A Basic Kitchen Design Guide

26If you are just starting out planning your kitchen design, the number of choices may seem overwhelming. Laminate or tile floors? Reach-in or walk-in refrigerator? Galley or open layout? This kitchen design guide includes some tips to help you get started making decisions, from the overall layout down to the color of your tile grout.

The Work Triangle

There are a number of common kitchen layouts, from a wide-open option to a long, thin galley to a large room with an island. The option that will work for you is usually limited by the shape of the space you have to work with, but there is one kitchen design guide law you can always return to: the work triangle.

The work triangle concept explains that there are three common work points in every kitchen: the sink, the refrigerator, and the stove. Of course, there will be other work points — the oven, the countertop appliances, the trash can — but the sink, stove, and refrigerator are the three most commonly accessed points. Because of this, you want them all to be easily accessible and relatively close together. Each point should be no more than 4 to 9 feet from the other two points. Because people who are not cooking often need access to the refrigerator, it should be located at the outermost point of the triangle.

Lighting and Electrical

Take a moment and think about how many electrical outlets you think you need. In reality, you probably need a few more than that. Work with an electrician to figure out how many outlets you can work into your design. Also keep in mind that some items, such as refrigeration and stoves, require special electrical outlets.

When it comes to lighting, you need to plan out both your natural and artificial light options. Windows and skylights can provide beautiful natural light, but you’ll need to have ample artificial light for when that isn’t available.


Making sure you have enough of the right kind of storage is essential to making any kitchen design successful. This means both countertop storage, for your small appliances and other knick-knacks, as well as cabinet and drawer storage. Use lazy susans to make the best use of corner cabinets, and if you have the room, consider adding an island unit to maximize your storage space.

Colors and Textures

With open floor plans becoming the norm, it is more important than ever to ensure that your kitchen’s colors and textures work well with the rest of the home. If the home has wood floors, it is easy to extend those into the kitchen,¬†otherwise you may have to choose between tile, stone, and linoleum floors, as well as materials for the countertops. These materials should complement each other, but it rarely works for them to be identical.

While your kitchen’s colors should certainly work with the rest of the home, you can also use the space to make a statement or stand out. Neutrals, red, and yellow are colors commonly seen in kitchens, as well as ‘raw’ looks like stained wood and stone. Once you find an overall color scheme or theme you like, you may find that a pop of color using rugs or backsplash tile helps give your kitchen some added personality.

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