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Design Tips

The more money you spend on a renovation project, the more important the design becomes.  A poor design will work against you for the rest of your life.  A good design will minimize distances between essential appliances, optimize working areas and packing space, as well as be aesthetically pleasing.

Let's elaborate a little bit, focussing on different rooms. 

Kitchen Design Tips
2008-12-28 05:30:26 AM

You might have heard of the kitchen triangle where one would try to minimize the distance between the three main areas of the kitchen, namely the oven, the sink and the fridge.

This is helpful as a starting point, but has its origin in the 1950's when open plan kitchens did not exist, nor did microwave ovens, extractors, prep bowls, sophisticated hinges and drawer runners, etc.  Recent studies in the field of kitchen layout has evolved a lot since then.

For a start one can divide the kitchen into 5 functional areas or zones:


Cooking area:

  • Oven
  • Hob
  • Extractor
  • Microwave oven
  • Pot drawers
  • Pull-out spice unit 

Cleaning area:

  • Sink
  • Dishwasher
  • Washing machine
  • Tumble dryer
  • Dish rack inside cupboard
  • Household cleaners

Preparation area:

  • Cutlery drawers
  • Prep bowl
  • Veggie baskets
  • Pull-out bin
  • Appliance garage
  • Cutting board
  • Bookshelves (cookbooks)

Storage for consumables:

  • Grocery cupboards
  • Corner pantry
  • Fridge and freezer
  • Wine racks

Storage for non-consumables:

  • Cupboards for crockery, utencils, etc.
  • Display cupboards
  • Floating shelves
  • Broom cupboard 


From the list above one can see a logical grouping of functions.  However, each kitchen is different and these guidelines should be adapted to suit your own taste. 

Think about your own layout

Example 1 - Returning from the shops:  You come home from shopping.  Do you enter at your front door, back door or through the garage?  After entering the kitchen you need a work surface to put the shopping bags down.  Here you would sort them for storage or usage.  Near this surface you need storage space for consumables (grocery cupboards, fridge and freezer).  

Example 2 - Cooking:  You want to start cooking.  You will be using the preparation area for rinsing, peeling and chopping vegetables.  Where do you store your veggies?  Are your knives in a drawer nearby?  Do you need a seperate prep bowl for rinsing?  Should we try to have the bin nearby to throw away the peels?  

After preparing the food, you will be moving to the adjacent cooking area.  Try to accommodate some pot drawers nearby.  Do you prefer an eye-level oven, an under-counter oven or a freestanding oven.  Do you have enough space on either side of the cooking surface?  A cramped up cooking area can be dangerous.  Can you reach your spices easily, or are you walking across the kitchen to fetch them?

Example 3 - Cleaning: Can you easily move soiled pots and utencils to the wash-up area?  Do you perhaps want it out of sight (around a corner) or is it better to have it close to your cooking area?  If you are a regular entertainer, you might want it out of sight.  If you're a busy mom of four, you might need it more central, so that you can keep an eye on the kids while washing up.  

Be sure to view the kitchen section of our photo gallery for some great pictures.