How to Plan Your Dream Kitchen - A Complete Blueprint

Kitchen-planning is merely an exacting game of logic. You are given four wall of predetermined size, a set of rules which are more than common sense, and a list of items which have to be set in the space between the four walls. There is always the best possible solution, and it is up to you to find it.

This is a serious hub. It has to be. After all designing a kitchen is serious business. The most used (abused?) area, in my home, the kitchen planning in the past, was treated only as a functional space, with little or no importance given to its aesthetics. However, all that is changing. Today the emphasis is on creating a work space that balances practicality with personality.

It has been said that ‘a well-planned, well-equipped kitchen is an asset to any home, and truly worthwhile investment, as it makes cooking a pleasure and household tasks less of a chore. Noting is closer to truth than this and nothing easier to achieve, provided it is done systematically, patiently and innovatively.

In the following hub we will discuss general and vital aspects of kitchen design planning. These are the ground rules that one must follow. The prefect recipe for the perfect kitchen.

PLANNING

A good kitchen design must cater to a family’s lifestyle, their eating habits and entertainment patterns. Therefore start by making an exhaustive list of all the requirements exclusive to your family. To get clearer picture of your kitchen priorities, consider the following questions kitchen design plans:

•What is your family structure?
Whether you are a nuclear family, a single person, a couple or live in a joint family, your storage requirements will be distinct. Also determine the age structure of the family members, as requirement change according to the different ages.

•What is your storage pattern?
Do you store essential items on a weekly/monthly or yearly basis? This will help determine the amount of cupboard space you will need.

•How frequently do you entertain?
Your entertainment pattern. This affects the kind of storage, counter area, size of fridge and the appliances you need.

•What is your budget?
Determining your budget will have a bearing on the kind of structural work, materials and kitchen appliances one can adopt.

According to kitchen designer the ideal budget while refurbishing your kitchen would be tentatively 10 percent of the value of your property.

WORK TRINAGLE

The basic activities in every kitchen are cooking, storing, preparation and washing and a design that makes for a smooth integration of these function, leads to great economy of effort. The first step towards this is, determining the work triangle, which has been defined as, ‘the graphic representation of a logical and economic work sequence’. A good triangle is that where one does not have to retrace steps too often during the normal cooking process and there is continuity in kitchen activity. The route should also not be interrupted by doors.

Its vertices indicate the placement of the storage (refrigerator), cooking and preparation (sink) areas. The sides of the triangle are the extensions of the work surface and determine traffic routes.Designers advise that the storage cabinets for groceries and the fridge should be situated close to the entrance so that shopping can be put away easily.

The next point is the preparation (sink) area. This is the heavily used area; it should be placed away from all electrical gadgets and preferably near the window.The hob is the area where the actual cooking takes place. Ideally it should be placed between the sink and fridge.

All these points are linked by the work platform and are to be used in logical progression. The minimum distance between the various activity points should not be less than 3ft and ideally, the whole work triangle should add up to a continuous route of no more than 22ft. any less and the kitchen would be cramped, any more would make it a tiring place to work in.

LAYOUT

There are six basic types of kitchen layouts. Each has its distinct features and each will function efficiently within the given constraints of size and space. It is these dimensions and your specific needs that will determine the ideal layout for you.

The Straight Line – this is most suited for small narrow spaces. In this layout, all the work area is set against a single wall. The production chain is linear with the fridge, hob and sink placed one against the other. It is cost-effective and looks sleek. However it has some drawbacks. This kind of layout does not provide for adequate work and storage space. Also its work traffic pattern can get a little cumbersome.

The Galley – in this kitchen plan is flanked by work platforms on either side. The work triangle is distributed in this space. Many consider this to be an ideal layout in terms of efficiency. The only major drawback is that if the space is too narrow, it could lead to blocking of the traffic routes.

The U-shaped Kitchen – this type of design is ideal for a large space. It has platforms running along three walls, forming a U. this design provides for a lot of work and storage space. It also allows for the flexible placements of various appliances. However if the space between the platforms is too wide, the travel distance during a normal cooking process will be too long and could be tiring.

The L-shaped Kitchen – this is the contemporary kitchen design in India. The platform runs along two perpendicular walls, within which all the appliances are fitted. The principle of the work triangle can best be demonstrated in the kitchen. This is a good choice for an awkwardly-shaped room.

The Peninsular kitchen – again applicable to a large space, this layout has a unit free on three sides, with the fourth side perpendicular to the wall or to the other kitchen units. This independent side can be used as a breakfast counter.

The Island Kitchen – the distinct feature of this kitchen planning in that one of the points of the triangle is in the middle of the room. This type of plan requires a huge amount of space. This island can also double as a breakfast and informal dining area. Commercial kitchen planning

STANDARED MEASURENENTS

Next would be to determine your platform and unit size. Listed below are the standard measurements of all units. They can be adjusted according to your particular requirements and the heights of the person working in the kitchen. Kitchen remodeling plans
•    Height of counter-top from floor to work surface – 36"
•    Width of platform – 24inch
•    Thickness of stone used for platform – 1 ½ "
•    Thickness of platform skirting – 1"- 4"
•    Height of base unit – 34 ½ "
•    Width of base unit - 24"
•    Distance between platform and wall unit - 24"
•    Height of wall unit from counter - 18"
•    Width of wall unit - 9"-18"
•    Thickness of shelves – 3/4"
•    Maximum total height from the floor to overhead cabinets - 78"

LIGHTING

Good lighting is vital to the smooth functioning of a kitchen remodeling designand an appropriately lit kitchen is imperative for safety purposes. The most important kind of light is daylight. Architects reckon that the window area should be one tenth of the floor area, kitchen floor plans. To make maximum advantage of this light, enlarge existing windows and add on new ones, if possible. If not, make the existing ones transparent by opting for glass shutters and don’t obscure the view with any kind of window dressing.

For artificial light, one can choose between white and yellow light. White light is most effective, for both general and specific lighting. Fluorescent tubes fitted overhead are good ways of illuminating the work surface. They are economical, give even, shadow less light and are long-lasting. However they do tend to lend an antiseptic look to the room, but this can be minimized by a restrained use of yellow light. Ordinary light bulbs perform the function of ‘mood lighting’ and can be best used as spotlight and down-lighters.

All these three types of lighting can be used one at a time or in various combinations to get the desired effect in your kitchen. Also keep in mind that no light should be fitted directly over the hob, as it would be difficult to maintain.

SURFACE TREATMENTS

The three surfaces in the kitchen are – floor, splashback and platform. This aim should be to make your kitchen as maintenance-free as possible. Whatever treatment you decide on, it should be non-slip-pery, scratch-resistant and easy to clean kitchen planning service.

You can choose from a variety of tiles and stones (marble, granite etc.) for the kitchen floor plan, wall and platform. Marine ply is the ideal choice for the cabinets. Clad it with aluminum on the inside and laminate on the outside. This will ensure waterproofing.

The paint for the ceilings should be oil-based, washable and non-reflecting the colours of all the surface materials should blend as a whole and help create a cheerful ambience.

VINTILATION AND HEATING

The kitchen is an area which is synonymous with fumes, smoke and grease. Therefore one should provide for efficient ventilation and the best way of doing this is with large windows. Where this is not possible, exhaust fans and chimneys are practical alternatives.

One can choose from the variety the market has to offer but do remember that the exhaust should be placed close to the cooker and should have a separate plug point. If it is placed too far away from the hob, the fumes will travel through the entire room.

If you are planning on installing a chimney, the ducting has to be done in the initial stages of renovation itself, kitchen installer. It should be placed directly over the hob at a minimum distance of 24". Ideally, it should be fitted on an exterior wall.

In cooler places like hill stations, it is wise to provide for some form of supplementary heating in the kitchen to avoid condensation caused due to sudden swings in temperature.

STORAGE

It is said that there’s a world of difference between a basic kitchen and one that is tailored to suit the owner – the first is merely adequate, the second is a joy to use kitchen planning service.

The success of good kitchen design lies in devising a detailed storage strategy to makes the place functional and comfortable to work in despite existing constraints kitchen planning guide. No matter what the size of your kitchen, you can maximize your storage potential because kitchen storage is not about how much space you have, but how you use the given space.

The first rule is the keep it minimum rule. Discretion and a conscious effort to retain only essential items will go a long way in making the kitchen more functional. Apart from being an eyesore, a cluttered kitchen seriously hampers cooking activity. So give careful thought to the what, where and how aspects of storage.

ORGANISATION

Make a comprehensive list of all the items that will go into the kitchen. Differentiate between the essential daily items from the ones you rarely use. One logical way to decide what should go where is to follow the work triangle and arrange things so they will be conveniently at hand, at each stage of the food production chain.
At this stage decide on the kind of storage you want. The innumerable kitchen items can be housed using an open shelf arrangement, in closed cabinets or in a combination of both. Though open storage is more convenient and can look attractive, one based totally on this plan is not recommended for two reasons. Firstly, this kind of storage will accentuate the feeling of claustrophobia in a small space and secondly, it is difficult to maintain, as it collects dust and grime faster. Use it in conjunction with closed cabinets. The closed cabinets impart to the kitchen a neat and organized look. If you are opting for these kinds of units remember to keep the design simple, as an intricately patterned unit will be difficult to maintain.

Listed below are some points to be kept in mind while planning your storage:
•Shelves that take in the monthly groceries should be situated close to the entrance so that shopping can be put away easily. They should be deep enough to store large tins and tall enough when space permits.

•If space is at a premium and you have a free wall, it would be wise to build one large storage cupboard that will take in all the food items.

•The area near the hob can be storage intensive with cooking utensils, crockery and daily used spices and groceries placed here.

•Tings such as cling wrap, paper towel, foil, daily used spices, knife blocks and chopping board are best kept in the open.

•The cylinder should be placed on a shelf with castors near the range and enclosed in a cabinet which has perforated shutters.
 
•The wall units have to be at a minimum distance of 24" from and on either side of the cooking stove or should have a depth which is at least 6" less than that of the plat form. These can be used to store grains which are used daily and delicate crockery. Small kitchen plans, these shelves can run up to ceiling height.

•The sink area is most water prone and all storage cabinets should be built with water-resistant materials. The shelves adjacent to or below the sink are good for keeping detergents and cleaning materials, plastic bags, mops etc. a waste bin can be fixed to the door of the cupboard below.
 
•If you need to incorporate the dishwasher and washing-machine in the kitchen, place them on either side of the sink as this will reduce your plumbing cost considerably.

•Directly above the sink place the dish-rack, preferably with an open base to let the water drip off the washed utensils. Also use aluminum cladding on the inside and for the different compartments in the cabinet. The geyser and the aqua-guard can be concealed in a separate near by cabinet. It is best to avoid any kind of electrical fittings or switches near this area.
 
•As far as possible all the base unit below the platform should be fixed on castors to facilitate easy retrieval of items and make cleaning easy. These cabinets are ideal to sore grain and other non-perishable items.

•The drawers below the counter should be compartmentalized in different size to accommodate varied ladles and cutlery. Wire-mesh and steel are good materials to use for partitions as they are easy to clean and do not rust.

•Clad all wooden shelves with laminate, polish or paint. Powder coated aluminum shelves are a good alternative and are both aesthetic and very practical.

•The thickness of wooden and glass shelves should be ¾" and 6-12 mm respectively. Glass shelves in wall units as it makes for easy viewing of items.
 
•Horizontal slits and perforations on cabinet shutters provide ventilation for items like potatoes, onions etc.

•Equipment like the blender, toaster, food processor etc. preferably each with a separate plug point, should be close to the cooking area.

•Try to give all electronic items a permanent shelf. If not, place them in shelves with trolleys.

•Slide-out wire mesh baskets and steel trays can be used to store vegetables and other edible items.

•Pull-out trays just below the plat form can double up as a chopping board, ironing-board or a breakfast table.

•Also make provision for hooks to hang spoons, cups, kitchen towels, aprons and gloves. A steel rod with hooks attached, running through the entire front of the platform can take care of most of these.

•No matter what kind of storage unit you opt for, shelf planning is a must. In every unit provide for specific shelves for each item. Measure their sizes so that a certain item will fit only in its own shelf. Thus the temptation to dump is reduced. Adjust most shelves on trolleys or channels so that an item can be lifted without disturbing the rest of the objects.

•Use corner space sensibly by either building a semicircular cabinet around it or placing open shelves. These cabinets can be fitted with adjustable wire mesh shelves.
Thus with a little imagination, lots of discretion and astute planning you will find that no matter how small or awkward your kitchen, a place for everything can be created.


KITCHEN APPLIANCES AND ACCESSORIES

The sink, tab, cooker, fridge, mixer are essential and commonplace items found in most kitchen units. When buying these items keep in mind the following things:

Fridge – you’re cooking habits, size of the family, how many perishable items you store etc. will determine the size of your fridge. The standard size for a family of four is about 180 cubic liters. The frost free varieties are convenient if you are a working person and do shopping in bulk. Opt for shelves that are flexible and are deep enough to accommodate large containers.

Sinks – stainless steel sinks are practical, durable, cost-effective and scratch-resistant. If space and budget permit go in for one with two bowls and drain boards attached.

Hob – a cooking range is a space – saver as it incorporates the grill and the oven. A hob with a stainless steel body and with an electric hot plate along with the gas burners is ideal.

FINDING YOUR STYLE

It is very important that when you set out to design your kitchen, you must see that it conforms to your lifestyle. As you are the one who is most aware of the requirements, you would be the best judge of what kind of planning strategy is adopted, how much working and storage space you need, what kind of finishes would be most applicable to your house etc.

Throwing to the winds all the myths that associate a kitchen with drudgery and boredom make your kitchen a glamorous and efficient workplace. Whatever style you adopt, do keep good workmanship high on your priority list. Planning a kitchen done otherwise, will not only be a breeding place for unwelcome pests, it will also dampen the ambience of the whole house itself.

Accessorize your kitchen with art, colourful knick-knacks, a portable television set, book, plants etc. now that you have the ground rules for obtaining that perfect kitchen planning, what are you waiting for? Go ahead, indulge!

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