7 Modern Kitchen Designs & Principles

We do design a lot of kitchens as part of new houses and full house remodels. At this point, we’ve got enough kitchen designs in our portfolio that they’ve become a valuable resource and we refer to them often. Reviewing past kitchen designs with current clients is one of our most important architectural tools. Another important design tool around the Office is sharing information, so for today’s post we’re bringing the two together.
Lets discuss the primary drivers of kitchen design.

Over the years we’ve found a number of important design principles that produce functional and aesthetically pleasing kitchens:

The “Work Triangle” (the triangle made by the range, the sink and the refrigerator) should be compact enough that it allows convenient and effective circulation for the chef, but generous enough that 2 people working in the kitchen aren’t bumping into one another. It also shouldn’t intersect with the kitchen island or other projecting cabinets/countertops. As a general rule of thumb, the sum of the three sides of the work triangle should be no less than 15’ and no greater than 25’.

Gathering/entertaining areas in the kitchen should be independent of the Work Triangle so that guests can nibble on appetizers, enjoy a drink, and watch the chef without getting in the way of the cooking. At the same time, it’s useful for the gathering/entertaining area to have a direct view of the kitchen’s Work Triangle.

Architectural drawings should include the geometry of appliance doors. This typically includes the swing of the refrigerator door(s), the oven and dishwasher in their open positions and any other key operations like pull-out trash bins (dashed on the plans below). While these operations will most likely overlap in some areas, it’s important to control which ones overlap. For instance, the oven door and dishwasher door can have overlapping operations as the two are typically in use at different times.

The sink, trash and dishwasher have an important linear relationship. The design of a kitchen should take the sequence of meal cleanup into consideration. Most households clear, rinse and place dishes into the dishwasher in that order. Subsequently, the kitchen design should locate the trash, sink and dishwasher in a linear order with the trash being closest to the dining room table (or breakfast nook).

Kitchen ergonomics should address more than just cooking. How the home owners enter the home and unload their groceries is an important, and often overlooked, design consideration. Locating the refrigerator and pantry near the entry of the kitchen (and preferably near some countertop) makes a kitchen work much more smoothly in general.

Kitchens are complicated design puzzles and while we don’t always hit all of these principles with each kitchen, all of them play an important role in the design process.

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