There are a few basic guidelines to follow if you want to improve efficiency and convenience in your small kitchen. The right kitchen layout will provide you with enough space as well as a sleek look free of clutter. By properly organizing everything in place, your kitchen will be very comfortable to work in even with the limited area that you have.
The Work Triangle
The work triangle is the concept wherein all kitchen layouts are based on. The three main points or structures wherein the imaginary lines are drawn to form the triangle are the sink, the range and the refrigerator. Ideally, the three legs of the triangle should be anywhere between 23 to 26 feet total. A small kitchen may measure less. The idea is to create enough space in between these areas to properly make use of all available centers in the kitchen. The right arrangement of the work triangle will fully determine how well you can work within the given premises.
There are four basic kitchen layouts. Although there are hundreds of others available, all these are usually based on these four and still focus on the work triangle. The layouts are the galley or one-wall, the corridor, the L-shaped and the U-shaped. All kitchen floor plans are classified according to their specific shape.
The most common would be the one-wall or galley layout wherein the kitchen is positioned along one wall. All furniture, countertops and appliances are placed on that single area only. The second most common would probably be the corridor layout wherein the kitchen is laid out along two walls facing each other. This is very efficient since you can easily work at the front and back moving along the work triangle easily. Just be sure that you have another route for persons not involved in the work triangle or they may have to keep passing through and disrupt kitchen tasks.
Next is the L-shaped kitchen layout which is laid out along two adjacent walls or sides of a room. This frees up more space for people not involved in the work triangle compared to the corridor which has a narrow aisle. The U-shaped kitchen layout makes use of three sides and has the same advantage of more space in the work triangle. Small kitchens may have to strategically layout everything if you intend to use the L or U shape. Islands, furniture and large appliances are used in order to help direct traffic and make the work triangle as efficient as possible.
Strengths, Weaknesses and Improvisations
The galley and corridor layouts are very ideal for single cooks since two points of the work triangle are located on one side while the other is on the opposite end. However, these also have the disadvantage of being congested especially if there’s a door with a rather functional room at one end. The solution would be to find an alternate route with the use of furniture and appliances. L and U-shaped kitchen layouts allow you to place tables or islands for more countertop space.
A very large space within the work triangle can also be disadvantageous at times since it means having to walk farther to reach any given point. A U-shaped kitchen has the weakness of having two corners so if the sides are too close to each other, it may be better to convert it into an L or galley.