How To Plan the Perfect Kitchen

How To Plan the Perfect Kitchen

It would help if you took enough time to plan your kitchen. After all, the kitchen is the heart of a home, and the purchase is an expensive affair. For a coherent overall picture, consider many factors, weigh all the options, and follow these tips in your planning to get your dream kitchen step by step. You can use an online 3D kitchen configurator to make it take more shape.

From plan to reality: we give tips on how to plan your dream kitchen
From plan to reality: we give tips on how to plan your dream kitchen.

In recent decades, the kitchen has transformed almost no other room. It is the room where enjoyment and conviviality come together: When friends and family wield the wooden spoon together and enjoy the get-together, it becomes a living room kitchen in no time. You’ll spend a lot of time in this room – a good reason to plan the kitchen carefully, whether for new construction or a kitchen remodel. We’ll give you tips on making clever use of even small spaces, which worktops you’ll be comfortable working with, and which kitchen appliances and lighting are needed – this is how planning succeeds.

1. Tip for Kitchen Planning: Measure Everything Exactly

Kitchen planning can be as perfect as you like – if it doesn’t fit somewhere, in the end, nothing will come of it. That’s why taking exact measurements is a must as the first step in planning a kitchen. Transfer all wall dimensions and the connections for water, electricity (and possibly for gas) onto graph paper at a scale of 1:20 – then one meter in your kitchen corresponds to five centimeters on paper. If you’re measuring a shell: Record on the plan how thick the plaster and tiles will be applied and how high the finished flooring in the kitchen will be. Once this is done, you can start planning cabinets, traffic routes, and work surfaces in the kitchen.

a) Check wall dimensions
Compare the dimensions of opposite walls: you do not need to pay attention to differences up to two centimeters. A more significant difference indicates that at least one corner of the room is not square – measure the angles so that the countertop fits exactly. Check the ceiling height per wall at three points and note the highest and lowest points – this is where important inches may be missing for tall cabinets. Also, ensure that your wall material can hold the heavily loaded wall cabinets.

b) Utilize heights
You can get by with less space if you compensate for tightness with height. Extra tall wall cabinets and tall cabinets hold more than usual sizes. Shelves are 35 inches deep, and countertop top cabinets fit the niche between the base and wall cabinets. Avoid placing a tall cabinet next to the window; it will block out light.

c) Fill in the depths
For base cabinets and kitchen appliances, the norm is a depth of 60 centimeters. Pentagonal kitchen cabinets for the angle and furniture with bulbous kitchen fronts provide much more storage space.

Tip for Kitchen Planning: Measure Everything Exactl

2. Tip for Planning a Kitchen: Use the Space Optimally

Before you distribute the cabinets and electrical appliances on your kitchen plan, think about the ideal workflow: preparing, cooking, washing up. Line up the furniture from right to left for right-handed people and vice versa for left-handed people. Start with a countertop at least 30 centimeters wide and place the stove next to it. Set up 60 to 90 square centimeters of the work surface on the other side of the stove. Then you can install the kitchen sink and connect the dishwasher. To put clean dishes, you need another 120 square centimeters of space.

In what form to the kitchen plan depending on the space?

  • Mini kitchen: when setting up a small kitchen, place the cabinets and kitchen appliances against one wall. Choose a sink with only one basin and a maximum of 45 centimeters of narrow kitchen appliances to save space.
  • Kitchen up to 10 square meters: if the room is at least 2.40 meters wide, place the kitchen furniture in two rows. In this kitchen shape, the functional furniture, such as the refrigerator, dishwasher, and stove/oven, comes to one wall, and the storage furniture is opposite.
  • Kitchen around 12 square meters: the best kitchens are about four meters long and three meters wide – then you can put the kitchen in a U-shape. Use the corners for the stove and sink (or for base cabinets with pot carousel) and the window space to work.

Here, learn more about possible kitchen shapes, from kitchen units to cooking islands.

Tip for Planning a Kitchen: Use the Space Optimally

3. Tip for Planning the Kitchen: Pay Attention to Ergonomics

Of course, everyone wants to have the largest possible work surfaces. But the cabinets’ dimensions and the appliances’ ease of use should suit the user. In an ergonomic kitchen, you save your back and joints, work more safely and comfortably, and are tireless.

Align the height of the countertop according to the person who most often works in the kitchen. The kitchen sink should be placed high enough to reach the bottom of the basin in an upright position with a flat hand. Place the dishwasher and sink together so you can put pre-washed pots in the machine without dripping.

Change your working posture frequently and plan where you can work while sitting. Store heavy items only below your shoulder height – otherwise, the weight will put too much strain on your back. It’s best to plan the oven and refrigerator at eye level in your kitchen.

Place the sink so one can reach the bottom of the sink in an upright position with a flat hand
Place the sink so one can reach the bottom of the sink in an upright position with a flat hand.

4. Kitchen Planning Tip: Choose the Countertop Wisely

There are different materials for kitchen countertops for every taste and budget – but not everything you like will meet your everyday needs and habits. Therefore, the choice should be well thought out. Here are your options:

  • Tiles are heat-resistant and easy to clean, but dirt sticks in the joints.
  • HPL boards: chipboard with laminate are easy to clean and acid-resistant, but heat and cuts can damage them.
  • Stainless steel: stainless, hygienic, low-maintenance. However, sensitive people should get tested for chrome-nickel allergy before buying.
  • Artificial stone (Corian, Varicor, Marlan): Tolerates heat, acid, and cuts and is easy to clean.
  • Natural stone: Heat and cut-resistant (knives will dull), but acid and grease will stain.
  • Wood: Beech is tough, maple softer, and patina cannot be avoided.

Material designations for wood are subject to standards:

  • Solid wood: All parts are made of wood except for the back panel and drawers.
  • Natural wood: Solid wood parts on chipboard.
  • Veneer: Visible surfaces coated with precious wood, cheaper wood underneath.
  • Reproduction: A wood pattern is printed on plastic, and furniture made of chipboard is pasted with it.

5. Tip for Kitchen Planning: Find Out About Electrical Appliances

What are the differences between range hoods and stoves? Where should a sink be placed? We will tell you!

What Types of Cooker Hoods Are There?

Open windows – you do not like to do that in the wind, winter air, and noise. Extractor hoods ventilate at the touch of a button. Flat screens slide out from under the wall unit on telescopic slides (storage space above the extractor), and hoods made of copper, stainless steel, and glass make the room look striking. Mounted a conventional hood on a straight wall or suspended from the ceiling. The extractor fan also fits into a kitchen with a sloping roof. Screw it to the rafters; it can be covered with perforated sheeting. Insulate the exhaust pipe well so that there is no thermal bridge.

With recirculation hoods, that is, range hoods without exhaust, fans draw in the air from the stove and pass it through filters, trapping grease and odors. The purified air is blown back into the kitchen. Exhaust hoods work more effectively because, in this case, fumes and steam are carried outdoors through an air shaft to the roof or through an opening in the exterior wall. A cap protects the exhaust pipe from rain.

What Materials for the Sink?

A stainless steel sink is easy to clean and hygienic. However, sensitive people should have an allergy test because stainless steel contains about 20 percent chromium and ten percent nickel. The material is resistant to acids, alkalis, and heat and does not rust. The non-porous surface can be cleaned hygienically with water and a sponge. Remove stubborn stains with dishwashing detergent; with stainless steel agent, you can keep the shine.

Sinks made of enameled steel are inexpensive. The surface survives the rapid change from hot (up to 230 degrees Celsius) and cold without damage. The tinier and denser the pores, the less dirt can get caught. You can clean the sink with an all-purpose cleaner.

The Right Stove for Your Needs

Glass-ceramic cooktops are smooth, non-porous, and easy to clean with dish soap, vinegar, or glass cleaner. Burnt-on residue can be removed with a glass scraper. However, the electric heating coils slowly reach the set heat under glass ceramic.

Cooktops with eco-speed plus, on the other hand, glow in as little as three seconds. Ceramic cooktops are the most popular: They heat up quickly and are easy to clean.

Heating coils with halogen technology operate at more than 2,000 degrees Celsius. As a result, the cooking zones get hot quickly and can be regulated like gas flames. An induction stove is a fastest and most energy-efficient technology. This stove generates heat with electromagnetic waves.

Different types of stoves heat your food at different rates
Different types of stoves heat your food at different rates.

6. Tip for Kitchen Planning: Plan Sufficient Space for the Dining Area

Nearly three-quarters of all families eat one meal a day in the kitchen. The dining table should seat all family members and at least two guests. Therefore, you should plan enough space in the kitchen for this purpose.

a) Table size
Calculate per person for the place setting of plates, cutlery, and glass with a table surface of 65 cm width and 45 cm depth. A square dining table for six people should therefore be at least 80 x 130 cm, and a round table at least 125 cm in diameter. For four people, a rectangular table with an edge length of 80 cm or a round table with a diameter of 90 cm is sufficient.

b) Seat height
Check if the dining table height and chairs match. If the difference between the chair surface and the tabletop is less than 26 or more than 30 cm, you are sitting uncomfortably. A distance of 28 cm is considered ideal. You should build a dining counter at least 70 cm high if you want to sit at it on common chairs. Equip a counter at a working height of 90 cm with bar stools or build a 20 cm high platform for the chairs.

c) Floor space
Each chair requires a 45 cm wide and 50 cm deep footprint. When planning, leave 20 cm space from seat to seat so that all table neighbors enjoy enough elbow room while eating. A square dining table with six seats takes up 2.80 x 2.40 m of space, while a round table with six chairs requires 2.50 x 2.50 m of space. Measure your kitchen – if the dining table blocks paths, plan space for it in the living room instead. In that case, make do with a rolling, pull-out, or folding model in the kitchen that disappears against the wall or under the countertop after use.

We should find a place for all family members at the dining table. Therefore, plan here enough space in your kitchen
We should find a place for all family members at the dining table. Therefore, plan here enough space in your kitchen.

7. Tip for Planning a Kitchen: Ensure You Have Enough Light

Good lighting increases comfort when cooking and your safety. Who wants to confuse salt with sugar under dull sparkle, cut their fingers, or recognize the food on the plate only by the smell?

a) Central lighting in the kitchen
Couple with the switch on the door and basic lighting under the ceiling. The luminosity is sufficient if you stay in the kitchen for a short time – for example, quickly throwing something in the trash. If you want to work in the kitchen, you need special lighting: calculate 25 watts of light bulb power per square meter of the kitchen area – energy-saving lamps get by with ten watts per square meter.

b) Light for working
Stove, sink, and work surfaces should be illuminated with different light sources. Spotlights cast shadows; fluorescent tubes are better for working light. Conventional tubes emit cold, bluish light; many amateur cooks find the warm-tone lamps more pleasant. Mount the tubes under the upper cabinets – a trim strip in front of them concentrates the light rays on the countertop and prevents them from flashing in your eyes. Additional spotlights in track or low-voltage or reflectors on steel cables can target the spice rack or bread slicer in upper cabinets.

c) Light in the dining area
Avoid neon lighting over the dining area – it bathes table neighbors in the pale light and makes them look sick. On the other hand, the yellow-red glow of incandescent bulbs (60-watt maximum) is flattering. Install a pendant lamp, preferably with a height-adjustable pull about 60 centimeters above the center of the table. And choose a lampshade large enough to fully illuminate the table surface without dazzling. The shade should be white inside so it doesn’t swallow light or tint the food. With a light dimmer, you can adjust the light intensity continuously and thus provide soft light for sensitive eyes or a romantic dinner.

Tip for Planning a Kitchen: Ensure You Have Enough Light

8. Kitchen Planning Tip: Think About Child Safety

The kitchen is the most dangerous room in the house for young children—plan for built-in child safety features in your kitchen to mitigate the risk of hazards.

  • Stove safety: keep pot peepers away from hot contents: use the back stovetops and turn pan handles toward the wall. Little fingers can’t turn stove knobs that fold away – nor can they turn switches mounted on top of the countertop or in the upper cabinet. Secure the cooktop with a stove guard that stops pots from falling.
  • The hot steam from the dishwasher: If you open it while running, it pours out. You can install a lockable latch on older machines to prevent children from scalding themselves. New models with the GS mark (tested safety) lock automatically.
  • Be sure to lock away dangerous electrical appliances: Blenders, choppers, or toasters can be weapons. Here you must be careful during operation and lock away the electrical appliances during breaks and after use.
  • Store aggressive cleaning agents in locked cabinets: Eco-cleaners and aggressive household chemicals should always be stored in locked cabinets. Locks can also be retrofitted.
    Store shopping and plastic bags safely: Children can suffocate if they put a plastic bag over their heads as a mask. That’s why these should be stored in the top cabinet compartment.

9. Kitchen Planning Tip: Be Bold With Colors

Whether fronts or walls: you need to decide on a color. For kitchen fronts, black kitchens, for example, are in vogue. The classic is a white kitchen. This color for the fronts is also a good choice if you want a country-style kitchen. If you don’t like the fronts of your kitchen anymore, you can foil the kitchen cabinets instead of planning a completely new kitchen. You can also replace handles.

Still missing is the decision on the wall color for the kitchen. Did you know that the color of the kitchen walls even affects appetite? Red stimulates appetite, and blue curbs hunger but looks less inviting than a warm hue.

10th Tip: Plan Your Kitchen Online With a 3D Kitchen Planner

To help you visualize your dream kitchen, use a free 3D kitchen configurator that many kitchen experts offer online. First, you select the room shape in the online planner, adapt the room to your floor plan, build windows and doors in the right places, and in the next step, it’s time to design. From cabinets to tiles to colors, you can visually plan everything according to your ideas and see what is possible with your floor plan and room shape. With the result in PDF form, you then go to a kitchen studio with the kitchen experts of the respective provider of the 3D kitchen configurator.

Your dream kitchen is taking shape, but does what you have in mind fit your budget? Read all about the cost of a kitchen here or talk to kitchen experts at the kitchen studio.

Jemma Huyett
Design My Home | Online magazine about the design and improvement of homes and grounds