Three Small Improvements to Your Large Kitchen Redesign.
Most homeowners lament the size of their kitchen, often fretting that it’s not big enough and don’t have enough storage. As it turns out, even a large kitchen ( over 200 sq.ft.) can raise the same complaints – poor workflow, in-efficient storage, too much clutter, poor ventilation, and insufficient prep space. With a large kitchen, it’s easy to make careless design decisions. Instead of putting careful thought into real-life function and workflow to make the most of what’s there, the homeowner blessed with a large kitchen often spreads out and overwhelms the area.
Here are three small but essential improvements to solve common large-kitchen problems.
Problem 1—Poor workflow
Yes, even in a large kitchen with plenty of room for people to move around, the flow of food preparation, cooking, cleanup and simply retrieving pots, utensils, ingredients, and refrigerated items can still be a nightmare. When you start to design any kitchen – large or small – address the layout first. Do this one step right, and it can make the difference between enjoying your kitchen to its fullest potential and never cooking again.
The most critical factor in a kitchen layout? It’s the work triangle. This is how your sink, stove,and refrigerator need to align for the most efficient workflow. When the cook moves between these work zones, the best case is to take as few steps as possible. Every extra step increases the chance of spilling that a pot of spaghetti sauce on the way to the counter, or that boiling water splashing a family member on the way to the sink, which you want to avoid at all costs.
Smart kitchen design limits walkthrough traffic to the opposite side of the triangle, to prevent interruptions to workflow in a busy kitchen. This preserves an open area between the sink, stove and refrigerator, while still allowing for non-essential kitchen activity on the opposite side of a countertop or island.
Problem 2 —Insufficient storage and clutter
Clutter blooms where people live; it is almost a fact of life. Everyone, even the most fastidious among us, needs a consistent home for items like keys, mail and other items used everyday. A kitchen counter often becomes the drop zone for such items.
With children in the household, it’s easy for your kitchen to collect their belongings too, such as when they leave out a school book or place their art project on the countertop to dry.
To improve the storage scheme of a large kitchen, you can make both big and small changes. A significant boost to storage would involve the installation of a two kitchen islands. There are fantastic layouts for kitchens with two islands to improve function and workflow.
Consider these two options to configure a kitchen with two islands to provide storage, seating and improve overall function.
Two separate purposes—
Often kitchen islands are multi-purpose, and this can work well in most kitchens. But if you find that clutter, storage, or interruption of the kitchen workflow cause problems for how your multi-purpose island serves your work in the kitchen, two islands might be a good solution for you.
Consider using each island for a different purpose: food prep or cooking at one, and set up the second one for storage, seating and entertaining. This could mean a prep island with a countertop and possibly a sink on one side, with a second island (at least 36″ away) for seating and storage. Of course, your prep island would have cabinets and drawers to store and organize cookware, trays, kitchen utensils and much more. The seating island could incorporate storage and organizing accessories for the kids crafts, daily mail, keys, glasses or anything else that needs a drop zone.
The multi-purpose kitchen island brings two different island functions together.
On one side you have a high countertop with seating for dining and activities. On the other side, you have a lower countertop for prep space, forming one side of your work triangle. The multi-purpose configuration offers storage on both sides with either cabinets or drawers, and the right accessories to keep it organized. This kitchen island also keeps foot traffic out of the workspace to separate prep work, cooking and activities.
Smaller changes you can make are adding lazy susan turntables to deep corner cabinets. You can also have in-drawer organizers and peg systems to keep your flatware and dishware held in place but out of an upper cabinet. Adding an in-drawer spice rack would also free up cabinet space and keep your spices organized.
Problem 3 —Poor ventilation
No matter the kitchen size, poor ventilation is a common problem. Homeowners know they need a range hood but often fail to educate themselves about the type of hood they need or how the ventilation works to keep their kitchen clean. Recirculating range hoods are popular – they have a filter underneath the hood that draws up cooking fumes and grease and filters this particulate matter from the air as it recirculates through the vent. While attractive and apparently functional, recirculating range hoods do not always have enough power or filter capacity to actually clean the air; instead, they often push barely filtered smoky air back into your kitchen.
A properly vented range hood has actual internal venting that exhausts through your kitchen wall to the outdoors. A range hood like this can also enhance and streamline your kitchen’s look with a style that matches your kitchen cabinets.
When you address these three common design problems that plague kitchens both large and small, you can design a large kitchen that maximizes both storage and organization. Our in-house kitchen designers can help you consider attractive and functional islands for your best layout and cabinet design.