‘Failing to prepare is preparing to fail’. This statement holds true for many projects and no more so when it comes to changing the heart of your home – the kitchen. At Alaris we work closely with customers to ensure that planning kitchens for the home works on all levels. Its appearance, functionality and durability all have to be right. Keen to find out more about the planning process? Read on to become an accomplished kitchen planner…
Fit for purpose
The kitchens planning process involves answering a number of key questions. One of the most important considerations is how you intend to use it. Many of the kitchens we design and install at Alaris are multi-use areas. Jot down all the options from cooking, eating and entertaining to lounging, TV watching and processing paperwork. Think about your reasons for changing your existing kitchen – what isn’t working today that could be improved with your new arrangement?
A three-pronged approach
You may have heard of the so-called ‘golden triangle’ principle of planning kitchens. This involves grouping the three most used equipment items and work areas in as tight a triangle as possible for efficient movement within the kitchen. These three priority stations may vary between kitchen users. For many, their triangle will comprise of the fridge, sink and cooking areas. Others, however, may prefer to incorporate their microwave or dishwasher as one of the key triangle points. Bear in mind that changing plumbing and electricity sources can be both difficult and expensive: this consideration may help you to ‘anchor’ one or more points of your triangle. Kitchen sinks, for example, are often positioned against an outside wall under a window. This is practical in terms of both plumbing and maximising access to natural light.
Layouts for living
Although the needs of each homeowner are unique, planning kitchens layouts often fall into one of a small number of classic options:
A linear layout is idea for compact properties where every inch of space counts. This efficient layout can be maxed out further with space-saving features such as extra-tall cabinets and slim-line kitchen appliances.
Single and double galley kitchens incorporate one or two continuous runs of units. As the name suggests, this kitchen layout lends itself to long, narrow spaces. If cooking is your primary purpose, the galley kitchen gets top marks for efficiency – hence its popularity in restaurants and commercial kitchens.
L-shaped kitchens are built into a corner. This layout tends to be generous in terms of wall, base and corner storage, as well as counter space. Depending on your room size, this kitchen layout may also be capable of accommodating an island unit.
In keeping with the principles of the ‘golden triangle’, a U-shaped kitchen layout surrounds the user with everything they might need on three sides. Though practical, this layout may require open shelving – or some other design feature – to prevent it feeling too enclosed.
Kitchen Planning pointers
Once the key decisions are taken care of, there are several additional factors to take into account. Think about the overall size of your space. Larger areas may require design variation to avoid looking clinical with long runs of identical cabinets. Conversely, a smaller kitchen should be kept simple and streamlined to provide an illusion of space. Lighting is also important. Even if your space benefits from natural light, chances that are that you’ll still require some form of task lighting in key work areas.
Seems like a lot to think about? Rest assured that the kitchen planning process can be enjoyable. Furthermore, there’s plenty of help at hand. Access more advice from Alaris here or drop into one of our showrooms for a chat.