Kitchen
Design Guide

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Everything You Need to Know About Kitchens

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Are you in the design phase? Take a moment and make sure that you have thought about these design tips. If you are done with the first two steps, then you must have a detailed layout and a storage plan of you kitchen.

Five check points that finalize your design before you get ready for manufacturing.

 

1. Wall clearance

Make sure your lower kitchen cabinets have clearance from the walls. Plumbing pipes and water leaks are mostly located in the lower area of you kitchen walls. If by any chance there is moisture, this clearance will make sure that your cabinets will not be affected.

 

2. Plastic stands

The main objective when installing kitchen cabinets is to isolate them from any water risks especially on the long run. Plastic stands provide safe contact points between cabinets and the ground. They also allow for accurate height setup that will be very handy during cabinets and counter tops installations.

 

3. Counter top Extensions

As you are planning for your counter tops, make sure they are extended at least 2 cm beyond cabinet doors. Any liquid spills won’t go on your cabinet doors.

 

4. Appliances ventilation

Safe ventilation for appliances is a mandatory feature in your kitchen. The main concept is that hot air travels upward.If you have cabinets above the fridge, enough clearance is left between the cabinet and the back wall. Built in oven and microwaves must have sufficient ventilation.

 

5. Over-head sink cabinet clearance

One feature that is often skimmed over is over sink clearance. When using the sink it requires you to bend towards it, and as a result top cabinets can be an obstacle. It also minimizes sight vision if the position of the sink and the top cabinet is not thought of carefully.

Kitchen planning is by far the most important phase of your Kitchen product. This planning stage should not be rushed and must be given a lot of thinking. Even before the design, your planning will make sure that you are getting what you wish for before going off track during the next phases.

   

Kitchen products have many processes that can get very complicated when things start to go in opposite directions such as giving wok space versus storage areas. The main key points that you must plan for are:

 

          Project framework

          Work Stations

          Kitchen items

          Storage areas

          Lighting and ventilation

 

 

    1. Project framework

 

This is the time when you decide on the context of your final product. What the scale of work will be, for example do you have plumbing, electrical or even construction work such as changing doorways or windows. Are you remodeling your kitchen or starting a whole new project? Start deciding on whether you want your kitchen a place to socialize or will it host big family dinners and so on. Decide on your budget and know your maximum limits. This step will put you on solid ground before diving into your research.

 

 

   2. Workstations

 

Planning your workstations is a very smart thing to do. Knowing how many are using the kitchen and if you have a dishwasher and perhaps want an extra sink beside it. Do you spend a lot of time in food preparation and want a comfortable working area, or you bake a lot and need more space for your hot appliances. This will give you very productive and efficient effort while you are in your kitchen.

 

 

   3. Kitchen items

 

Believe or not nowadays kitchen items have endless lists and with the vast choices of new products in the market our list is always getting bigger and bigger. Make a list of your kitchen essentials and don’t get into the habit of having items without planning when you will use it, where to store, and how to decide on disposing it. De cluttering and organizing skills are very helpful and will make you enjoy the whole kitchen experience.

 

 

   4. Storage areas

 

Here comes the part where most people skim through without giving it the special attention it needs. Most cabinets will have lost areas due to bad reach or have poor dimensions relevant to the items being stored. Storage space, reach and visibility are all part of the equation when calculating and deciding on your storage.

 

 

   4. Lighting and ventilation

 

As kitchens are mostly accompanied with hard work, they must be planned for good working conditions. Provide good and sufficient lighting especially in work areas. Also if it is possible to have as much natural light going in to the kitchen, it will give positive energy into the space. Ventilation is a major factor of your design. Temperatures can get very high; vapors and smoke will make the scene more dramatic. You can also plan for your natural gas piping system at this stage.  

If you are planning for a new kitchen or kitchen renovation, get yourself prepared. Don’t rush into it because it can get very complicated and any change in plan can be very hard and costly once you have started. Get yourself a notebook and start taking notes throughout your mission. It is a very good idea to be on track even if you have a professional doing the job.

 

Here is a procedure checklist to guide you through and keep things in sequence and order.

 

Getting Ready

 

1. Brainstorm

Look up photos and take notes. What do you like and what to avoid? Discuss with someone. Write a wish list.

 

2.Determine Scope

What is included in your project and how far are you willing to go?

Can you make some electric modifications or need plumbing jobs? Do you intend to have a new collection of cabinets or just adding a few of them? Do you want a nook in your kitchen? Still have the option to choose wall tiles? You get the picture now go on…

 

3.Kitchen Utensil List

You should have a list of everything that goes in your kitchen. You don’t want to have non preferable choices when it is time to start putting things in your kitchen.Good planning will make sure you have a pleasant experience throughout.

Check out our ready lists here.

 

4. De-clutter your stuff

Just make sure that it doesn’t get messy. Do not have multiples of any items that do the same job. Try to keep it practical. You can check out De-cluttering Your Kitchen here.

 

Start Designing

 

5. Layout

Get settled on your work stations. Decide on your appliances location and please read the rules and dimensions in our Kitchen Design Guide. You can choose a layout now but be aware that all of the above in addition to windows, doors, pathways, etc. will limit your choices.

 

6.Kitchen Appliances

Now you can select your appliances. Have your tour in stores and get your dimensions ready.

 

7.Kitchen Organization

This is where you have got to start thinking about where things go in your kitchen. Group items and assign places for them. Off course this has to be done in accordance with the working stations. Now you can decide your drawers, standing cabinets, etc. with confidence.

 

8. 3D Design

Get started with the 3D layout sketch. It is getting real now.

 

9.Lighting, Electric outlets and Ventilation

Everything is getting in order now. Take your time here because you might go back and iterate some steps if you want to make sure they are done right.

 

10. Color Palette

Choose your kitchen colors, door styles and create that overall mood.

 

11. Assemble your Kitchen

Yeah!!! You are almost done.

In order: Cabinets, Countertops, Appliances, Lighting, Cabinet doors

 

12. Maintenance Schedule

Do not skip this step. If you want to hold on to your success you have got to make sure that you know how to keep your kitchen in good shape. Check out Kitchen Maintenance.

 Small kitchens are very tricky and need extra precautions for all its elements. You need to pay attention to minor details and be able to make smart decisions in your design phase. As you know by now kitchens need not only to look fabulous but also to be very functional. Professional help will be very handy or make sure you are familiar with the basic concepts before you start.

 

Here are the major key points that will make you get the most out of your small kitchen.

 

Kitchen Appliances

 

You can manage to fit 6 people in a compact sedan but you definitely can’t fit 10 people. Don’t go big on your major appliances like the fridge and oven. These appliances are not only big in size but require space around them for doorways they also need enough counter top space for practical usage.

 

Please read our provided Design Guide to know minimum space area for each appliance. We have also provided a list of all small electric appliances with average facts for you to think wisely about where and how to store in your kitchen.

 

Kitchen organization

 

It is absolutely important and the sooner you think of it in your design phase the better the result will be. Make a list of all your kitchen utensils and accessories. Now you must think about size, count and functionality.

  • Do you really need 6 pots?

  • What will you use an 8 quart pot for?

  • How many knives do I need? and what type?

Don’t stop here, you must think of when will you get rid of an item or decide to replace it. You must be aware that once you get your kitchen ready, anything new that goes in there must be an item that goes out. You are better off now to decide on drawers and cabinet types.

 

Kitchen Accessories

 

Storage accessories will let you get the maximum storage capacity out of your cabinets. You certainly need every inch of that storage space and you better use it wisely. Don’t go fancy with them. Keep it simple and practical. Clutter is your worst enemy in your small kitchen.

 

Lighting

 

Good lighting is a must for good working conditions, and together with bright colors they will make your kitchen seem a bit bigger. They will give the feeling of that comfortable space that you need. Don’t forget!! Keep it neat and clean and you will enjoy your time in the kitchen.

 

Design Features

 

Try to have glass doors for your upper cabinets. You can also have inner lighting in them and bring that extra depth in the whole picture. You can also bring the ceiling closer by an offset false ceiling. Add reflective surfaces as counter tops and walls.

We are sure that somewhere along the way of your kitchen journey you will come across storage accessories. Whether you are caught up for a fancy looking kitchen or looking for gadgets that make your storage experience easier, you must watch out not to choose one with poor functionality and durability.

 

Storage accessories can be very expensive and are sometimes integrated in kitchen cabinets which make them hard to take off later on. We have divided them into 4 categories.

 

1.  Swivel storage accessories are designed for hidden storage space that is hard to reach. Whether they include complicated or simple mechanism, parts have to be well engineered. Smooth, firm and, durable are the three main characteristics that will not come cheap. One rule to remember while choosing, the bigger they are the higher quality they have to be and the more you have to invest.

 

2.  Sliding accessories are very practical and user friendly. There is a large variety of sizes and rack combination to suite all uses. Stainless steel baskets are the best option for onions, potatoes, and garlic. Other units are excellent for sink cabinets. Sliding accessories are definitely a smart choice to have in your kitchen.

 

3.  Hanging accessories provide extra storage space. Whether on kitchen walls or inside the cabinets, these gadgets literally hold your stuff for you. Lids, towels, spices, scissors, mugs, pans and many more can easily be hung and make your kitchen experience very easy.

 

4.  Integrated storage accessories. They are used for plates and glass holders.

 

Kitchen accessories can bring your kitchen to a whole new dimension. They don’t only make it fancy and give it a sophisticated touch, but also upgrade the storage and ergonomics if utilized correctly. With the wide variety of kitchen accessories and their brands, an expert perspective is almost a certain factor when deciding on them.

 

If your next step is installing your kitchen, then congratulation you are about to be done. There is bad news for you though if you didn’t plan for them in your early design steps. Here is the list of appliances to get you going.

 

Fridge

 

Installing the fridge is straight forward. One rule you must know is that hot air travels upwards, so make sure you have an empty space above the fridge. If you have cabinets above it then they have to be narrow in depth and not directly in contact with the rear wall. This will allow for sufficient heat dissipation. Do not plug in the fridge unless it has been stand still for at least 10 min. You can also level it from the bottom screws.

 

Built in Ovens and Microwaves

 

Remember that one rule we talked about? Built in ovens require well designed heat dissipation to have them working safely. If they are placed in tall cabinets, the same empty space made for the fridge is also set for ovens. You have got to follow the heat path from the oven to a clear area and make sure that nothing is blocking the way. Tall cabinets touching the ceiling, off-set lowered ceiling, or upper cabinets that in contact with the back wall are all things to watch out for when designing for ventilation.

 

Hoods

 

 

It is very important to install them correctly, because they serve a critical job in kitchens. Odors, smoke and heat are three factors that can make your kitchen experience very rough in a very harsh environment. Deciding on the hood air path that is the duct tube will determine the performance efficiency. It is important to choose the hood air capacity but it is more important not to lose its efficiency. Best case scenario is the hood height at 70 – 80 cm from the cook top and the exit opening is right to the back. If the duct tube path is long, it has to be tilted upwards at least 15 deg. Also make sure you have a power outlet at the hood height because this has to be made at very early stages.

 

 

Dishwashers

 

Dishwashers and washing machines are straight forward. Just make sure that piping is set directly behind them. This will make them easy to pull out when it is time for maintenance and cleaning. Also too much clearance between them and the cabinets will make the whole appearance not integrated. 3 cm in total from both sides will be enough to account for any vibrations while the machines are working.

 

Sinks

 

I would like to show you how to install a kitchen sink neatly with silicon. It is probably about 70% of sink installations with silicon end up in bad shape and will be a source for compiling dirt.

 

Kitchen cabinets are the core of kitchen functionality. Storage space, hygiene, durability are all factors when considering choosing your cabinets. Lighting and appliances' maintenance are also integrated in addition to some storage accessories. There are four types of cabinets each with its unique characteristics and usage.

 

Cabinet Types

 

Lower cabinets

They are used for heavy and large items such as pot and pans. You can think of them as the backbone of your kitchen. Sink, cooks, and counter tops are integrated in them. Narrow, wide, long and L shape are all types of lower cabinets. You can find out more about their details in our free Kitchen Design Guide. 

 

Upper cabinets

These are essential to any kitchen. They are easy to use and all stored item are right in front of you to spot them right away. Sometimes they are replaced by hanging shelves but neat organization is a must in that case or your kitchen will look like a mess. Small items such as cups and plates are stored in upper cabinets.

 

Standing cabinets

They can be a true blessing in your kitchen. A wide standing cabinet has large storage space, excellent vision, and excellent reach. It can also be equipped with storage accessories to give maximum efficiency. Strive to have a wide standing cabinet in your design and look up our Kitchen Organization blog to get tips in how to organize them. Now you can enjoy your kitchen.

 

High cabinets

These are usually referred to as miscellaneous storage cabinets. If you have too many things and don’t have enough storage at home, then definitely they are a good solution to the problem. They are sometimes used as decorative elements when they are combined with inner lighting and glass doors.

 

Cabinet Features

  • Sliding shelves in lower cabinets are very much recommended. They are the doctors advice.

  • Glass shelves for upper cabinets are a sometimes a good option. They will provide better vision and give a feel of a more spacious cabinet.

  • Try to minimize hidden areas. You have to think of how easily you can reach all areas for storage and maintenance.

  • The inner material should also provide good hygienic conditions and not account for a perfect bacteria environment such as natural wood.

  • Make sure that the inner material is not affected by water or acids as these cabinets get stored in them all sorts of things.

  • You can add inner cabinet lighting not only for better vision but also for that fine touch it gives and neat feeling.

 

Kitchens are made to live. The minimum life time of a commercial kitchen is about 10 years. Due to the long and complicated process of kitchen's, remodeling is not an easy task and must be given thorough thoughts before going in.

 

Having said that, kitchen maintenance is a major issue to consider while in the design phase or through out your kitchen life time. the main kitchen features that must be considered are:

 

 

          1.  Inside cabinets

         2. Cabinet door design

         3. Cabinet material

         4. All plumbing jobs

 

 

1.   Cabinet door design

 

Kitchen usage is very hard work and handles pretty much all kinds of materials and tough environment. Chemicals, acids, boiling liquids, oil and water vapors, high heat, etc... are just some examples to see the picture. Of course your kitchen will have to acquire some very special characteristics to stand up against such harsh conditions. Doors with offset features are exposed to dirt pile up in corners and intricate points. Do yourself a favor and choose a plane and sealed cabinet door which you can easily wipe off.  

 

 

2.   Cabinet Interiors

 

The main point here is hygiene. You have to make sure you have good access to the inside of the cabinets especially lower ones with installed accessories. Make a maintenance schedule for your cabinets to keep them clean, odorless and hygienic.

 

 

3.   Toe Sleeves

 

The toe sleeves are a very subtle feature that people rarely pay attention to.  This point doesn’t need frequent maintenance but will surely make your kitchen feel old and grimy. With floor cleaning, the toe sleeves have corners and pockets that dirt pile up in. It is very important that you have a detachable toe sleeve where you can reach out to beneath cabinets and make adequate cleaning through out.

 

 

4.   Plumbing Jobs

 

Water leaks are the most common and most deteriorating problem for your kitchen cabinets. Not only it provides a perfect environment for bacteria but it also minimizes the life time of your cabinets. The sink and dishwasher areas need extra safety measures whenever possible. Make regular checks for all plumbing jobs to detect any leaks as early as possible.

 

Kitchen organization is fundamental not only to your kitchen but to your entire home too. It will make the difference between a tidy, neat, clean and user friendly kitchen and a low grade kitchen experience.

 

Kitchens have endless lists of utensils, kitchen ware, accessories, etc. We all fall into the habit of buying new and fancy stuff and it’s a pleasure thing to do, but we can’t afford the consequence with a healthy lifestyle.  Organization skills are a must in order for you to make the best and most out of your kitchen storage space and the whole experience.

 

We have divided organization into three sub topics, each with an acquired skill to master.

  • Sorting and Grouping

  • Labeling

  • Placement Techniques

 

Sorting and Grouping

 

 This ensures that all your actions are productive and don’t fall into the inefficient, losing time category such as searching and selecting. Your mind is naturally set to categorize objects and hence you are setting a spontaneous and natural workflow in your kitchen.

 

Start by sorting either by material, application or category. Mixing bowls, knives, pottery ware, serving dishes,, cooking utensils, bowls, plates, cups, etc. are some examples and there are off course many more.

At this stage you must de clutter. Again if you want an efficient and neat kitchen you must have a let go plan. You must have a determined mind when, how, and a criteria for getting rid of your stuff. De-clutter your life.

 

Grouping is done according to importance and frequency. Knives are at the top of your important list but not all knives if that’s obvious enough.  Mixing spoons and wooden spatulas are also important. Perhaps you can group them together in a first drawer, because they have a high frequency of use too. Bowls and serving dishes can also be grouped together in a standing and open cabinet.

 

Organizing your kitchen cabinets in a comfortable and efficient manner is discussed in further details in Ergonomic Kitchen Design.

 

​Labeling

 

Although you might think of it as an extra effort but labeling has two main advantages that make it worth the effort.

 

The first is that it assigns and dedicates places for objects to make sure that your organization plan is unchanged no matter who is using it. If done right, you won’t have to worry about it. You don’t have to label cabinets and shelves, but spices drawers, pantry and cleaning tools will help you easily spot them. It also highlights anything that is missing and needs to be on your shopping list.

 

The second advantage of labeling is that it makes it easy for you to skim through your containers without needing to open them or know what’s inside. As closed containers allow for more storage space you won’t have to worry about your searching time. This can be very handy in organizing your fridge too.

 

Placement techniques

 

How to place objects is important to avoid chaotic cabinets. There are five techniques that you can use to help you store in a neat and easy manner.

 

1. Filing

This is exactly how you organize books on bookshelves. Place everything in vertical planes so you can easily pull out. This works well with different plate sizes and pots’ lids.

 

2. Stacking

Big and small; everything is put inside one another. Start with bigger items and then place smaller items in order. Avoid shape irregularities and placing too many items

Pots, pans and bowls are perfect examples.

 

3. On top

Place items on top of each other. Closed containers, salsa and tuna boxes are some examples. It works better when items are same size and shape. You can use this technique for storing plates too but several columns will be needed for different plate sizes.

 

4. Containers

You have too many little things? Put them in a container or a box. There are many forms and shapes for containers. This will keep the place neat and tidy and will also provide easy handling. Don’t forget to label the container.

 

5. Stand alone

As the name suggests, this is stored by itself. Some examples are small electric appliances like kitchen machine and juicers. Also jugs with irregular shapes are hard to place with other items.

 

6. Hanging

There are two advantages for hanging stuff. First it is very easy to spot and secondly it can be right there beside you and easily reached. You can hang towels, scissors, spices you name it.