The Secret to Positioning Appliances in Kitchen Design

The kitchen layout is the main starting point for any kitchen remodeling project.  You must get this piece of the design puzzle right first.  Understand your space, who will be using the kitchen and for what purposes, and design a layout that promotes an easy workflow through the kitchen.    

While today’s kitchen serves many purposes, the heart of the kitchen is still food – storage, cooking, and eating.  A key part of your layout is careful positioning of appliances to meet these needs. This could include a primary refrigerator, beverage refrigerator, dishwashers, oven, range, microwave, and more.  Consider where they are placed, their proximity to each other, ease of access to them, and their size.

What do you need?

You may love the idea of a massive refrigerator or a large, professional oven, but do you really need it?  If you do not cook enough or have a large family to feed, these large appliances become nothing more than decorations that take up space.  Consider how your family and home function, how much space you have, and choose appliances to fit your kitchen design requirements. 

Think about your work areas.

The kitchen layout is typically based on work zones that allow particular activities to take place simultaneously, possibly with multiple people at once, without tripping over each other.  This may include food preparation, clean up, dining and entertaining, and possible a study zone or pet area. 

The sink, main refrigerator, and stove should be in close proximity to each other.  You require a minimum of 4 feet between each point to easily maneuver, and equally not more than 9 feet.  This allows easy access to get food from the refrigerator to a preparation point, and then into the oven.  A dishwasher is typically located near the sink.  In a large kitchen design, you may have a second clean up sink and put the dishwasher in this area, perhaps in the kitchen island.

Consider the flow of traffic.

Workflow is critical to smooth functioning of the kitchen.  You need to have a clear path from one area to next when cooking or cleaning up, without worrying about tripping over people or obstacles.  Make sure you can easily move between refrigerator and food preparation areas, then to the oven and range, and finally to a clean-up area that includes the dishwasher.  Consider putting a secondary beverage or snack refrigerator in a separate area so guests or kids can access food and drink without interfering with the cooking. 

Leave enough space for doors and drawers.

Allow ample space for opening and closing appliances, particularly the oven. You must have enough room for the oven door to open, and to safely maneuver around the oven door to get food out and to a landing point.  Consider also the direction in which the refrigerator door swings, so you can easily put away groceries and access food when cooking.  A refrigerator door must be able to swing wide enough so internal bins can be fully pulled out.  Make sure an open dishwasher door does not block access to the sink or create a hazard. 

Look at size and installation requirements.

There are many things to consider when looking at the size of your chosen appliances.  Do you have a large family or do you frequently entertain? Are you downsizing now that your kids have moved away?  Buy appliances that meet your household’s requirements and remember that bigger is not always better.  Balance the size of appliances to other aspects of your kitchen, like kitchen cabinet space, countertop depth, and workspace.  Appliances that are too deep stick out past cabinetry, which looks bad, interrupts traffic flow, and causes accidents. 

Don’t forget about small appliances.

Many kitchens include coffee machines, slow cookers, toasters, stand mixers, and more.  Make sure these small appliances have a dedicated home or easily accessible storage.  Install coffee makers in a beverage station, give stand mixers a dedicated pop up shelf, and store other appliances on pull out shelves. 

Planning a new kitchen and selecting appliances is an exciting process. Make sure your appliances and kitchen layout work together to create a well-functioning space.  Find more kitchen design inspiration in our gallery here or contact us to get started with planning your kitchen renovation.