How to design a kitchen that’s a joy to cook in
Not so long ago, the kitchen was a busy work room, constantly used for cooking, baking and cleaning. These days, many homes use their kitchens for just about everything else, from eating or hanging out with friends, to paying the bills and using it as a home office. This is all very well and good if Deliveroo and Uber Eats are your top two most-used apps. But if you love to cook, then you shouldn’t let planning extra activities dilute the delight of preparing food in a well-planned, well-executed kitchen. So if cooking without compromise is your number-one priority, here are a few considerations for when you start to think about refitting your kitchen…
The layout of your kitchen is the most important factor when it comes to ensuring cooking efficiency. In the 1940s, designers came up with the concept of the ‘golden triangle’, which stated that you should place your kitchen’s sink, stove and fridge equally apart from one another to form a triangle within which you could move about easily as you cooked and prepared meals.
It’s an idea that many people redesigning their kitchen still hold on to – yet in reality, it’s quite outdated and can be ignored. Thanks to the explosion of labour-saving devices in a modern kitchen, such as dishwashers, food processors and mixers, it’s now recommended that you lay out your kitchen into specific ‘zones’. So you can have a ‘food prep zone’ where you chop and mix food, which should be close to a bin for easy cleaning. Then you have a ‘cooking zone’, with pans and utensils stored next to the hob and oven. Finally, you should should place the sink and dishwasher in a ‘cleaning’ area.
How to position these zones will depend on the shape of the room, and whether it’s a galley, horseshoe, L-shape or open-plan-style kitchen. If you’re unsure as to what the optimum layout would be, consult a kitchen/interior designer or try using the Opun Planner to visualise your available space.
If you’re completely overhauling your kitchen, now’s a good time to decide if your current type of hob is still the right choice for you, whether that’s electric, induction or gas.
Lighting is one of the most important factors to consider in any room. Ideally, you want a good mixture of natural light sources (otherwise known as ‘windows’!) and artificial lighting. When it comes to your electrical lighting, you’re going to want a combination of powerful general lighting for things like mopping and cleaning, specific task lighting for when you’re chopping veg or stirring a pot on the hob, and ambient lighting if you’re also using your kitchen as a space to relax and socialise in.
Pendant lighting or inset LED lights are popular choices for kitchens because if you break them up over different circuits with individual dimmer switches, you can get them to serve as all three types of lighting.
When it comes to choosing construction materials for your kitchen surfaces, there’s more than just the aesthetics to consider. Commercial kitchens tend to utilise a huge amount of stainless steel as it’s robust and low maintenance, requiring little more than being wiped down with hot water and an antibacterial spray. However, it can tarnish and scratch relatively easily and the burnished steel look is not to everyone’s taste. Granite, by comparison, looks impressive and is incredibly durable – but can also be expensive.
Finally, if you’re a real maestro in the kitchen and want to push your gastronomic adventures to the next level, think about investing in some professional kit. A Thermomix, or a sous vide or commercial-grade oven are all items that will show your intention to be the king or queen of any dinner party.
Do you love to cook? If so, fixing up your kitchen could be the best decision you ever make. While the kitchen in your home may be lovely, if you’ve never changed it, it was probably designed with someone else in mind. A kitchen renovation lets you completely customise the room, so you can ensure it suits exactly how you and your family like to cook and use the space.