For most of us, the kitchen is a central hub of activity. Cooking, entertaining, homework — you name it, it all happens in the kitchen.

Unfortunately, many homes (especially older homes) weren’t built to accommodate that level of kitchen traffic. A fresher, more modern design can free up space and make life better in your home’s most lived-in room. Here’s what we recommend.

A Modern Kitchen Layout

Kitchen congestion usually happens because too many people are trying to use a too-small space at the same time. This common problem is one of the main reasons for the skyrocketing popularity of the open floor plan.

How do we eliminate congestion with a better floor plan?

  • Avoid narrow nooks and corners that people can get stuck in when the room is crowded.
  • Passageways and walkways in the kitchen should be at least 36 to 48 inches wide, depending on how the space will be used.
  • If you have space, an island can add easy-access counter space while also creating a convenient place for everyone to gather.

The goal is to position appliances to minimize the need for movement when you’re working in the kitchen. For many people — especially people who usually cook solo, the traditional kitchen work triangle is the most efficient. Or, you might decide it makes more sense to designate work zones based on the tasks you do most often in your kitchen.

If you like the idea of an open floor plan, but you still want some separation between rooms, think about installing a sliding barn door. Because it slides back and forth, you can adjust how open your space feels at different times (and avoid looking at dirty dishes in the kitchen while you’re eating in the dining room). This style of door also takes up minimal space since it doesn’t swing open.

Storage Can Make or Break a Kitchen

Proper storage is a common kitchen concern, but many people don’t realize how much it affects kitchen traffic.

A great starting point is to make sure you have enough cabinet and shelf space, but it’s also a good idea to plan out where you’ll be storing everything before you design your kitchen. That way you have the right amount of storage in all the right places with little or no wasted space. Another reason to do this is to make sure that all your kitchen items have a convenient home right where you need them. If you make fried eggs every morning, for example, you’ll want a nice spot near the stove for frying pans.

Don’t exclude the island as a potential place for storage. In fact, the island can be a great place for major appliances, like the stove, as well.

Where to Put the Trash

Believe it or not, one of the biggest culprits of kitchen congestion is the trash. Many people don’t realize how often they actually use it. It’s a delicate balance: you want your trash bin(s) to be easy to access but out of the way. Here are a few ideas:

  • Hidden pull-out drawers
  • Bins that slide out of a cabinet
  • A built-in countertop trash chute
  • Multiple trash bins in different areas of the kitchen (so you avoid crossing the whole room every time you need to throw something out)

Get Creative

Sometimes making your kitchen work for you involves completely redefining your space in new and creative ways. For example, we once worked with a family of four who wanted to open up their small, outdated kitchen. The biggest problem was the 16-foot wide brick wall with two fireplaces that was blocking off the kitchen from the rest of the house. We removed the wall and turned the chimney opening into a big skylight, turning the kitchen into a bright, open space to entertain family and friends. You can read more about the transformation here.

Are You Tired of Congestion in the Kitchen?

The team at Creekstone Designs specializes in creating functional, open kitchens that minimize congestion and inconvenience. We’d love to help you design and build your dream kitchen. Get in touch with us today to talk about your project.