Kitchen Planning

Planning a new kitchen for your home? Whether it be new construction or remodeling - careful planning will be the key to creating a beautiful, yet functional kitchen. When planning your kitchen consider the following:

  • Size of family - how big is your family?
  • Needs of family - what are the eating habits of your family?
  • Traffic flow - is the kitchen a focal point in your home?
  • Cooking habits - what are your cooking habits? Do you cook a lot or are you a minute gourmet?
  • Appliances - are you wanting energy-efficient and CFC free appliances? What are your needs?
  • Flooring - what type of flooring would you prefer?
  • Walls and ceilings - carefully consider how you want your walls to look as well as your ceiling. Pick a style that is functional, beautiful and practical for the use of the kitchen.
  • Openings in walls (i.e. windows, pass through, doorways, etc.)
  • Islands - necessity, want, or desire?
  • Lighting

After you have put together an initial plan, it is time to pick out the architectural style of your kitchen and select a color scheme. After this, the most crucial stage will be the layout and design of your kitchen. Let's first deal with the design of the kitchen. The height of the work center, adequate clearances between cabinets, overhead appliances, under counter storage and proper viability are among the first things to consider in the design of your cooking space. All must work within the human factors of reaching, stooping, working and movement about the kitchen. All of these must also factor into account the projections of the appliances. Cabinet doors, refrigerators, dishwashers, and full sized microwaves all project to some degree in their open positions into the space within the movement of the user(s). Standard kitchen heights are about 36", although this can be adjusted and modified according to the height of the user. In overhead cabinets, the upper shelves are usually hard to reach for the smaller person. The solution is to develop a kitchen design that is customized to the user. There are height recommendations between the base cabinets and upper cabinets, and between the range and upper cabinet. Often overlooked is eye height. The distance from the top of the range to the underside of the hood should leave the rear burners visible to the user.

Next we will look at typical kitchen layouts. Some of the distance requirements have changed so check with your local kitchen designer for appropriate distances. The U shape plan is most efficient. The corridor or galley kitchen is accessible from both ends. Sometimes it is closed off at one end. This layout is typical in apartments, hotels and small homes. The L-shape allows for a small breakfast area in one corner. In all of the above layouts, the dishwasher should be located at the sink center. In larger spaces, an island can be both functional and beautiful. Typically an island is home to cook tops, dishwashers, under counter televisions, sinks and eating areas, In today's modern home an island can also be used as a combination task oriented, eating center.

Today, most new construction has an added feature in the kitchen area--an office/computer center. This new feature is an added benefit for those whose lifestyle demand it. The kitchen office/computer center might have space for a computer and printer, an overhead mail file, a two drawer file, and a knee high-drawer. Again proper lighting and seat height are important. Try to select a chair that is ergonomically designed to fit the user. With all this in mind you should be on your way to a new kitchen. Have fun.

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