Kitchens 101

Your kitchen is likely to be the hub of your home. So today, we thought we would walk you through some of the types of kitchen designs you might like in your new home. Each layout has its benefits; however, we recommend having a chat with one of our architects and kitchen designers to ask sure your new kitchen is perfect for you and your new home.

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Layout Options

While your floor plan is likely to determine what kitchen is best suited to your home, its design must optimise the space available.

There is an endless number of ways that you can design the layout of your kitchen. Below are the most common kitchen layouts and their advantages.


Common for smaller kitchen spaces, the walk-in layout is efficient on space without the loss of functionality. This design typically has cabinets installed on one wall with upper and lower cabinets with a distance between a clean benchtop.

If you think this type of kitchen might work best for your home, we have some tips for making it work for you. Think vertical; if you are working with a small space, you probably don't have much width, so think height. Taking your cabinets higher will allow more storage space for those things you don't reach for every day. The working triangle isn't possible in a walk-in kitchen, although this design still can be ergonomic. This can be done by having your fridge at one end, cooking stations in the middle and the sink at the other end. This allows the creation of flow through the kitchen in the direction of the intended workflow.

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A functional kitchen design that allows you to reach all kitchen areas with minimal walking distance. The economical use of the cabinets is a massive drawcard of this design. A galley kitchen consists of two rows of cabinets facing each other, creating an inner passage or galley between them. This eliminates the need for corner cupboards and uses every inch of space without waste. The simplistic design also means that there are fewer unique gadgets necessary, making this a cost-efficient option.

• Easy access to working spaces.

• Accommodates high foot traffic.

• Increase in storage.

• Enough room for multiple work areas.

• It can sometimes limit your dining room space.

• Too many people passing through can cause a traffic jam.

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L Shaped

More of a practical option for smaller kitchens. The L shaped kitchen has its cabinets along two connecting walls. This creates a corner space that can be tricky to navigate. Those corners often create unused cabinet space; however, clever planning can reduce usable space loss. Using a lazy Susan type shelf allows you to make better use of all the space available. If your area permits, another great use of the corner is to create a walk-in pantry.

The open plan on an L shape offers excellent flexibility of appliances and work areas. This design is best suited for open plan living areas, smaller spaces and long rooms.

• It can be designed around smaller sized spaces.

• Great use of corner space.

• Perfect for open plan living.

• Minimal traffic disruptions.

• Not ideal for large spaces.

• Limited storage options.

• Not as easy for multiple cooks.

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L Shape with and Island

An island is best utilised in larger kitchen spaces. It provides additional cabinets and workspaces. This offers excellent accessibility and easy access on either side of the kitchen.

• Opportunity for a breakfast bar.

• Great for entertaining.

• Lots of benchtop space.

• Easy to access from all areas.

• Doesn't work in small or narrow spaces.

• Design can be spread out if used in a larger space.

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U Shaped

An ideal layout for larger kitchens and big families, the U-shaped kitchen has its cabinets along three connecting walls creating plenty of storage and workable space. Sometimes this type of kitchen can leave a room feeling cluttered. The best way to avoid this is to put high cupboards on one or two sides, allowing the higher space to remain open; furthermore, you could try open shelving.

A U-shaped kitchen is great for workflow and allows multiple people to work in the same area at once. Our tip for having a U-shaped kitchen is to keep your window areas open and uncluttered. This allows light to flow through the work area and keep the space well-lit thought out the day.

• It can be designed around a bigger or smaller space.

• A lot of bench space.

• Can incorporate a breakfast bar.

• Lots of storage space.

• Designed for high-efficiency with the 'working triangle.'

• Corner cabinets can be challenging to get into.

• A large floor area can make things too far apart.

• A tiny floor area can feel too enclosed.

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Popular for open plan living spaces, the island kitchen offers a large work surface and storage areas in the middle of the kitchen. The island can also be used as a preparation area or for enjoying family meals. While the kitchen has to be big enough to incorporate an island, its placement can be a great way to create a natural traffic flow in the area.

One of the great things about having an island kitchen is their space to be used both as a food prep area and as a socialising area of your home. With an island typically being the centre of a kitchen, it offers an excellent decorative lighting place.


Things to keep in mind when designing your kitchen

Size of your kitchen

To be correctly able to design your kitchen and its layout. You will need to know the size of the space you're working with. This determines the number of cupboards, drawers, shelves and appliances you can incorporate into your kitchen.

We know that measuring and checking your space is an obvious step, but you'd be surprised how wrong this can go.

Once you've triple-checked your kitchen measurements, you can move on to the fun part of designing your kitchen!

Plan your kitchen activities

What will the kitchen be used for? Consider:
- Kids doing homework or laundry

- How often you cook

- The number of people using the kitchen or sit in it at once

- Entertaining, and whether a lot of bench space is required

It would be best if you were sure there is enough space between features and that your kitchen is a functional space. Think about the distance between your sink and cooking area or the fridge from the stovetop; think about convenience.

If you intend to have an island in your kitchen, make sure there isn't too much or too little space between the island and the cooktop. But making sure there is enough space to have multiple people in the workspace without colliding.

Use existing services

Consider where the gas outlet, power points, water and waste pipes are, or where they will be. It saves time fixing the issue later on.

Your budget

Knowing your budget is essential. This helps determine how much you can spend on each kitchen component, from cupboards to appliances.

The working triangle

Take into account the kitchen ergonomics or the 'kitchen triangle.' These ergonomics come into designing the kitchen environment to fit people rather than people fitting into the environment. Ideally, in your kitchen, you should be able to draw a triangle between the three work centres – the kitchen sink, the fridge and the stove. This kitchen triangle is a measure of efficiency and ensures a clear pathway around the kitchen.

Use samples

When picking important design elements like benchtops, tiles and splashbacks, try before you buy. Use samples to mix and match and make sure you're happy with your combinations of colours and textures.

Maximise storage

You can't have too much storage, but you can have not enough. Consider cupboards, wall cabinets, open shelves and deeper drawers to store all your food and appliances. Drawers are always a good storage option because you can pull them out and easily access what's in the back of the drawer.

With kitchens being a high traffic area, it's best to keep the space clear of clutter optimally through adequate storage.

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Kitchen Tips

• Remember to allow enough space in between benchtops for traffic and opening cabinet doors.

• Consider personal factors that might impact your design, i.e. daily foot traffic, kids, room for storage.

• Try to incorporate the working triangle into your design

Kitchen must-haves

Bin Drawer

A pull-out bin drawer allows for maintenance and control over your waste and keeps it out of sight. With loose bins inside the drawer, there is an opportunity for recycling and waste, but also compost.

Waterproof kickboards and sink cabinets

This gives you protection over damage from flooding and water damage. Spending extra time researching and money on high-quality board extends their lifetime and prevent expansion and damage when exposed to water.

Wine and beverage storage

With certain varieties of wine needing to be kept at specific temperatures for best preservation, this best form of storage is a wine or beverage fridge. A designated wine fridge is the next best thing to having your own wine cellar.
Wine fridges can come as built-in, under bench or as tall units.

Soft-close drawers and full-extension runners

Soft-close drawers make for a highly functional kitchen and are well worth installing. They provide a soft close rather than a bang as with regular drawers.
Full-extension runners are also worth the investment for the kitchen. This enables the drawer to be pulled all the way out, allowing you to fit more into it and can reach the back items.

Butlers pantry

A butlers pantry gives you the maximum functionality that your kitchen can achieve. These pantries provide extra bench space and an area to keep your kitchen appliances out of the way of becoming clutter.

Power points with USB chargers

Kitchens are now used for more than just cooking – it's where emails are sent, homework is done, and families and friends gather. Having enough power points with included USB ports provide a practical element to the room.
The position of power points is also important; think about placing them on your splashback, kitchen island, and where electricity is best utilised.

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