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Life in lockdown has seen us turn our homes into desirable destinations. Our homes have become the centre of our existence and at the heart of that existence is the kitchen. For the moment, we live, work and play at home rather than out in public, which makes a functional kitchen design more important than ever.

How to Build a Functional Kitchen

It is no secret that an exceptional kitchen is a splurge-worthy home investment. Chic cupboards, trendy colours, clever appliances and gorgeous countertops are all top priorities when renovating or updating the space in which we cook, but copying and pasting a kitchen design from a magazine is not the answer.

This highly personal space needs to be custom-made to fit your needs and desires. The most important factor in creating a kitchen you will love to use in the long term is functionality.

To help you design a functional kitchen with genius workstations, make sure to use these five tips:

1. Think of Efficiency When Designing Spaces

Make the morning rush much easier and eliminate the stress of rushing around the kitchen by creating a breakfast station with everything you need.

Throw in a fancy coffee machine, cute espresso cups and cappuccino mugs, a bar fridge for milk, yoghurt and fruit for smoothies, a blender or juicer surrounded by sufficient countertop space, and a cupboard for cereals.

Creating a breakfast station will take the stress factor out of busy mornings.
Creating a breakfast station will take the stress factor out of busy mornings.

2. Make it Multifunctional

We spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so make it a space that accommodates your needs.

How often is your centre island covered in your kids’ school books leaving no space for you to cook?

A functional kitchen design could include a stylish study corner where your little ones can do their homework while you prepare dinner or turn it into a mini home office to catch up on emails and plan meals for the week.

Go for a custom-built desk space using the same style as the rest of the cupboards in your kitchen to create a seamless look.

3. Keep it Central

Bring everyone together with a centre island that allows you to cook and unwind with your friends and family.

Plan for ample seating around the island and invest in comfortable chairs and incorporate an undercounter wine fridge or beverage cooler for a touch of luxurious convenience.

Make sure the workspace flows naturally from right to left, starting with a prep sink close to the fridge to wash vegetables along with a handy vegetable drawer for easy access to sweet potatoes, onions and the like.

Next, you want a clean chopping space with a knife and cooking utensil drawer underneath and a hidden bin for your compostable leftovers.

Bring the heat to the centre with a built-in stovetop where you can cook while facing your friends and family, making the experience of functional kitchen design that much more social.

4. Make Sure There’s Easy Access to Electricity

Modern kitchen designs are like electrical playgrounds where gadgets and appliances are essential to making prep work, cooking, baking and cleaning quicker and easier.

For this reason, it is important to ensure sufficient electrical outlets, including 3-pin, 2-pin and USB ports at the various workstations so that you always have access to easy electricity.

If you are dedicating a cupboard to appliances you do not use daily, like a frozen fruit dessert maker or an ice cream machine, consider installing a countertop plug point close by to avoid having to lug special occasion appliances across the room just to use them.

Consider installing a charging station away from the sink, kettle or stove is a safe way to keep your gadgets charged and ready to go.

Technology has found its way into modern kitchens, so allocate a safe place for your gadgets and a nearby charging station.
Technology has found its way into modern kitchens, so allocate a safe place for your gadgets and a nearby charging station.

5. Recruit the Help of a Professional

Once you know which elements are must-haves for your kitchen, get an architect involved.

Let them draw up a detailed plan walking you through the dos and don’ts of kitchen ergonomics in order to achieve that all-important functional flow.

It all starts with “The Work Triangle”.

This simple, yet important, tried and tested design method sees the three corners of the triangle connecting the stove, sink and fridge. The distance between each of these three points should lie between 1,2 and 2,7m to allow for a user-friendly, practical layout.

The architect will also ensure that your cupboards are carefully placed, preventing any wasted space, along with walkways that are at least 915mm wide to allow the cupboard doors to open with ease.

They will assist you in carefully planning energy-efficient appliance placement along with sufficient landing space next to the oven, fridge and around the sink and dishwasher.

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