Function is king in kitchen design. The kitchen is the heart of the home, some of us feel like we live in there! My belief is that function leads to efficiency, and granted I come from the 'working mother of a pre-schooler' perspective, but still, who doesn’t want to be efficient with their daily tasks? It is for this reason that function comes before form in good kitchen design…. but this does not mean that kitchens need to be boring.
Here are my tips for ensuring you can get the most out of your new kitchen...
1. THINK IT THROUGH.
To make sure your kitchen design will work for you, you need to think carefully about how you will use it. Ask yourself questions like:
What do you use daily?
Which items do you need on hand?
How many people will need to use the kitchen at any one time?
What will you store in which drawer/cupboard/shelf?
What do you love and what frustrates you in your existing kitchen?
Regardless of whether you are putting a kitchen into a new build or it is a renovation project, think though kitchens you have cooked in (or cleaned in!) and draw on those experiences.
2. THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE
I don’t subscribe in the “Golden Triangle” (fridge, sink, cooktop) approach to kitchen layout. While the triangle can function well, it does dictate a “U” shape to the kitchen. The problem with “U”s is that they have corners and corners are not always the most efficiently usable kitchen spaces. The key with these three kitchen essentials is proximity and accessibility.
3. BIGGER IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER
Those of us who are cooks and foodies love the idea of a big kitchen to spread out in... but, have you ever cooked in the really big kitchen? There is a lot of walking involved! Often more space just equals more mess and clutter.
If a kitchen is too big the functionality can be compromised as we have to move around more to access the appliances, collect the required food items, wash dishes etc. Extensive storage requirements can blow out the size of a kitchen, so the key here is again is to think it through.
A pantry or separate area for storage of appliances can help "group" items that are used together in one space - its also a great place to hide clutter and store pre-prepared food when hosting a party.
4. THE FUN STUFF
Now, once you have the worked out the functional layout side you can have some fun with the finishes. My recommendations are to take a more neutral, minimal and classic approach to the hard to replace stuff, like the flooring and cabinets. If you want them to look good for as long as possible its best to invest.
If you want to add a bit of wow factor things like splash backs, feature lighting and tapware can really make a kitchen look on point and these can also be replaced with minimal fuss in a few years if your kitchen need a refresh.
One more finish to give special attention to is the bench top, these are pricey items and while they are not difficult to have replaced, they are expensive. The bench top can do a lot to determine the feel of a kitchen, Stainless Steel equals industrial, Corian equals Modern, Carrera equals Luxurious, Timber equals Country. Where my mantra is function first when it comes to kitchens, bench tops are the exception where function need to be considered alongside the decorative contribution to the space.
5. USE A DESIGN PROFESSIONAL
Whatever your size or budgetry constraints it is a good idea to get a design professional to design your kitchen. A beautiful kitchen takes a lot of innovation and planning and your designer or architect will be able to help you achieve a functional kitchen with a look that will enhance and complement your home.