Whether you’re a keen amateur Chef, a ‘microwave and go’ foodie, or an avid baker and follower of the Great British Bake Off, we all have our own uses and preferences when it comes to the kitchen layout. But which kitchen layout is the most functional?
While some favour large open spaces and lots of clear surface room, others will invest in every appliance under the sun, elevating the way they use their kitchen on a daily basis and experimenting with different preparation and cooking techniques.
The simple fact is that the layout of a kitchen depends solely on the preference of the main user, with modern kitchens ranging from the technology-advanced to the most basic of designs. With that said, what are the most popular kitchen layouts on the market right now, and what makes a layout both functional and aesthetically pleasing all in one go?
What makes for a functional kitchen?
Studies suggest that around 68% of users believe that the storage capacity in a kitchen is the most important feature, heralding kitchen cupboards, cutlery drawers and pantry spaces, over everything else.
On top of that, average homeowners are said to spend, on average, just under three hours a day in their kitchen – every single day. Is it any wonder why we put so much time and energy into getting the layout and design right?
But what makes a kitchen design the RIGHT design?
A functional kitchen is one which supports the way you choose to use your kitchen space. It will be planned out and furnished in such a way to create maximum efficiency within the space, with consideration going towards the location of each and every fitting and piece of equipment.
How many times have you gone to make a cup of tea at a friend’s house, only to find that the kettle is on the opposite side of the kitchen to the tap?
Have you ever tried to make a piece of toast but found that the bread bin is at least 10 steps away from the toaster?
Functional means practical, time efficient, and energy efficient.
And in order to achieve the best possible layout for a functional kitchen, we first need to strip the design right back to basics. It all starts with you – the end user.
What design suits the way you use your kitchen?
For someone who relies on microwave meals and quick-fix dinners, the staples of a functional kitchen will be plenty of fridge space, a good sized microwave, and enough storage capacity for a range of different cutlery and crockery options.
A keen home cook, meanwhile, will spend much more time in front of the stove and the oven, with one of the greatest kitchen innovations being the shift from under-counter ovens to eye level ovens. Other areas of focus in a busy and active kitchen will include emphasis on the flow of family traffic and where users are most likely to stand, how the lighting supports the usability of the kitchen space, and how extra features like kitchen islands and breakfast bars support the everyday lifestyle.
Of course, it’s not all about logistics. Some decisions are made purely for aesthetic enjoyment, such as placing kitchen sinks underneath a window so that the nominated washer and dryer can enjoy a view while they scrub at the pots and pans. Another example is the implementation of technology in the kitchen, with integrated music systems and televisions increasingly finding their way into kitchens for in-built entertainment.
The kitchen is now – and has always been – the heart of the home, and so getting the layout right is integral to enjoyment for the whole family, whether that includes technology or not.
What types of kitchen layout are there?
On the surface, one could argue that the layout of the kitchen depends on the existing infrastructure, with many choosing to upgrade what’s there and utilise existing plumbing and electric points in order to put their own touch on a layout which is already halfway towards the finish line. However, for those who decide to start from scratch, the options are endless.
- The L-Shape: An L-shaped kitchen is one where the units, countertops, and over counter storage cupboards cover two adjoining sides of the wall, replicating an L-shape. The remaining walls are left untouched and can serve as open spaces where windows and doors are located, or else can contain additional tables, standalone storage cupboards and shelving.
- U-Shaped: A -U-shaped kitchen features units and cabinets on three walls to create a U-shape, ideal for those who want more surface space and particularly for those with larger stovetops and built-in ovens.
- Galley: A galley kitchen is one which is typically small (named for its link with kitchens built into ships) and contains two rows of counters and cabinets on parallel sides of the kitchen. A galley kitchen is usually long and thin.
- Island: An island kitchen is one built on versatility, using the inclusion of an extra counter height module to create more surface space – used either for preparation, serving, or as a surface to sit around.
Identifying which of these most basic styles of kitchen layout is suitable for your lifestyle, will depend on the space you have available and how you choose and prefer to use it. We are increasingly seeing homeowners opt for the more open plan layout which eradicates the separation of kitchen and dining / living space, instead placing dining tables in the kitchen area and allowing for a free flow of space between the preparation area and the eating / relaxing area. This is a sign of the modern lifestyle, nodding at the increased desire for sociability.
Can I change my kitchen layout easily?
Changing a kitchen isn’t just a case of selecting some new units https://kitchenwarehouseltd.com/and a renovated countertop. Designing a space which integrates into your lifestyle and supports the way you use your kitchen is a long process, and our top recommendation is to always find out as much about your existing space as possible so that you are aware of required changes to plumbing and electricity before you start any renovation work.
For those who want to update their kitchen layout without all the renovation, consider these small changes:
- If you have the space, try moving a dining table into the kitchen to see if an open plan style of living works for you.
- Renovate and upgrade the feel of your kitchen by switching some appliances around. You might be surprised by how different the entire space feels with a few minor adjustments.
- Before you rip everything out, try a lick of paint.
Really take your time to consider what type of kitchen layout is both right for you, and works with your existing space. After all, you’re the one who has to live with it (for three hours a day – on average!) and so having a functional kitchen means understanding and working alongside your lifestyle, your preferences, and your requirements.
Here at Kitchen Warehouse, we provide a huge range of kitchen units in a breadth of styles and colours. You can buy directly online, or if you really wish to see how a kitchen layout might look and feel, you can come and visit our showroom, or get in touch with us for some more information.