Open plan kitchen living is the talk of the 21st century. With kitchens becoming the central hub of the home and operating as the study, dining and living area as well, it's time to update your kitchen and make it as open, modern and functional as ever!
Originally, kitchens were used for food preparation and cooking only. They were usually shut off from the rest of the house with only one person working in them at a time. The layout was based on the ‘kitchen work triangle’, which proposed for the fridge, sink and stove to all be within 4-9 feet of each other in an equilateral triangle shape.
Nowadays kitchens are spilling over with larger appliances, bigger floor plans and extra amounts of people working within. Due to this, kitchens are becoming open-plan and the concept of the kitchen work triangle is now not so efficient. Instead, work stations are now the craze in open-plan kitchens enabling efficiency and order.
To set up workstations, group your appliances according to their use such as food storage, cooking preparation, food serving, cleaning etc. For example, your dishwasher should be placed next to the garbage bin and besides the sink so that food clean up requires little movement around the kitchen.
Storage is also a primary concern and something that most people don’t plan to have enough of. If you have the space, add more storage because you will never regret it. Think about using vertical height so not to waste any extra space.
Bench space is also something that people don’t plan enough of. Next to every major appliance, there should be sufficient bench space for safety and efficiency.
Be sure to have bench space above your dishwasher, besides your oven, next to your toaster, sink and fridge. Knives, cutting boards and stove appliances can also be stored on these bench tops.
As kitchens become more and more like central hubs for the whole family to eat at, drink, chat, read and entertain, it is important to ensure clear bench space and seating is available. Often, food preparation occurs whilst guests are around so consider the available space you have for multiple people surrounding the kitchen. A large island bench works best for this as it provides plenty of room for guests to perch as well as a barrier between them and food preparation. If you have kids, think about adding a workstation for them where they can eat, do homework and hang out whilst you’re preparing meals.
Remember, flow and function are the main necessitates for a kitchen to work efficiently. If you feel that your kitchen is too small and cramped, look into pulling down non-supporting walls or putting in a counter hole to add dimension and space.