Do you find yourself bumping into your house mates or cooking partner when you try to fix a meal in the kitchen? If you’re considering a remodel, you’ll want a layout that allows people to flow freely through the space without running into appliance or cabinet doors.
The good news: A well-organized kitchen layout is achievable.
Find Your Outline
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Start by looking at your existing space. Kitchens are typically U-shaped, L-shaped or galley-style, with one or two walls of cabinets. No matter what outline you’re working with, the three layouts below can improve traffic and workflow.
If you have a cramped space, you may be able to find more room by opening into an adjoining area. Consider knocking out a wall or dividing cabinets to use space from a mud room, butler’s pantry or infrequently used formal dining room.
1. The Kitchen Triangle
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This is a popular layout designed around three areas: oven, sink and refrigerator. These are where people often spend the bulk of their time, so create comfortable space between each area.
The path from oven to sink should still be a comfortable distance so that boiling pasta water can be easily and safely make the journey. Consider other frequent paths you take between features. Avoid putting obstacles, like open dishwasher or microwave doors, in those paths.
You may be able to move appliances at the risk of higher remodeling costs. Expensive features to relocate are your sink, gas stove or refrigerator. Moving the sink requires installing new pipes. Changing the position of your oven could mean re-routing a gas line. Putting the fridge in a different spot might require moving water lines or high-output electrical outlets.
2. The 4 Quadrants
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This layout focuses on four zones: cooking, storage, pantry, and dining. The cooking zone usually encompasses the stove and food prep area. The storage zone is where flatware, containers, cutlery, the dishwasher and sink would be found. The pantry zone is wherever you’ll store food and is usually on the outskirts of the kitchen or near the fridge. The dining zone should create a separate space for sitting down to enjoy your meals.
3. Social Islands
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While this sociable kitchen design should also be well organized in areas or zones, it prioritizes making space for guests or family to visit the cook. This layout is usually part of an open-concept plan and includes a breakfast bar opposite a popular station, like the sink or cutting board. The visiting area should be out-of-the-way and a safe distance from hot surfaces.
An island can also give you more space for meal prep or family time, but a poorly placed island could get in the way. Narrow spaces may not lend themselves well to an island. But a wide galley-style may be ideal. Review HGTV's checklist for determining if an island will fit into your kitchen.
Remember that with an island, you may need to run plumbing or electrical from an existing location to include a small sink or outlets. This can add expense to a remodeling project, but if it will increase the usability of your home, it may be worth the additional cost.
Set a Budget
The cost to remodel your kitchen for a better layout will vary based on what you want to accomplish. However, the rule of thumb is to spend no more than 5 to 15 percent of your home’s value if you want high returns. Will pipes and electrical lines need to be moved or extended? Will kitchen or island countertops need to be overlayed or replaced? Will a wall need to be removed? These will add to the overall cost.
Check out HomeAdvisor's kitchen remodel cost guide to estimate your project budget and find a pro when you’re ready.