Tips for Kitchen Planning:

  1. Plan for wide aisles. 42″, 48″, or 60″ if an appliance will open into it. Never less than 36″.
  2. Try to follow the Work Triangle configuration for proper placement of appliances. Try not to place a side by side refrigerator next to a wall on the left side, without leaving several inches of clearance on the left side. The narrow freezer door will not open fully making it very difficult to access freezer side.
  3. Don’t place 2 appliances next to each other. Always have a cabinet between them. Not only does a stove directly next to the refrigerator not look good, but it throws the design out of balance, plus you only have counter space on one side.
  4. Always plan plenty of free counter space around both sides of the sink & the range or cook top. Plan free counter space on at least one side of the refrigerator & an oven cabinet.
  5. Microwaves are usually most handy placed close to the refrigerator. Most of the time foods come out of the refrigerator & go directly to the microwave for warming or defrosting.
  6. Plan for plenty of drawer space. 3 or 4 drawers are not enough. Evaluate both your drawer & total storage needs. Drawer bases are good to have beside the stove and sink, to the right when possible.
  7. Remember, for smaller or closed in Kitchens, lighter colors will make the room feel larger.
  8. Roll-Out Trays in base cabinets, especially near the range, make accessing the cabinet much easier.
  9. Convenience items, such as roll-out trash units & tilt-out trays under the sink help organize hard to place items like the trash-can & the small scrubbing pads that usually wind up littering your sink.
  10. Using moldings around the top, like large crown or galley rail, add a great deal of appeal to your Kitchen. Using fluted columns & staggering the height of cabinets will also create interest.


More things to consider…

  1. Think about what things you like and don’t like about your current kitchen or ones you have had in the past. Write them down. Always make notes to refer back to.
  2. Get ideas. There are many great magazines available on Kitchen & Bath ideas & remodeling to help get you started. Visit some of the Kitchen & Bath sites on the internet and go out to some showrooms.
  3. Think about what type/style of cabinetry you want. Oak, Natural or Glazed Birch, Maple?
    Light or dark? Do you want to paint?
  4. Don’t forget to research Countertop materials. Check pricing for Laminate, Ceramic Tile, Solid Surface, or Granite.
  5. Research some appliances; choose what types of appliances you need. Get accurate dimensions of size and rough openings for appliances you plan to use. Remember, to order cabinetry you must have these dimensions to know what size cabinet you need.
  6. Take accurate measurements of your kitchen.
    Draw a floor plan of your existing cabinetry and one showing items you would like to change.
  7. Study the work triangle below.



Understanding The Work Triangle

For years, kitchen designers have used the Work Triangle as a guide for measuring the efficiency of a kitchen. The Work Triangle is the distance between the three primary work centers of the kitchen drawn in the form of a triangle. The work centers consist of the food storage center (refrigerator area), the food preparation center (range area), & the clean-up center (sink area). The total footage of the three sides of the triangle should measure between 12′ & 26′. Less than 12′ means your appliances are to close together & you may have a cramped kitchen. More than 26′ means you may be wasting time & steps walking between the work centers. Note the Work Triangle is highlighted in red in each example.

The Six Basic Floor Plans

The Straight Kitchen is the simplest of all designs & is usually found in smaller homes, apartments, or office applications. All work centers are located on one wall. It is difficult to provide ample countertop & storage space with this type of design. Use it only when space is limited.

The Galley Kitchen with two walls of cabinetry is a vast improvement over the straight kitchen. There is much more valuable counter space & distance between work centers is reduced, cutting down on wasted footsteps. Aisle space should be at least 48″ for one cook. If there are two cooks, aisle space should be increased to 60″ to avoid bumping or running in to each other. Heavy traffic flow can sometimes present a problem in this type of kitchen.

The L-Shaped Kitchen is a great design, providing ample counter space, room for two cooks, good access to work centers, & better traffic flow. This layout allows the unused corner (lower right hand area of drawing) to be used for a dining table. This layout is good for medium sized kitchens. 

The U-Shaped Kitchen is also a great design, especially for larger kitchens. It has lots of counter space, good access to work centers, & plenty of room for two cooks. This layout eliminates household traffic through the kitchen giving the cook plenty of room to work within. 

The Peninsula Kitchen is also a good design for larger kitchens. Similar to the U-Shaped kitchen it provides lots of counter space, good access to work centers, & plenty of room for two cooks. This layout eliminates household traffic through the kitchen giving the cook plenty of room to work within. A wide bar top can be added to the peninsula providing an ideal kitchen seating & eating area or a large work & serving area.

The Island Kitchen takes the L-Shaped kitchen a step further. Notice how the placement of the island helps define the perimeter of the kitchen, while providing extra counter space& storage. The island offers possibilities for positioning the sink or cook top in the center of the room.  The addition of a wide island top provides a seating & eating area.