Perhaps more than any other room in the house, the kitchen should be designed with practicality in mind.
While it’s important to have a kitchen that’s easy on the eye, for those who actually use it for cooking, it’s more important that the design facilitates your food preparations. Firstly, it should be spacious enough to move around and have an intuitive layout. You should enjoy working in the kitchen; if you cook in a space that you love, it will show in the quality of your food.
Avoid these five common mistakes when designing your kitchen and you will end up with a kitchen you love.
1. Poor layout
A kitchen should encourage your “workflow”. This includes all the steps that you would take in the preparation of a meal: from getting the ingredients ready, to the cooking, the plating and lastly, the serving.
As such, your kitchen should have zones to better facilitate the said workflow. These range from having areas for storage, food prep, cooking and finally, clean-up.
As its name suggests, the storage zone is where your refrigerator and pantry are located, as well as the ingredients and cooking utensils. This should be situated near the kitchen entrance, so as to minimise the distance for transporting heavy groceries.
The storage area should be followed immediately by the preparation zone. Here, you would have the main countertop and sink as this is where you will be doing most of your food preparation, such as cutting and chopping vegetables. The rubbish bin should be located here, so that it is easier to dispose of trash without spilling any on the floor.
The cooking zone is where the hob, hood and oven should be located, and these should be as close to the preparation zone as possible, so that you waste as little time as possible transferring food to the stove, and minimise the risk of spilling hot food.
When the meal is done, your preparation zone becomes your clean-up zone, where you can dispose of any food scraps and wash the dishes.
2. Insufficient countertop space
Whether you have one made of granite, quartz or solid surface, the countertop is an integral part of the kitchen. More countertop space means more room with which to prepare food, place appliances and utensils, as well as keep your appliances away from the stove — prolonged exposure to the heat of the burners may damage them.
Make sure you have enough countertop space by using larger base cabinets. This ensures that you won’t be cramped in one corner while preparing food.
If you still don’t have enough room in your kitchen, you can consider creating a kitchen island. A good place to install it is directly opposite your kitchen stove, thus, reducing the likelihood of bumping into family members while carrying hot food.
But make sure that your island is the right size for your kitchen — having one too big will inhibit your movement, while one that is too small will be of little use.
3. Not enough kitchen storage
While it is just as important to have room on your countertop, it’s just as important to have enough space in your kitchen to store appliances, utensils and crockery.
The obvious thing to do would be to build more cabinets and pull-out drawers as they’re a great way to keep your kitchen looking less cluttered. Just remember to design them such that you have enough space to open them without hitting another cabinet.
But storage solutions aren’t limited to cabinets. If you don’t like the look of these traditional methods, why not try a kitchen pegboard instead? A pegboard lets you install hooks and rails to hang your utensils in inventive fashions.
4. Dim lighting
Lighting is key to setting the mood and ambience in your kitchen. A dimly-lit kitchen is not only unpleasant to work in, but it also increases the risks involved with cooking, such as chopping and cutting vegetables. If you intend to use your kitchen as an area to entertain guests or have your meals, it won’t do for it to be poorly-lit.
This is why it’s important to invest in ambient lighting for the kitchen. Sometimes, most food preparation may be done under wall cabinets. If so, under-cabinet lighting should be bright enough to illuminate your entire counter to make it both safer and cosier to work in.
5. Poor ventilation
Unless you eat nothing but salads or foods that don’t require any kind of cooking, there’s always a risk that the smells from your kitchen will end up permeating through the house. As such, it’s crucial to have good kitchen ventilation not just to ensure that any odours are limited to the kitchen, but also to improve the air circulation in your house.
A range hood installed above your kitchen stove will go a long way towards filtering out these smells. Choose one with a quiet motor and change the filters regularly. Also, having the windows open will also aid in circulation.
If space is not at a premium in your house, try to design your kitchen in such a way that there are dedicated “wet” and “dry” areas. The wet area should be as close to the outdoors as possible, so that smells can be whisked away without the need for a range hood.