Kitchen Layout

kitchen and dining area

Kitchen layout design is nothing to take lightly. Being able to comfortably and efficiently prepare meals, clean up and these days entertain in the kitchen is essential to thoughtfully plan your kitchen layout

Work Triangle

For a long time this was the tried and true method to kitchen layouts. As long you had the Refrigerator, Sink and Stove within a triangle, you were good to go. While there is still validity to this, the modern kitchen serves more than just one cook these days and often involves space for others to hang out while one or more prepares meals.

Zone Planning

Zone planning takes your triangle to the next level and takes into account the various activities that take place in the kitchen

Preparation zoneThis is where you do all your food preparation, this will include the refrigerator, sink and counter space to work in the preparation of food.
Cooking zoneThis is where you will actually cook the food you have prepared, you will want this zone close to the preparation zone. This is where your cooktop, range and oven(s) will be. You will need to ensure you have countertop landing space around these appliances.
Serving zoneThis zone is out of the way from cooking and prep zones, where you can layout food to be served.
Cleaning zoneYou’ve cooked your meals and now need to plan to clean up. In this zone you need trash, sink and dishwasher.
Storage zoneThis is where you store your dishes and serve wear. This should be readily accessible to the cleaning zone to easily put dishes away once cleaned.

Ice – Water – Stone – Fire (IWSF)

This is hands down my favorite way to plan a kitchen layout in conjunction with zone planning. This refers to the natural flow of how one moves through out the kitchen when preparing meals making for the most efficient layout.

IceRefrigerator and food storage
WaterSink, Dishwasher
StoneCountertop/prep area
FireCooktop, stove, oven, even outdoor grills

You move along this path where you start with ICE (food retrieval),your next stop is WATER (sink to be cleaned), then you move to STONE (chop and prep food), then FIRE (cook the food). You don’t want to have to cross paths and go backwards, this layout allows you to move with the food along the various stations.

Zones can and do overlap or serve multiple functions. With the IWSF layout, I like to plan for the clean up within the design. Working backwards from FIRE – plan for food storage items located close by so I can easily pack up left overs. I like to have my trash can located in STONE (between stove and sink) since this is where I do my prep, its great to pull open a drawer and throw out packaging as I am prepping and scaping any trash before items go into the sink. WATER is where any dishes get washed or placed into the dishwasher (keeping where I store daily dishes and utensils to easily unload the dishwasher). And lastly, I place any unused ingredients and left overs back into the refrigerator, where we started at ICE.

Have I confused you yet? Look at this practical example:

Above kitchen layout photos


Kitchen design is way more than picking out cabinets, countertops, appliances and fixtures. It involves the need to practically layout the kitchen for ease of use, entertainment, lighting and all the inter workings for what type of cabinet to put where based on its needed function. I plan for what will go in each drawer and cabinet in advance to make for a natural flow and function to a well designed place that not only looks good, but makes the process most efficient.

Want help with your kitchen project? Reach out to me today!

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