Good layout and kitchen planning are the keys to a successful kitchen. Decorative styles and aesthetic considerations are, of course, important. But the time spent on kitchen planning can make the difference between a nicely decorated kitchen and one that is not only decoratively pleasing but also functional, conformable and ‘user-friendly’.
The best layout for your kitchen planning very much depends on the individual needs of your particular family, so invest time in making a list of the facilities that your finished kitchen must offer to fulfill your requirements successfully. Some of the questions you may wish to consider are: Is your kitchen purely for the preparation and storage of food? Will you need to incorporate laundry facilities into the design? Do you need to include a dining area, and if so, is it purely for family eating or will you also use the space for entertaining guests? Will the space be used as a home study or for your children to do homework? Do you want the room to be multifunctional, with space for a television and seating area? Will it be the main room in the home that is used throughout the day for food preparation, working and child minding?
Once your preferences are clear in your mind you must then decide if you feel confident enough to plan your own kitchen or whether you would rather leave the layout and kitchen planning to an expert in kitchen design. Kitchen designers will visit your home to discuss your requirements, gaining enough information to produce a kitchen planning layout that they feel will best meet your individual needs from within their range of products. Don’t be afraid to shop around, and if you find a style of kitchen from one company that particularly appeals to you, but prefer the ideas on layout suggested by another, feel free to discuss these alternatives with the designer.
If you wish to do your kitchen planning yourself, first make a scale drawing on paper. You will be amazed how different your room will appear on a flat piece of paper, and how alternative layouts will become more apparent as you rearrange the elements on your kitchen planning.
Choose a convenient scale such as 1:20. This means that each centimeter (inch) on your kitchen planning represents 20 cm (20 in) in your kitchen. Measure the room using a metal tape measure and draw your kitchen planning layout onto graph paper. Include any permanent fixtures and fittings, such as doors, radiators and windows. Then, using the same scale, draw out the proportions of your preferred units and appliances, cut these out and name or number them for ease of identification. You can then explore the kitchen planning layout options available to you.
Consideration must be given to the plumbing and electrical facilities within the room, but don’t be restricted by what is already installed. The simple relocation of a sink unit, for example, can have a great effect on the finished layout. Traditionally, many kitchen planning designers placed the sink in front of a window, presumably to give the person doing all the washing-up and laundry an interesting outlook. But as many kitchens now have washing machines and dishwashers, thankfully, considerably less time is spent on tasks by the sink. You may decide to use this area to position a dining table or breakfast bar, giving diners a brighter outlook.
Finally, don’t be fooled by the idea that more is better: in a well-designed kitchen planning, the quality of the layout can far outweigh the quantity of units.