7 tips for designing a functional kitchen | homify
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7 tips for designing a functional kitchen

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Sea Point Apartment by Jenny Mills Architects Modern
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Aside from looking good, a kitchen also needs to be fully functioning before its design can be classified as “successful”. But what does a kitchen’s functionality entail? And how does one get around quirky corners, limited legroom, and other elements that can make designing a kitchen feel quite daunting?

Simple: By hearing how some of our best Kitchen Planners do it and then just copying their tips and tricks for you…

1. Cut out wasted steps

Consider how you use your kitchen and where all the different items are stored. Are breakfast foods and bowls, for example, stored together? Are all your wraps and plastic containers in one convenient location? And how far from the dishwasher do you keep your dishware and flatware? 

2. Focus on wide walkways

You want enough legroom to comfortably glide between cabinetry and island/furnishings. And the rule of thumb states that kitchen paths, on average, need to be at least 90 cm wide. 

For aisles within your cooking zone, work with an average of 105 cm for one cook, and about 120 cm for a two-cook setup. 

3. Direct traffic through the kitchen

Your kitchen’s final layout is highly dependent on your type of household / lifestyle. For a kid-friendly kitchen design, remove the cooktop out of the high-traffic areas to minimise spills when the little ones are passing through. And make your fridge easily accessible to both passersby and those busy with cooking and cleaning up. 

4. Keep clear of corners

Sea Point Apartment - Kitchen by Jenny Mills Architects Modern
Jenny Mills Architects

Sea Point Apartment—Kitchen

Jenny Mills Architects

Why opt for corners wasting valuable space? Make your appliance- and cabinet doors fully functional by planning clearance room and swing direction. Keep your appliances away from corners and double check that no doors bang into each other when cabinets and appliances are opened simultaneously. 

5. Find your island’s purpose

Form follows function. Thus, first determine how you want to use your kitchen island before looking at design options. 

If it’s for cooking and dining, plan to have enough space separating your cooktop and dining area. If it’s for storage and cleaning, see where you can incorporate built-in storage compartments and/or a sink and/or a dishwasher into the design for full functionality. 

6. Consider the countertops

Kitchen Model - HD23 by Eurocasa Minimalist

Kitchen Model—HD23


Carefully consider your needs for meal prepping before scoping out countertop choices. More counter space is needed (ideally between the range and sink) for those passionate about cooking than those who prepare the odd and simple meal here and there. 

homify hint: Incorporate two countertop heights for households with little ones who love helping out with meal prepping and simple kitchen tasks.  

7. Cut your cleaning time

HOUSE CRANBERRY | CAMPS BAY Modern kitchen by Wright Architects Modern Wood Wood effect
Wright Architects


Wright Architects

Did you know that careful preplanning can also influence the amount of cleaning time you’re setting yourself up for? For instance, glass fridge shelves are much better at catching spills than wire designs. Dirt and smudges show up easier on glossy finishes than matte ones. And undermount or flush-set sinks have no crumb-catching rim to watch out for. 

Next up: How to mix wood finishes in your interior design

How would you make your kitchen design more functional?
Modern houses by Casas inHAUS Modern

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