Kitchen appliances have come a long way, evolving to fit the needs of today’s homeowners. Ovens were once equipped with thick doors, preventing anyone from keeping an eye on the food inside, and now we can control them using our smartphones. Refrigerators have become much more energy efficient, with a variety of sleek styles and materials from which to choose. But there’s one aspect of kitchens that remains in many homes today: the traditional work triangle.
This layout originally came about in the 1940s as a way to efficiently prep, cook and clean. It connects the stove, refrigerator and sink to form a triangle, making it easy for a single cook to navigate through the kitchen. While this work triangle does have its benefits, it may not be the most functional choice for today’s homeowners. After all, kitchens are used for more than just cooking - they’re a space for entertaining, doing homework, eating and more. As appliances evolve and kitchens become more multi-functional, their layouts should adapt alongside them.
Designing and constructing kitchens by embracing function and personality instead of following a defined layout can end up producing a space that’s truly unique and practical. Here are three ways you can think outside the triangle and design kitchens that appeal to the everyday needs and lifestyles of your customers:
Re-think appliance arrangement
Break up the kitchen work triangle with multiple appliances. Rather than just one 30-inch wide refrigerator, consider seamlessly implementing several refrigerator doors into cabinets. For example, with a fully integrated, built-in refrigerator, you can create an integrated appearance with custom cabinetry without exposed hinges or trim pieces. In addition, instead of a separate oven and microwave, opt for a combination oven and microwave or even a double wall oven to help homeowners entertain a big crowd.
Design for zones
Consider designing zones, which can create a better flow throughout the kitchen. Zones don’t have to be limited to just food prep, cooking and cleaning, however. Zones could be dedicated to anything from making coffee and studying to snacking, entertaining and baking. Group certain appliances and fixtures together that may be used simultaneously. For instance, a baking zone could have a wood countertop for kneading dough right next to the oven.
Opt for bigger, abstract islands
A rectangular or square shape with three, maybe four chairs describes the typical islands you see gracing the center of kitchens today. About 88 percent of kitchen islands range from 12 to 35 square feet, but that size is expected to grow in order to accommodate additional storage and room for extra appliances, and even act as a casual dining spot. Islands with legs or wheels are also trending for their flexibility.
You can expect abstract kitchen island shapes to make an entrance in kitchens as well. After all, every kitchen is different, so why give each one the same island shape? Modifying the shape is an easy way to personalize the space, and could be a solution to better flowing foot traffic as well as more storage space. L-shapes and pentagons are just two unique alternatives to the traditional rectangular island and give the kitchen a whole different feel.