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How to get the best out of your kitchen layout

There are various stages to planning your new kitchen but none as critical as deciding on the right kitchen layout. Think of your kitchen layout like the foundations of your home, it will either make or break the room, both in terms of how your kitchen looks but also how well it functions.

We’ve seen a cultural shift in the job role of our kitchens in the last few years. It has evolved from a space with a single-focused role to a multifunctional space that may also function as a living room, dining space, office, homework station and lots more.

Your final kitchen layout will determine how successful your kitchen is; how easy it is to use, how well it functions in different roles and whether it works to the best of its ability in whatever size space your kitchen is.

kitchen layouts

Audley case study

Generally, a good kitchen designer will have years of experience in layouts and will be able to work with you to create the right one for you. And that’s the really important part – that your kitchen doesn’t have an ‘off the shelf’ layout, and instead should be created to suit your needs.

When starting to think about layouts, you’ll need to think about how you’d like to use your new kitchen and not how you use it currently. Consider the flow of traffic and general pattern of usage, for example, is the whole family in the kitchen in a morning…what can be done to make this an easier experience. Do you need different dining areas? Do you like to entertain and is the kitchen the main hub when you do. All of these questions and more will have an impact on the best layout for you.

We get asked a lot about the importance of the kitchen triangle – a design rule based around the sink, hob and fridge. Our answer is that it is a golden rule that we do stick to. Its core focus is to place these three points on a triangle which will minimise the effort and have each item close at hand. For nearly all kitchen layouts, this rule works and provides an ergonomically designed space.

Best kitchen layout

This kitchen features several section options, from banquet, bar and dining table

Another way of thinking about your kitchen layout is in terms of ‘working’ zones. Having specific areas within the kitchen for cooking, washing up, entertaining guests, or even for children to do homework, means the room will function really well. All areas will have a specific purpose and there won’t be any dead space.

The working zones may be crucial, but the movement of people around the kitchen space as a whole also needs careful thought. The main aims are to keep children away from danger spots and stop guests from getting in your way.”

Examples of zones might include:

  • Making breakfast – is it worth considering a dedicated breakfast pantry that houses your toaster, cereal, and even your coffee machine so that it is all in once place and can be neatly hidden after use.
  • Cooking – never underestimate the use of drawers over a cupboard to store pans and utensils and even another drawer for crockery. It makes putting your hand on the exact pan you want so much easier.
  • Entertaining zones – love a party? If you are choosing to have a wine fridge, place it away from the main prep and cooking areas, so that it can be accessed easily. The same can be said for an alchemy cupboard.

Breakfast and coffee cupboard for busy mornings

Not every kitchen will be able to have an easily thought-out layout either. You may have a kitchen that isn’t a standard shape, limited wall space, pillars or awkwardly placed windows and doors. This is where a professional kitchen designer can come into their own as it will be their experience that helps you to navigate the trickier parts of getting your layout right.

When it comes to the different layouts, there are four main primary ones – galley, island, L-shape, U-shape. There are two others that aren’t quite as popular, especially in a family home, but they are one wall layout and the peninsula.

Gallery-style layout kitchen

These six layouts are often the starting point for most designers but will be customised depending on your own requitements. It might be that you want split level seating, a dedicated home office space or even a zone for your pooch!

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