How to design a practical kitchen | upgradesign

How to design a practical kitchen

It’s been months since we first wrote that designing a kitchen is one of the hardest tasks in an apartment remodel. We’ll be honest with you, there are professional architects who can design amazing buildings, without being able to design a kitchen. A functional, practical and beautiful kitchen.

Because, to design a kitchen means not only to respect technical limitations (plumbing system, electric and gas installations) and to create a functional triangle between main elements, but also to implement client’s requests, to understand general cooking process as well as client’s cooking process, to organize cabinets for a client (which can be especially challenging because we usually have different habits than our clients) and to know what’s the newest trend.

Too often we say you will not change for your newly designed space (while the truth is, we live for the day someone says ‘I completely transformed my personality after remodeling my apartment’). But what we love about this step of the design process is the fact you are adapting your kitchen to your habits, to your personality. And you’re still able to keep any layout and any design that suits the best – the practical solutions we are about to talk today are hidden behind the fronts.

There are many pieces of advice about kitchen organization, but in our opinion, you should organize your kitchen even before you have a kitchen. And it is easier than it sounds, just think about your habits and your frustrations.

1. Do you have to take out oil or cooking spray from one place, condiments from another and flour from yet another in order to start cooking?

How about designing a pullout cabinet next to the stove, with utensils and common cooking ingredients on the upper shelf, ready when you need it without taking everything out from different places and putting it back when you’re done? While back, we featured Icaraí apartment where CIAA designed amazing kitchen organization hack – a movable cart that is usually just a part of the kitchen, but when moved into the dining/living room, it serves as a bar. There’s literally no reason why all of us shouldn’t do the same.

How to design a practical kitchen: CIAA - Icaraí Apartment
CIAAIcaraí Apartment // photo: © Thiago Almeida

How to design a practical kitchen: CIAA - Icaraí Apartment2. Is your worktop cluttered with kitchen appliances such as microwave, blender and coffee maker?

How about designing a high kitchen cabinet, approximately 90-120 cm wide, with a shelf high as kitchen worktop, for all the appliances to be placed and used? You wouldn’t even have to move them to the worktop, and all the messy wires and not-so-stylish appliances would be hidden behind the fronts. You can display pretty ones.

3. Do you have to move pots that are in the front of the cabinet to get to the other pots that are in the back? Or move the baking sheets that are on top to get to the bottom one?

Well, how about choosing drawers instead of shelves in the base cabinets? That way, it is so much easier to get to the items that are behind. And for baking sheets, leave a shelf high enough for them to stand vertically, and not horizontally on top of each other. You’ll never have to move an item to get to the other one again.

4. Have you thought about faucet height and sink size?

How to design a practical kitchen: kitchen remodel
upgradesign.blog – My kitchen remodel // photo: © upgradesign

Maybe you have a dishwasher, but sometimes cookware doesn’t fit into the dishwasher. Large cookware. The same ones that don’t fit into the small sink underneath the short faucet. Think about that.

5. Do you want to design an L-shaped kitchen to have more space than in the one-wall kitchen?

Depending on the sizes of the two kitchen parts, you might be wrong. To be completely honest, corner elements are useless. There’s no way to fully take advantage of the base cabinet, even though there are few inspired solutions on the market. Also, you won’t use most of the corner part of the worktop. That’s just how things are. That being said if both sides of the kitchen can be long enough to compensate uselessness of the corner, do it. No one ever complained about the kitchen that is too big.

6. Do you love glass fronts?

And do you own only pretty things and love to keep everything in your cabinets so organized it deserves to be displayed all the time? – We don’t.

7. Storage space

Without pantry, food is kept in the cabinets, so be sure to organize a place for it. If you have a pantry, depending on your habits and how near to the kitchen it is (and ideally it is right next to the kitchen, close to the entryway), you will end up with a certain amount of groceries in the kitchen. That’s ok, especially if you designed specific space for those items.

How to design a practical kitchen: Adam Wiercinski Architekt - K103-6
Adam Wiercinski ArchitektK103 // photo: © Przemysław Turlej

8. How to choose materials for backsplash and worktop?

This is so simple and yet so many people make mistake here. Always choose what’s easy to clean and maintain.
But you like marble counter tops? We know, we adore them. Nevertheless, choose what’s easy to maintain. You’ll hate yourself if you don’t.

Do you know the feeling when you’re trying on an amazing pair of shoes in the store and they already seem to be uncomfortable but they are so beautiful you have to have them and wear them all the time? And then you want to die the first time you go out wearing them and they ruin your entire night? High-maintenance counter tops and backsplashes are just like those shoes.

Actually, kitchen design is almost like fashion. We all claim that we choose timeless over trendy, but can’t really explain why we bought all that clothes last year, that are now probably ridiculous. Also, if you choose something you like and something that fits perfectly, it won’t become outdated. Unlike the pleated gold midi skirt that’s hanging in my closet.

Trends in interior design add up, they don’t exclude each other. And with time, we have more and more options to choose from. And for kitchens, this couldn’t be more true. We have an amazing collection of our favorites on our Pinterest board.

But remember, the kitchen is for cooking. No matter the fact that knobs are super important (and sad thing is, in our minds, this isn’t a joke), kitchen organization based on your very own cooking process is what separates kitchens in which you enjoy cooking, from those in which you get frustrated.

How to design a practical kitchen: kitchen organization
kitchen organization

And don’t just stop at these eight questions we picked out. Everyone has a different process and different priorities. It is so easy to adapt kitchen to your habits while designing it. Just instead of this sentence: “Here I want base cabinet with four drawers.”, say something like this:
“Here I want a base cabinet with four drawers to keep ______ in the first one, ______ in the second one, ______ in the third one and ______ at the bottom.”
As simple as that.


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