The kitchen is often considered the heart of the home because that’s where family meals are prepared. Yet it can also be a prime spot for casual meals and interaction for those who do not cook on a regular basis.

With more homeowners opting for an open kitchen in a tight apartment layout, it’s important to know how to maintain the look of a neat and well-stocked kitchen. When planning the layout, it is essential to ensure that you have factored in sufficient storage space for your appliances and food, as well as ample work surfaces for your cooking prep.

“Open kitchen usually means less storage, so you have to think a bit more carefully on how to design a functional kitchen.” – Niamh Macfadden, creative director of Make Room.

How to design a kitchen layout?

A well-designed kitchen is one where everything you need is within reach when you are cooking, helping to cut down on the time needed to put your meals together.

It also offers appropriate areas for storing perishable items, as well as kitchen equipment that you regularly use, like the rice cooker or microwave, plus those that you seldom require, like a dough mixer or pasta machine.

“The kitchen area experiences high traffic and regular usage, as a result it’s also where homeowners can expect to see the most is the most wear and tear,” explains Madabhushi Varadaraj Santosh Srikanth, Assistant Vice President, Category, Operations and Design of Livspace, a locally-based home interior and renovation company.

“Do not compromise on the quality of material and workmanship for the sake of a few hundred dollars. If you cook regularly, it pays to invest in durable and high-quality materials for the space.”

1. Open Concept vs Closed Kitchen

An open-concept kitchen typically comes without separating walls, or the walls are hacked down, leading to lesser wall space to build the regular top and bottom kitchen cabinets. Opening up the walls provides larger countertop spaces and creates more floor space to build kitchen islands or a peninsula that comes with built-in storage spaces as well.

A closed-concept kitchen is enclosed with walls and a door. Closed kitchens are typically seen in kitchen layouts, such as the basic straight kitchen layout with one wall of storage or a galley kitchen with two parallel walls of cabinetry and a walkway in the middle.

It is one of the more efficient layouts for storage and narrow spaces, as full-height cabinets can be easily built onto one of the walls. Closed kitchens are ideal for homeowners who cook regularly, and want to prevent grease and fumes from entering other parts of the home.

The L- and U-shaped kitchen layouts are variations of this layout and offer great amounts of storage space as well, however, corner cabinets have to be fitted with pull-out trays or other add-on accessories to make full use of the otherwise “dead space” as they are inaccessible for users.

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2. Cluttered Kitchen Cabinets

A kitchen with sufficient storage space can also be faced with situations, where things get messy and items are stacked up against each other, causing hard-to-reach areas in the inner recesses of kitchen cabinets.

Drawers that are fitted with organisers make it easier to find what you need at a glance, while deeper drawers fitted with heavy-duty drawer tracks can be used for cookware such as pots and pans that come in various sizes.

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3. Bad Storage Planning

Poorly planned storage compartments can lead to a lot of wasted space. When planning the layout of your kitchen cabinets, start by sorting out the appliances that are regularly used from those that are seldom utilised.

Small items, such as cutlery and cups, should be stored in a drawer close to the dining area, while items that are seldom used can be stored along the top cabinets.

Appliances that see regular usage can be stowed under the counter or kept in a cupboard for easy access. Open shelves are ideal for display areas to make the kitchen feel spacious and inviting.

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4. Carpentry vs Modular Kitchen Cabinets

A carpentry kitchen, also known as a carpenter-made kitchen is custom-made and tailored to fit any kitchen floor plan and technical requirements in terms of plumbing, gas pipes, and even structural obstructions like columns and beams.

Everything from the laminates to the cabinet handles are sourced from various suppliers before installation. Additional hinges, racks, and systems, such as drawer tracks, pull-out trays, and interior dividers have to be incorporated separately to further optimise the storage needs.

A modular kitchen offers ergonomically planned and pre-fabricated machine-made modules from ranging lengths and customisable heights that come with up to 25 years of guarantee and warranty (like the Siematic kitchen cabinet pictured above).

As they come in modular units designed with various storage requirements, it is easier to assemble and reassemble the modules based on the different kitchen workflow requirements, allowing for a fuss-free process to replace or upgrade any cabinet without having to make any major renovations.

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5. Lack of countertop space

Consider the countertop prime property in your kitchen, and filling it with bulky kitchen appliances, such as rice cookers and air fryers, means having less space for cooking preparation.

Always make space for a large cutting board beside the sink before putting other appliances along the countertop. Alternatively, you can also extend the countertop space by having a wooden cutting block over the sink.

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