The Best Tips in Kitchen Design: Zoning Method Plus Decor Advice
No matter if you live in a big house or a small apartment, the kitchen is one of those rooms you’ll visit quite often. Therefore, it must combine great design and supreme functionality. Only in this case can you achieve a cozy, multifunctional affect most homeowners are striving for.
Zoning Your Kitchen Functionality
Functionality is one of the most important things to consider when designing a kitchen. Sounds obvious, but many homeowners overlook this step and do not take enough time to consider every minuscule detail of their kitchen routine. It does sound self-explanatory that your favorite countertop ice maker should not be stored next to a stove. Still, kitchen furniture and utensils are plenty, and it is not easy to think every detail through. There is a way to consider most of them, though. Interior designers refer to it as ‘zoning,’ and point out the following functional zones:
- Consumables: this is the food storage area, including your fridge and any cabinets with supplies.
- Non-consumables: those are the cabinets or display shelves with dishes, kitchenware, utensils, etc.
- Cleaning: dishwasher, sink, and any other cleaning items or appliances you plan to have in your kitchen.
- Preparation: this can be a table, a countertop, or an island where you prep the food.
- Cooking: finally, your stove or any other appliances you use for the actual cooking.
Photo by Caroline Myers Interior Design
Now, how do you make all of these zones work? Here are the most important tips to remember:
- Keep all things close to their related zones: just as if you would never place an icemaker next to the stove, you would not keep the knives too far from the prep zone. Therefore, any utensils you need for preparing food should be easily accessible next to your prep zone. The same goes for cooking — store your pans near the stove.
- Make sure cleaning and cooking areas are separated: no use having a sink right next to the oven. Ideally, the prep zone should be placed between cooking and cleaning appliances.
- Optimize prep zone carefully: this should be the most spacious and the most comfortable of your kitchen zones. After all, this is where most work happens.
Picking up Your Design Theme
With all kitchen design tips style plays a considerable part in the overall picture. A carefully chosen interior theme can make a difference between success and failure. Overall, it is preferable to have one dominant idea in your house/apartment interior. On the other hand, the kitchen stands a bit apart from the rest of your rooms, so you can let your imagination run a little wild.
For example, a rustic kitchen will not look out of place in a traditional interior — even however, technically, the design theme will be a bit different. It is also ok to combine a hi-tech kitchen with a modern interior — as long your ideas have some elements and materials in common, you are good to go.
Another useful tip when working on a kitchen interior would be to add contrasting design elements. One item seemingly out of place and style can become a different, focal point in your kitchen.
Photo by Lake Country Builders
Carefully Thinking Through Your Lighting
And we’re back to where we started — our functional zones. One of the most common kitchen design mistakes is the lack of light in some of these areas. Not only should every functional zone be appropriately lit, but also you should have separate switches for each of these areas. So, instead of having just one general source of light in the room center, add functional light strips above each of your kitchen zones. You can add accent, decorative sources of lighting as well, but this decision will mostly depend on your space and kitchen interior. Still, the more light, the more spacious your kitchen will seem. So, why not?
Photo by Leicht Westchester-Greenwich
Visually boosting your kitchen space
Speaking of space, there are other interior tricks than can boost it visually. Glass doors and display shelves, for example, look lighter and more compact than solid wood doors. Large windows brighten up any space, making it visually larger. In small kitchens, one contrasting wall can make the room seem larger than it actually is. Besides, a contrasting wall behind your cooking zone always looks natural, even expected.
Photo by Coyote Design Architecture + Planning PLLC
It is your step-by-step guide to creating a functional and stylish environment. You may, of course, skip some stages or add more creative steps of your own. As long as your functionality is thought-through, you can play with any design elements and still make this space work for you and your family. How would you improve on this basic kitchen design plan?