The kitchen is the most difficult space in the house to design because appliances, equipment, working surfaces, and storage spaces must be carefully organized into a visually coherent and functional whole. To ensure a smoothly functioning kitchen for more than one occupant, it is necessary to synthesize a wide range of working and circulation scenarios. Fundamental to kitchen planning is the placement of three elements: the refrigerator, the sink, and the stove. These elements define the preparation zone, the washing zone, and the cooking zone. Together, the zones define the three points of the “working triangle.” In addition to mapping out a safe and efficient working triangle, interior designers must also consider storage requirements for the countless number of kitchen gadgets, dishes, and other accessories that are found in the contemporary kitchen.
The ideal total length of the segments that comprise the working triangle is 12 to 22 feet (3658 to 6 705 millimeters). The layouts that follow describe how the working triangle might be best arranged for the size and shape of a particular room.
The simplest kitchen organization is a single row of appliances and counter space arranged against a wall. This layout is ideal for long narrow rooms or one wall of a studio apartment where the kitchen can either be screened off or made the central focus of the space. The most practical plan should include counter space on both sides of each major appliance. The refrigerator should be placed at one end of the kitchen wall since it only needs counter space to one side-remember to specify a refrigerator with doors that open in the direction of the adjacent counter space.
A galley kitchen has two parallel runs of counters. The sink, dishwasher, and stove should be located on the same side of the kitchen (cooking and washing zones) and the refrigerator (the preparation zone) should be located on the opposite wall. The counters should be at least 4 feet (1 219 millimeters) apart to provide adequate room for more than one cook; if the kitchen is designed for only one cook, the space between counters can be reduced to 3 feet (914 millimeters). This layout is not recommended if other rooms are accessed through the kitchen.
L-shaped or U-shaped Kitchens
In these layouts, the counters and appliances are organized around two or three walls. This arrangement can work in either small or large spaces; however, in larger rooms the working triangle should be kept within the optimal range of 12 to 22 feet (3658 to 6 705 millimeters). Often in these arrangements, one leg of the L or the U forms a counter, which is ideal for casual meals. In this scenario, it is best to design a higher counter to separate the cooking zone from the eating zone.
A central workstation provides extra space for performing various culinary tasks. Depending on the preferences of the cook, the island can be designed for either preparing or cooking a meal. Of all the layouts, this arrangement encourages the most socializing in the kitchen. It is best used in large rooms that allow enough space between counters and island.
The washing zone is primarily made up of the sink and dishwasher. Ideally, the sink has two compartments for washing and rinsing. The dishwasher should be placed immediately adjacent to the sink but carefully located so that there is enough room to wash dishes in the sink while the dishwasher is open. If the kitchen does not have a dishwasher, a drying rack should be located above the counter so that it does not take up critical counter space.
It is also important to have a waste bin close to the sink for disposing of trash prior to washing dishes. Trash receptacles are often located behind a cabinet door and underneath the sink to avoid visual clutter. Layout the cabinet for the trash can so that the cabinet door, when open, does block the open dishwasher. To avoid this conflict, incorporate the trash cabinet on the opposite side of the sink from the dishwasher.
The preparation zone consists of the refrigerator and an adjacent counter-height workspace for preparing food. The refrigerator should be placed in close proximity to the pantry so that perishable and nonperishable foods are both easily accessible from the food preparation workspace. There are many refrigerator/freezer combinations, each suitable for particular spaces and types of users. The size of the refrigerator should be directly proportional to the size of the kitchen.
Different types of tasks are best performed on different types of surfaces: For instance, marble slabs are best for rolling out pastries, while wood counters are best for chopping. These surfaces can be incorporated into the countertops or not, depending on the size of kitchen, the preferences of the cook, and the budget. Other common counter surfaces include granite, engineered quartz, concrete, stainless steel, wood, tile, acrylic solid surfacing, and plastic laminate.
|Double Sink||28″-54″ (711-1 372)||14″-21″ (356-533)||7″-8″ (178-203)|
|Sink||14″-32″ (356-813)||14″-21″ (356-533)||7″-8″ (178-203)|
|Dishwasher||24″(610)||24″-25″ (610-635)||33″-35″ (838-889)|
|B. Freezer||29″-36″ (787-914)||25″-33″ (635-838)||66″-84″ (1 676-2 134)|
|Side-by-Side||30″-36″ (762-914)||29″-33″ (737-838)||64″-69″ (1 626-753)|
The cooking zone consists of the stove or a combination of a cooktop and wall oven. In smaller kitchens, a stove is the most efficient choice. In larger kitchens, a separate cooktop and wall oven is more desirable. In either arrangement, there must be sufficient heat-resistant counter space on both sides of the cooktop. Pots and pans should also be stored immediately adjacent for easy access while cooking. A minimum aisle clearance of 36 inches (914 millimeters) is required in front of the cooktop.
It is important to select the appropriate type of cooktop ventilation system: either a system that recycles air through a charcoal filter or a system that removes smoke through a duct vented to an exterior wall. Ventilating exhaust directly to the exterior is preferred but may not be practical in multifamily residential buildings.
|Cooktop||24″-37″ (610-940)||21 “-27” (533-686)||3″-8″ (76-203)|
|Range||21″-40″ (533-1 016)||24″-28″ (610-711)||36″-46″ (914-1 168)|
|Wall Oven||22″-30″ (559-762)||22″-24″ (559-610)||28″-48″ (711-1 219)|
Standard kitchen appliances are 35 inches (889 millimeters) high and typically have adjustable feet to help align them with adjacent countertops. Most appliances have a built-in toe space that ranges from 2 to 4 inches (51 to 102 millimeters) from the floor to accommodate the front of the feet when reaching to the back of the appliance. Adjacent cupboards should be designed with these basic dimensions in mind.
A minimum clear vertical height of 16 inches (406 millimeters) is recommended between the work surface and bottom of wall cabinets. On upper cabinets, doors should have 180-degree hinges so that no one bangs their head on the doors when open. Lift-up doors can also solve this problem.