Kitchens Planning and Layout

The kitchen is the most complex, expensive room in your house, and making major changes to it takes major time and planning. To get through the challenge, you need a strategy. Begin by shoot-ing for everything you really want, assuming from the beginning that you may have to scale down your plans.

Start an idea file. Clip pictures of kitchens you love from magazines and brochures and collect material samples. Look at other kitchens by attend-ing open houses or getting nosy with neighbors who have recently remodeled. Most neighbors love showing off a new kitchen and neighbor-hood homes will often share many of your home’s attributes and problems. Concentrate on big decisions first, like whether walls should come down or windows and doors should be moved.

Look at your kitchen, and even adjacent living areas, as though they were empty spaces. Draw a floor plan that includes only existing walls, windows, doorways and staircases. Make copies of this basic drawing and begin experimenting with ideas, keeping in mind the standard spacing and measurements for kitchen areas.

Standard spacing and measurements.

The above measurements are suggestions for proper spacing of appliances and adequate counter space, and for allowing comfortable movement. Also, keep these rules in mind as you plan:

■ For sit-down counter space, allow at least 2 ft. (60 cm) of counter length per seat.

■ Don’t place the range any more than three steps away from the kitchen sink.

■ Provide at least 6 sq. ft (.5 sq. m) of counter between sink and stove.

■ The work triangle, formed by stove, sink and refrigerator, shouldn’t exceed 22 ft. (7 in) in length or be smaller than 12 ft. (3.6 m). • Place counters on both sides of a range and allow at least 15 in. (38 cm) between a range and a doorway.

■ Keep dishwasher near enough to sink to reach with-out taking any steps.

Kitchen Design Blunders

To avoid experiencing deep regret about your design deci-sions, here’s a list of common blunders and how to avoid them:

Poor corner planning. Base cabinets on inside corners occupy a lot of space while offering little front access. To use the space well, order cabinets with glide-out shelves, L-shaped doors or lazy Susans.

Designing with trendy colors. Kitchen cabinets, coun-tertops, appliances and flooring are meant to last, so avoid the latest trend and choose colors and styles you can live with for a long time. Add pizzazz with paint and accessories.

Colliding doors. Sketch the position of opened appliance and cabinet doors and drawers onto your floor plan. Pay special attention to drawers and doors across from each other, close to inside corners or next to protruding door trim.

Relying on one light fixture. To avoid shadows and badly lit countertops from a sin-gle ceiling fixture, plan additional task lighting, spot lighting for islands and sinks and under-cabinet lighting for counters.

Designing as you go. Com-plete a detailed plan before you lift a hammer. Nothing piles up expenses or problems faster than changing plans along the way.

Spread the word. Share this post!