Building the Best Cooking Area

Begin with an eye to good function and maximum safety to build the perfect cooking station.

kde1204_2a_hearth

Whether you choose a traditional look, like this inviting hearth, or a clean, contemporary style, the cooking area is the heart of the kitchen.

Well-designed cooking areas share the same attributes: a high-quality cooking surface with a minimum of 24 inches on either side — one side for food prep and one for a "landing space" for hot pots; a cooking space located between prep and cleanup areas but out of high-traffic zones; and a well-designed ventilation system.

  • The cooktop is the centerpiece of the kitchen, and commercial quality cookers have become popular for residential applications.
  • Hoods cover ventilation systems and come in a variety of strengths, depending on the heat generated by the cooktop. They have unlimited design possibilities, including a stone hearths, to copper and other metals, to glass.
  • Down draft systems, many of which lower when not in use, provide needed ventilation without the look of a hood.
  • Store spices and ingredients as well as pots and pans conveniently close to the cooktop.
  • Natural materials like stone are the most heat-resistant and are smart choices for counters and surfaces near the heat generated by the cooktop.
  • Choose a backsplash material that is easy to clean since it will be exposed to grease and grime. Good choices include natural stone, stainless steel and sealed tiles.
  • Be sure the work space is well lit. Recessed cans in the ceiling provide a shadowless light, while halogens have a clean bright light. Tungsten lamps provide both heat and light and can be used to keep foods warm.
  • For a traditional look, choose rough textured materials like stone, wood and stucco.
  • For a sexy, contemporary space, consider metals and glass with clean edges and simple designs. Glossy surfaces work well.

Next Up

Catch Up With Our Blogs

We're serving up the latest news, gorgeous style, crafty DIY projects, clever entertaining tips and more. Consider these your design digests.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.