While having a good-looking kitchen is very important, if it’s not functional, the aesthetics won’t mean a thing. There are certainly precise rules to follow to achieve the ideal kitchen design and layout. That’s where a qualified and experienced kitchen designer comes in – they can show you a range of clever kitchen layout ideas that will work to make your kitchen totally liveable and functional, so that you get the most out of your space.

Ergonomics

A kitchen is quite possibly the most-used room in the house, with high traffic from household members, so good ergonomics are absolutely essential to avoid daily frustrations. Ergonomics, the science of designing the environment to fit the people who use it, plays a role in ensuring that kitchen benchtop and cupboard heights are correct, that there’s enough space to move around comfortably, appliances are placed in the right positions and the space is, overall, easy to use.

As a starting point, many designers place the kitchen sink and plan their design and layout around this. Ideally, the sink should have a view, or be part of the kitchen island.

Clear zones for cooking, meal preparation and circulation are must-haves in any functional kitchen layout. The cooking and food preparation zone should also utilise decent bench space with the cooktop, oven and sink. A kitchen designer can also inform you on safety concerns such as accessing under-bench ovens and reaching overhead cupboards.

It’s also important to have easy and unobstructed flow between the most-used appliances, and the right amount of room between workspaces. Kitchen fixtures and appliances shouldn’t be too far away from each other. For example, a fridge that’s far away from the stove will just complicate meal preparation. The main pathway into the kitchen also shouldn’t be obstructed by an open fridge or oven door.

If you have a kitchen island, its location is also important – it shouldn’t block important appliances such as dishwashers, ovens and refrigerators, but it should still be easily accessible.

Which layout will best work for you?

One of the key elements when it comes to a kitchen’s layout is designing to maximise the space and flow of movement. Deciding what layout will best work for you is the foundation of an organised kitchen, and depends on the shape and size of your space, and the budget that you have to work with.

There are many different shapes of layouts – including galley, one wall, U-shaped, L-shaped, island and peninsula/G-shaped – and your kitchen designer will recommend the best layout to suit your existing space and the way that you and your family live.

A large open-plan layout will suit a vast space, while a U-shape design can suit compact apartment living, as well as larger kitchens and families who spend a lot of time in the kitchen. The U-shaped kitchen offers lots of workspace and storage, with the layout including three walls and one point for entry. A gap of 1500mm is needed between surface areas for ease of movement.

Galley style is a contemporary kitchen design – it’s a clever and functional option for smaller rectangular spaces, and allows everything within easy reach, as cabinets and appliances run in parallel along both sides of the kitchen. To optimise flow of this particular layout, both sides of the kitchen are usually between 1200mm to 1800mm apart.

L-shaped kitchens suit long rooms, smaller areas, medium-sized spaces and open-plan living areas. Versatile and practical, they provide great benchtop space and allow freedom of movement around the kitchen. The layout runs along two walls, with minimum dimensions being 3500mm x 900mm. The main features such as fridge, ovens and pantry cupboards tend to run along one side of a wall.

L-shaped island kitchens suit larger, more spacious kitchens and are very popular with homeowners who like to entertain, as it allows interaction with guests while cooking. It’s generally characterised by one back wall and an island bench giving dual access to the kitchen. The ideal minimum length for an island bench is 3200m.

Straight-line kitchens are ideal for small and narrow spaces, but can also suit larger kitchen designs. It’s not only simple, but can be an inexpensive layout solution.

Peninsula/G-shaped kitchens are characterised by their single entry and combine a back wall and island bench that’s attached to a return. This kitchen style particularly suits smaller, open-plan homes.

Clever layout concepts

The Kitchen Work Triangle concept determines efficient, aesthetic and functional kitchen layouts and can be incorporated in a number of kitchen designs and layouts. By drawing three imaginary lines and creating a triangle between the three primary tasks – the cooktop, sink and refrigerator – the kitchen will be optimised. The most effective work spaces allow 1200mm between each of these stations, which minimises movement in the kitchen, as well as interruptions to those who are cooking.

Another organisation technique is the Five Kitchen Zones. Planning a kitchen into zones – consumables, non-consumables, cleaning, preparation and cooking – minimises walking back and forth and allows items to be nearby, creating better work flow and saving both time and energy.

For assistance when deciding on the best design and layout for your kitchen, speak to the design experts at Art of Kitchens.