Interior Thinking: Kitchen Efficiency

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By Robin Meyer

Planning your kitchen layout is essential for being happy in your space.Kitchen makeovers are gaining in popularity and good planning will help you maximize the effectiveness of yours. Most people get caught up in the excitement of new appliances, counter-tops and flooring, but if you’re going to build or remodel a home, there are many things to consider.

Have you heard of triangle configuration in a kitchen? It is the spacing between the sink, refrigerator and the range. The sum of the triangle’s three sides should not exceed twenty-six feet, and each leg should measure between four to nine feet. Of course, there are exceptions, depending on the size of your overall space. I always like to make sure there is no “bumping space” between the cooking area and the sink or dishwasher. It’s hard for two people to work in a space back to back.

Think about the other appliances that will go in your kitchen. If you want to have a cook-top and not a range with the oven underneath, you will need the ovens on the wall. Where will you put the microwave? A microwave drawer is a great option. They are so convenient and there are good options for placement, perhaps an island or base cabinet. The layout of your cabinet storage is also important for kitchen efficiency. Putting plastic or glass storage containers near the refrigerator is convenient, and I find stacking them in drawers will help with finding the always-elusive container lids. Pull-out out shelves are good for placing your pots and pans. I used to hate looking for the cookie sheets in a cabinet or drawer because the one I needed was always on the bottom. Now I use a narrow cabinet with vertical dividers to help organize my cookie sheets and baking pans.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the younger children in the family could help unload the dishwasher and put away the dinner plates? Having dish drawers with pegs as separators may just give you a little extra help. Are your counter-tops too cluttered? Build an appliance garage. They can hide toasters, mixers, blenders, etc., and are perfect for corners below the upper cabinets.

When starting from scratch or remodeling your kitchen is not an option, there are still many great products to help organize your kitchen. If you have an older home, the bottom cabinets may not have been equipped with pull-out shelving. Or maybe you have a base cabinet that has no shelves and all you can do is stack items on top of each other. Try retro-fitting pull out shelving and dividers into your existing cabinets. You can find many different kinds of cabinet accessories at your local home improvement store or online that can make your life a bit easier.

Take time to think about your kitchen space. Sit down with your designer or cabinet maker and give your input on how you use your kitchen. It is the most used space in your home, so give yourself the luxury of having it work for you.

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