up to knives, and being cut on. You are much better off doing your cutting on a cutting board than any type of countertop: a separate board (and you’ll need several) can be placed where you want it, sanitized, re-surfaced, replaced, cut on without damaging your knives, used as a trivet for hot pots or a board for serving bread or cheese, or taken outside to the BBQ – none of which is true of a countertop. So choose your counter material without worrying about its suitability as a cutting surface.
How’s your bendability? Physically, bending down to reach stuff in lower cabinets – especially tucked away at the back of the bottom shelf – gets harder and harder as we get older and less bendable. Do you need to design your new kitchen to have more storage at waist-to-shoulder level? Or how about making your base cabinets all or mostly drawers, which are far, far easier to access than simple shelves. Pull out shelves behind doors are less convenient than drawers (two movements to access them, instead of one) but better than fixed shelves.
Appliances come in many more forms nowadays than the standard range, fridge-freezer and dishwasher. Everything can be broken up into separate parts and located in the very best position. This includes separate cooktop and oven(s); separate fridges and freezers of different sizes and styles (drawers, under-counter, full-size, super-insulated etc); dishwashers of different sizes or styled as drawers; and sinks that come in a million combinations of size, shape and number of bowls. Make sure you consider all the modern options, not just the old standbys.
Is your electrical wiring up to the job of powering your new kitchen? You may have to add circuits to bring existing wiring up to code or to add appliances, and the domino effect may mean you have to upsize your service and breaker box too. Better to find out at the design stage than when the electrician arrives on the doorstep.
Plumbing too: if you’re moving or adding sinks, adding an icemaker in the fridge, and especially if you plan on having plumbing in an island, get professional advice on what it will take to do what you want. A plumbing expert may also have good suggestions on how to get what you want without doing as much work.
These are only a few of the factors which can give you great kitchen layout ideas – or save you from following through on not-so-great ones!