Design | 15 April 2021

8 Secrets of a Well-Functioning Kitchen

by Carlisle Homes

A well designed kitchen should be functional and inviting, so you can cook up a storm while family and friends gather comfortably. Here’s 8 essential tips to help you achieve just that!

Your kitchen is the central hub of your home where you and your family gather to prepare food, eat and chat. So it’s important to make the space as functional and practical as it is beautiful.

Our expert interior design team reveal the 8 essential inclusions for a supremely smooth-running kitchen.

Open up the space and make cleaning easy with a practical layout that separates your prep and cooking zones. Featured here: Matisse, Berwick Waters Estate, Clyde North.

1. A practical layout

Having a good workflow is a must. Without one, you’ll find yourself running backwards and forwards between the different parts of the kitchen every time you use it.

Kitchen designers and architects usually adhere to the Kitchen Triangle Theory when laying out residential kitchens. This system ensures the space feels connected and functions well as you move across it, without feeling crowded. When planning your kitchen design think in terms of the three main kitchen tasks - cleaning, food prep and cooking - and imagine a triangle drawn between these three areas, with no leg less than 4 feet (1.2 m) or more than 9 feet (2.7 m).

Position the sink and dishwasher together to make cleaning easy, and make sure they’re not too far from your everyday crockery and cutlery storage. Your ‘prep’ zone should be centred around the working part of your benchtop, with knives, chopping boards and small appliances located nearby (you may want to put oils, herbs and spices here too). Your cooking zone should comprise your stove, oven, microwave and extractor, with pots, pans, cooking utensils and baking dishes close to hand.

A vital ingredient when creating the perfect cooking space is a good lighting solution that maximises visibility and practicality. Concealed LED strip lights under overhead cabinets are a great addition to food prep zones. Featured here: Sorrento Grand, Eliston Estate, Clyde.

2. Proper task lighting

While pretty pendants over the benchtop are beautiful, they’re not always bright enough to make your work surfaces practical. The best solution is a mix of different lighting types. Add pendants for atmosphere, downlights in the ceiling for general illumination and concealed LED strip lights under overhead cabinets above your prep zones.

In an open-plan kitchen, consider installing separate circuits for your pendants, downlights and cabinet lights so you can switch up the illumination levels and atmosphere when you go from cooking to entertaining.

Dispose of waste discreetly and take back precious floor space with a neat pull-out bin that is hidden behind your cabinetry doors. A bin with multiple compartments will also make separating waste and recycling easy! Featured here: Sheraton Grand Deluxe, Jubilee Estate, Wyndham Vale.

3. A pull-out bin

Having a bin full of rubbish sitting on the kitchen floor is not exactly attractive, plus it takes up precious floor space. Instead, opt for a neat pull-out bin integrated into your island, in your butler’s pantry or near your prep zone so you can simply scrape scraps straight into the rubbish.

You’ll find pull-out bins with multiple compartments that make it easy to separate food waste from recyclables, as well as ones with push-to-open functionality that can be opened easily when your hands are full.

4. An organised pantry

Whether you’ve got a whole room or just a series of drawers, making them as organised as possible saves you time when you’re preparing meals and means you’re less likely to buy double ups at the supermarket.

If you’re designing a pantry from scratch, look to include a mix of open storage and deep drawers so it’s easy to store and access different types of items.

Invest in smart-looking, airtight canisters to store food on open shelves. If your pantry is small, you’ll find square canisters allow for a better use of space than round ones. You can also squeeze more storage into a compact pantry with shelf inserts and turntables.

Put like items together, such as canned goods, baking products and kids’ snacks. Store items according to how often you use them – most frequently used items in the easiest-to-reach spots.

And don’t forget to include good lighting so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.

Move comfortably around your kitchen space and ensure friends and family always have access to the fridge without getting in the way of food prep and cooking. Featured here: Montague Grand, Woodlea Estate, Aintree.

5. Space around the island

In a busy home, chances are there will be times when more than one person is using the kitchen, so make sure there’s enough space to move around comfortably. The ideal distance between an island and cabinets or furniture is 1,000 to 1,200 millimetres. Any less and your kitchen will feel cramped (unless you have a one-cook kitchen, in which case 900 millimetres will probably be sufficient).

Look to position the fridge on the outer perimeter of the kitchen so people can access it without getting in your way when you’re prepping at the island bench.

6. Soft-close drawers

Soft-close drawers cost more than standard-closing drawers, but most who have them would agree they’re worth the extra investment. Drawers open smoothly and silently towards you and there’s no risk of little fingers being slammed inside drawers. Plus, you can fully extend drawers without the chance of pulling them out completely.

You’ll also find push-to-open cupboards and drawers – handle-less styles that allow you to create completely seamless runs of cabinetry. They’re convenient too; if your hands are full you can simply open them with a knock of your hip or knee.

Convenience is key! Soft-close drawers and push-to-open overhead cupboards are an ideal inclusion to make your kitchen run seamlessly. Featured here: Astoria Grand, Meridian Estate, Clyde North.

7. Drawer organisers

Create order inside your kitchen drawers with drawer organisers. Standard tray inserts work well for cutlery, but long and bulky kitchen utensils can be a little more difficult to corral – for your second and third drawer, consider using adjustable drawer dividers rather than a tray.

8. Useful extras

At the planning stages, think about where you’re actually going to use benchtop appliances and install sufficient power points in the right spots. Think too about what else you’ll need to plug in, such as phone chargers and laptops. If you have a lot of devices, a charging drawer might be a smart inclusion.

Another handy extra to consider incorporating into your kitchen is an under-bench beverage fridge – they’re great if you entertain regularly or if you want the kids to be able to grab a chilled drink without getting in your way when you’re cooking. Beverage fridges are best positioned at the end of an island or the outer part of the kitchen for easy access.

Learn more about the kitchen upgrades that really make a difference here.

See all of these smart inclusions and more in the stunning, interior-designed kitchens at one of our Carlisle display homes or do a virtual tour by clicking here.


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