With the explosion in popularity of flat pack cabinets, everyone can do a whole kitchen from concept through to completion. If a new kitchen is on your DIY agenda, here’s 5 design tips to consider so it works as well as it should.
The Work Triangle
The kitchen is primarily a work zone and the old concept of “The Work Triangle” still rings true. The idea is that the three work centres of the kitchen - sink, cooking areas and fridge should be located around your kitchen to minimise the number of steps between them. There should also be a clear line between them with no obstacles such as an island bench in the way. If possible keep traffic from going through the triangle by placing the fridge near the open side of the kitchen.
Get the bench right
It’s not just the amount of bench space you have in a kitchen but also it’s location. Each appliance needs to have a bit of bench around it as ‘landing room’ where you can put things down. As a general rule, allow around 60cm on either side of the sink, 40cm on either side of the cooktop and 40cm near the fridge. The food preparation area should be around a metre long and placed between cooktop and sink.
You can never have too much storage in a kitchen! Extend wall cabinets to the ceiling and store your least used items up there. The free space down below can provide extra room for small appliances that usually sit on the benchtop. Getting rid of those will cut the clutter and make your kitchen seem larger. Another storage must-do is drawers. On the low cabinets, include as many drawers as you can for pots, pans and plates. That way you can bring everything you need out in front of you rather than bending over and searching down the back of a dark cupboard.
Everything in its place
As well as adding as much storage as you can, planning storage in detail will help you get the most from your kitchen. Work out where everything will go, how you will access it and how you will use what’s stored there. Going back to the triangle, pantries and storage of food ingredients should be on the side of the triangle between fridge and cooktop as this is near to where it will be needed. Between cooktop and sink, store pots, pans and baking dishes. This puts them closer to where they’ll be used and where they’ll be cleaned. Plates, cups and cutlery go on the other side, with the most used items closest to the sink and dishwasher.
Plan for power
Because you need to rough in the wiring before you put in your kitchen, you only get one chance at getting your electrics right. Power for appliances is pretty straightforward but it’s all the accessories you need to think of. Do you have enough benchtop power points to suit all your appliances? Are they in the right position? Lighting is another consideration. Your kitchen might be more comfortable with task lights under the wall cabinets, if so, you’ll need to allow for the wiring.