A well-designed kitchen is both efficient and pleasing in
|Understanding the functions of a kitchen is the first
step in planning a kitchen's design.
|Food preparation is, of course, the primary function of the
|However, the kitchen may also be used as a dining area.|
|The proper placement of appliances is important in a
|Locating appliances in an efficient pattern eliminates wasted
|An efficient kitchen has three basic areas or centers:|
-- the storage center
-- the cooking center
-- the cleanup center
|A fourth area, mixing, is combined into one or more of the
others, usually storage.|
||STORAGE AND MIXING
The refrigerator is the major appliance in the storage and mixing
center. The refrigerator may be freestanding, built-in or even
suspended from a wall. Cabinets for the storage of utensils and food
ingredients, as well as a countertop work area, are also included at
The major appliances in the cooking center are the range and
oven. The range and oven may be combined into one application or be
separated into two appliances, with the burners installed in the
countertop (cook top) as one appliance and an oven built into a
The cooking center should have countertop work space, as well as
storage space for minor appliances and cooking utensils. An adequate
supply of electrical outlets for using appliances is necessary
At the cleanup center, the sink is the major appliance. Sinks are
available in one-, two-, or three-bowl models with a variety of
cabinet arrangements, countertops, and drain board areas. The
cleanup center may also include a waste-disposal unit, an automatic
dishwasher, a waste compactor, and cabinets for storing cleaning
||THE WORK TRIANGLE
If you draw a line connecting the three centers of the kitchen, a
triangle is formed. (see fig. 10-2)
This is called the work triangle. The perimeter of an
efficient kitchen work triangle should be no more than 22'. Although
the size of the work triangle is an indication of kitchen
efficiency, the triangle is primarily useful as a starting point in
kitchen design. The triangle should not be rigidly maintained at the
expense of flexibility and creativity.
The arrangements of the three areas of the work triangle may vary
greatly. However, efficient arrangements can be designed in each of
the seven basic types of kitchens described.
The U-shaped kitchen is very efficient and popular. The sink is
located at the bottom of the U, and the range and the refrigerator
are at the opposite ends. In this arrangement, traffic passing
through the kitchen is completely separated from the work triangle.
The open space in the U between the sides should be 4' or 5'. This
arrangement produces a very efficient small kitchen. (see
fig. 10-3) Figure 10-4
shows various U-shaped kitchen designs and the planned work
When designing U-shaped kitchens, special attention must be given
to door hinges and drawer positions. Design cabinet doors and
drawers to open without interfering with each other; especially at
The peninsula kitchen is similar to the U-shaped kitchen, but one
end of the U is not adjacent to a wall. It projects into the room
like a piece of land (peninsula) into a body of water. This
peninsula is often used for the cooking center. However, it may
serve several other functions as well. The peninsula is often used
for an eating area as well as for food preparation. (see
fig. 10-5) It may join the kitchen to the dining room or family
room. Figure 10-6 shows various
arrangements of peninsula kitchens and the resulting work triangles.
Most peninsula kitchens contain large countertops for work space.
Peninsulas may contain only lower or base cabinets, but some may
include upper cabinets suspended from ceilings.
The L-shaped kitchen has continuous counters, appliances, and
equipment located on two adjoining, perpendicular walls. Two work
centers are usually located on one wall and the third center is on
the other wall. (see fig. 10-7) The
work triangle is not in the traffic pattern. If the walls of an
L-shaped kitchen are too long, the compact efficiency of the kitchen
An L-shaped kitchen requires less space than the U-shaped
kitchen. The remaining open space often created by an L-shaped
arrangement can serve as an eating area, without taking space from
the work areas. If the center area is used for eating, a minimum of
36" must be allowed as an aisle between cabinets and chairs.
Two-wall corridor kitchens are very efficient arrangements for
long, narrow rooms. (See fig.
10-8) They are very popular for small apartments, but are
used extensively anywhere space is limited. A corridor kitchen
produces a very efficient work triangle, as long as traffic doe snot
need to pass through that work triangle. The corridor space between
cabinets (not walls) should be no smaller than 4', preferably 6'.
One of the best work arrangements locates the refrigerator and sink
on one wall and the range on the opposite wall.
A one-wall kitchen is an excellent plan for small apartments,
cabins, or houses in which little space is available. The work
centers are located along one line rather than in a triangular
shape, but this design still produces an efficient arrangement. (see
When planning a one-wall kitchen, the designer must be careful to
avoid creating walls that are too long. Adequate storage facilities
need to be well planned also, since space is often limited in a
The island kitchen, another geographically-named arrangement, has
a separate, freestanding structure in the kitchen that is usually
located in the central part of the room. An island in the kitchen is
accessible on all sides. It usually has a range top or sink, or
both. (see fig. 10-10) Other
facilities are sometimes located in the island, such as a mixing
center, work table, serving counter, extra sink, and/or snack
center. (see fig. 10-11) Figure
10-12 shows examples of other island facilities. The island
design is especially convenient when two or more persons work in the
kitchen at the same times.
When an island contains a range or grill, allow at least 16"
on the sides for utensil space. Also consider the use of a downdraft
exhaust system which pulls vapors down and out rather than up to
eliminate the need for overhead hooded vents. Allow at least
42" on all sides of an island. If used for eating, also add the
depth of the chair or stool.
The family kitchen is an open kitchen using any kitchen shape.
The function of an open kitchen, however, is to provide a meeting
place for the entire family -- in addition to the usual kitchen
services. A family kitchen often appears to have two parts in one
room. The three food preparation work centers comprise one section.
The dining area and family-room facilities comprise another section.
(see fig 10-13). Figure
10-14 shows several possible arrangements for family kitchens.
Family kitchens must be rather large to accommodate these
facilities. An average size for a family kitchen is 225 sq. ft.
Eating areas can be designed with either tables and chairs or with
chairs an/or stools at a counter. When counters are used for eating,
allow at least 12" for knee space between the end of the
counter and the face of the base cabinet.
Regardless of its shape, the kitchen is the core of the service
area and should be located near the service entrance as well as near
the waste-disposal area. The kitchen must be adjacent to eating
are3as, both indoors and outdoors. The children's play area should
also be visible or easily accessible from the kitchen.
||Kitchens cost more per square foot than any other
room. Most of this cost relates to the selection of appliances,
cabinetry, and fixtures. By selecting the least expensive models of
appliances, hardware, and cabinetry, the same kitchen design can
often be built for one-fourth the cost of a kitchen which contains
the most expensive features.
Even though most kitchen appliances are produced in contemporary
designs, some clients and designers prefer to decorate kitchens with
a traditional style as a motif or theme. The cabinets, floors,
walls, and accessory furniture would then be selected according to
that chosen theme. Designing a totally harmonious kitchen is made
easier by the wide variety of appliance sizes, colors, and styles.
Regardless of the style, the kitchen walls, floors, countertops,
and cabinets should require a minimum amount of maintenance. (see
fig. 10-15) materials that are relatively maintenance-free
include stainless steel, stain-resistant plastic, ceramic tile,
washable wall coverings, washable paint, vinyl, molded and laminated
plastic countertops, doors, draw4rs, and cabinet bases.
Options in kitchen design have broadened because of new synthetic
and composite materials and new construction methods for cabinets
and countertops. Many kitchens now have what only the highest
quality kitchens had a few years ago.