The kitchen work triangle, with clearly defined requirements, was for decades the standard used for kitchen design. Style was considered secondary as long as the number of steps between major appliances fell within certain guidelines. The goal was efficiency; function was measured by convenient access and movement between the refrigerator, the range, and the sink.

Today, designers still pay attention to form, but style is equally important. Open floor plans and a more informal lifestyle have changed the kitchen rules. Serving counters and eating bars open the cooking space to living space. Islands are immensely practical as well as gaining in popularity. And cooks are no longer hidden away in separate rooms.

Activity Centers

No longer a single use space, the kitchen of the 21st century continues to evolve. Sometimes a family gathering spot, often a snack center, frequently used by more than one person at the same time, the kitchen today is a much different room from its early 20th century predecessor. The familiar kitchen work triangle is also less important. Other needs are primary considerations–both the functional requirements for storage and efficiency and aesthetic concerns of style and good looks.

Today, kitchens are divided into work zones and activity centers: food preparation, cooking, and cleanup areas are the focus of design efforts, and each common layout has its own pros and cons.

Galley Kitchen

When space is a concern, the simplicity and efficiency of a galley-style kitchen really can’t be beat. By placing major appliances on opposing walls, the number of steps and options are minimized. A galley with one closed end is ideal for a single cook. Informal dining space is often situated at one end of the corridor.

Points to remember: Assure that the aisle is at least 48 inches wide, even if one side of the galley has only lower cabinets. You should have plenty of room to stand in front of the refrigerator, oven or dishwasher even with the appliance doors are open.

L-Shape Plan

This is the plan that lends itself to a large island, with or without one or more appliances installed there. The island defines the workspace efficiently, but also allows guests and family members to be a part of the action. By zoning the work space, you can also provide secondary areas for second cooks or for snack and drink preparation.

U-Shape Kitchen

Essentially, a U-Shape kitchen is a separate room, with one or more access points. The fourth wall is often a peninsula, with a seating counter on the living side. This is usually the configuration you will see in luxury kitchens, and one wall may include a built-in refrigerator/freezer, wall ovens, or a full bank of storage cabinets. A small U-shape kitchen must be planned with great care.

Points to remember: While it may be very attractive and offer a lot of work space, this plan can also involve unnecessary steps if it is too large, or inefficient crowding if it is too small.

Planning for a Renovation

If your kitchen is in need of updating to make it more efficient and attractive, we hope you’ll schedule a consultation with one of our certified kitchen designers. The Kitchen Master has been working with homeowners in the western Chicago suburbs for decades, and we have the knowledge and imagination to bring your dreams to life. We’ll help you remodel your kitchen your way!

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