Make Your Kitchen Work For You

Arrange the space in your kitchen based on your needs
By: Jenny Deam

IKEA_Space-Article1-family-cooking-meal_s4x3

Before the first sketch is drawn or check written the most important step in good kitchen space-planning is an honest assessment of your life. “You should always start by asking yourself how you will use the kitchen and how often,” says Richard Edic, owner of Richard Edic Designs in Rochester, N.Y., and co-author of Kitchens That Work.

Do you channel Julia Child or is picking up take-out the food prep of choice? Is sitting down to a family meal non-negotiable or do you eat in shifts to accommodate busy schedules? When planning a new kitchen, think about what didn’t work in the old one. With the average cost of a mid-range kitchen remodel topping $40,000 you can’t afford to make the same mistakes twice.

Storing Your Tools

For the serious cook the kitchen should be like a workshop. Tools of the trade should be easily accessible. Consider open shelving; pull-out storage may work better than traditional cabinets. Think about hanging pots and pans from a rack. The rule of thumb is pans should hang at roughly the height of the range hood but placement can be adjusted to fit the height of the cook without stretching.

Dual Work Zones

The latest trend in kitchen-space planning is making dual work zones to accommodate multiple cooks. You can do this by adding a second sink or carving out a niche for dedicated tasks such as chopping or pastry making. You don’t need a huge kitchen. The best restaurant kitchens in the world often have many people working in tiny spaces yet there are few pile-ups because each person has their own task and workspace to accommodate it.

Still, some congestion is inevitable. The National Kitchen & Bath Association recommends the aisle space of a galley or island-design kitchen be widened from the traditional 42 to 48 inches to make room for multiple cooks.

Kid-friendly Considerations

Deleigh Van Deursen, a residential design specialist for R. Bratti and Associates in Alexandria, Va., suggests putting the refrigerator on the outer edge of the room, since children will gravitate toward it. When picking materials for a family kitchen, think durability. Wood grain cabinets hide nicks and fingerprints better than smooth surfaces such as lacquer. Patterned countertops are also a good choice to hide everyday messes.

Customization for a Non-cook

If your kitchen is more decorative than utilitarian, you can still customize its layout to meet your needs. For frequent entertainers, design a place to serve drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Edic suggests a wide island to give guests a place to congregate and allows for better food display. Consider skipping an expensive range and splurge on an item that fits your lifestyle. If you love exotic coffee or good wine, think about incorporating a coffee station or wine cooler into the design.

Next Up

10 Best-Kept Secrets for Buying a Home

Get the most out of your money with these handy home-buying tips.

Top 6 Kitchen Layouts

Learn about different layouts, like L-shaped, one-wall and galley kitchens, and download templates for your renovation.

Options for Painting the Kitchen

Discover options for painting your kitchen.

The Psychology of Color

Use color as a mood-lifting design tool that evokes calm, drama, cheer or comfort.

Determine Your Child's Needs

Before you begin planning your child's room, think about what they will need to sleep, play and grow.

Galley Kitchen Designs

Find out more information about galley kitchen designs with this article that details everything you need to know about this popular kitchen layout.

Painting Kitchen Backsplashes

Find out everything you need to know about painting your kitchen backsplash, plus our favorite techniques to inspire your next DIY project.

Quick Tips for Home Organization

Try these quick home organization tips for maintaining a clutter-free home from basement to attic.

10 Tips for Decorating Your Home Office

Work in style in a beautiful and functional home office.

Top Kitchen Design Styles

From contemporary to cottage, today's most popular looks inspire beautiful kitchen designs.

Go Shopping

Refresh your home with stylish products handpicked by HGTV editors.

Follow Us Everywhere

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