The best kitchens often have a few key organizational principles at work behind them; this is what separates the truly functional kitchen from one that is just okay. We'll outline some of the most important elements that go into a super functional kitchen so you too can have a space you'll love to cook and entertain in!
The true hallmark of any functional kitchen is the working triangle, a theory also sometimes known as the "golden triangle" or the "kitchen triangle". Basically, the kitchen's three main work areas—the sink, refrigerator and stove—should form this shape. Why? It makes moving between the tasks typically done in a kitchen (fetching things from the fridge; washing, chopping and peeling near the sink; and cooking at the stove) easier and faster to do. Everyone wants to save time in the kitchen! Ideally nothing should impede the triangle or stop the flow.
Say goodbye to clutter! For a kitchen to be truly functional, no matter what the square footage, ample storage space is a must. Start by maximizing your cabinetry—run it all the way to the ceiling if you can. Use every drawer and cabinet well; they are second-to-none when it comes to hiding pots, pans, dishes, drinkware, small appliances, serving dishes and cooking supplies. Where possible, try to make the most out of dead space; there are so many customization options on the market today, even the most awkward corner cabinets can be useful!
While we may not all be blessed with a run of super long countertops, there's still much that can be done in even the tiniest kitchens. One of the tricks found in the most functional kitchens is remarkably simple: counter space that is useable! This means not only avoiding clutter, but being really strategic about where you store things. Many homeowners, for instance, prefer not to look at their collection of small kitchen appliances all the time; they take up too much visual space. Creating an appliance garage—a cupboard or a set of drawers where you park all of your smaller, countertop appliances neatly out of sight—clears off all your counters, leaving you with a clear, open and inviting workspace.
Good lighting can take an already functional kitchen from great to glorious, and layers of lighting are the best way to go. Overhead illumination provided by potlights allows for dimmable light, which is key to creating atmosphere in the evenings. Under-cabinet lighting will help you get the most out of every inch of countertop you have. Finally, specific task lighting is essential; it's also an area you can have fun with and express your design aesthetic!
For a kitchen to be truly functional, you need a place to sit! Just because every kitchen needs seating doesn't mean you can't get creative about it. Figure out how much you'll need and try to plan the layout so that it doesn't interfere with work getting done. A kitchen can be a busy place with a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between the cook, helpers and guests, so if possible try to carve out a little space that is away from the fray. That way you can make incredible meals and enjoy them in just as incredible a spot!
Islands do so much for the modern kitchen it's hard to imagine what we ever did without them! Yet for a really functional kitchen, the placement of the island is critical. To ensure your kitchen has a great sense of flow, your island will need to have sufficient clearance on all sides; this will let guests be able to move around freely and not get in the host's way. Anywhere from 36" to 48" is ideal: 36" is fine if you simply need space to walk between the island and the countertop; if your island contains a sink or a dishwasher, 48" is preferred. Get this detail right and you'll keep the party moving!
Follow these great tips and you'll soon have the kitchen of your dreams. Remember, it's not about size; it's about creating an open feeling that invites you in. Thanks for reading and don't forget to follow the Marina Homes blog for more great tips on kitchen design!