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The Top 5 Considerations for the Perfect Kitchen Floor Plan

July 20, 2021 – 4 min read

Finalising your kitchen floor plan is an essential step in the renovation (or new build) process. The layout will determine how you use and move through your kitchen, how much storage you have and where your appliances will live. It will also play a big role in how functional your kitchen really is. Here’s five things to keep in mind.

Couple planning their new kitchen renovation, they have a laptop, calculator, plans and coffee!

Understanding the kitchen work triangle

A time-tested approach to planning an efficient kitchen, the work triangle is a golden rule that determines the placement of your cooktop, sink and fridge. The logic is that keeping these three key kitchen components within a couple of steps of each other, and without any major obstacles, will make your space easier to use. The rule has been used for decades, and for many kitchen layouts is still the most efficient approach to appliance placement. Smaller spaces and fuss-free kitchens have the most to gain from the work triangle.

Exceptions to the rule

There is of course an exception to every rule, and everyone uses their kitchen differently. “It's such a personal thing,” says interior designer Naomi Nimmo of Nimmo Nielsen Collective. “Sometimes, if you don't stick to the triangle and you put the fridge, your pantry and your oven all along one wall, it frees you up to give you a nice clean run of bench space.”

When it comes to planning your layout, give careful considerations to the appliances you use the most and where they’ll be placed for easiest access.

Which appliances will you use the most, really

While the work triangle theory of kitchen design is based on the fridge, cooktop and sink being the most frequently used kitchen components, the truth is that it varies for everyone. When it comes to planning your layout, give careful considerations to the appliances you use the most and where they’ll be placed for easiest access. For some, the microwave will get a better workout than the cooktop, so it needs to be more readily accessible, and for many, a dishwasher will end up serving you more than the sink. “In terms of practicality, with dishwashers and sinks, always place a bin drawer on one side of the sink and a dishwasher on the other, making it ergonomic to scrape, rinse and stack,” says Naomi Nimmo.

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Storage

Sinks, appliances and bench space are all essential elements in an efficient kitchen floor plan, but don’t forget to plan for adequate storage. If you’re tossing up between cupboards and drawers, try both. Opt for cupboards overhead and drawers under the bench.

“Even in the corners, we tend to design a lot more drawers,” says Naomi Nimmo. “Things can become very tricky to access in corner cupboards, so big deep drawers that you can access easily will far outweigh the small amount of space you save using cupboards.

“Always make sure you’ve got a bank of drawers somewhere behind the dishwasher, so when you're unpacking it, you're not having to walk around the island or the other side of the kitchen to put your plates away.”

ipad sitting on bench showing new kitchen layout design blueprint

Shape

An open-plan kitchen with a generous island bench is by far the most popular layout design in Australian homes right now. “An Island in a large open space creates a hub in the kitchen, and it also allows people to move around the space, so you're not closed in,” explains Naomi Nimmo. “An island doubles up as the bench where the kids want to come after school and do their homework, or where you might want to jump on your laptop, or even to use it as a big buffet when you’re entertaining,” she adds. Her tip? “Avoid having your sink in the island – once you put a sink in the mix it becomes cluttered with water spraying everywhere, and dirty dishes piling up around.”

Not everyone has the luxury of ample square metres, but there’s still a solution to suit your needs. “An L-shaped kitchen is a popular layout for small spaces,” says Philip Ryder, Kinsman Kitchens Store and Product Manager. “It lends itself to open-plan living and dining as it offers a wider area of floor space than a galley kitchen, allowing more people to be moving in it without crowding.”

Traffic Flow

Imagine yourself cooking a meal, in the thick of turning a steak or stirring a risotto. When things start to heat up, you don’t want to be interrupted by other people squeezing past or reaching over you. When you’re sketching out your kitchen floor plan, try to group appliances according to how it’s used. Prioritise placing your fridge, kettle and coffee machine near an entry point where people can easily help themselves without getting in the way of the cook. You also want to make sure that appliances themselves aren’t in the way. “If you're in a smaller kitchen, you wouldn't have a dishwasher right at the end where people are walking in and out, as they will trip over the door when it’s open,” says Naomi Nimmo.

For more advice, tips and inspiration on planning your new kitchen - be sure to visit Kinsman Kitchens and our home renovation ideas and Kitchen Design pages.

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