5 Things to Consider When Designing Your New Kitchen

The start of designing your kitchen can seem like a daunting process but we have the guide of things you need to consider to make the initial steps easier. Having the knowledge of these ideas before you meet with your design consultant, will give you a better understanding of your overall space.

1. Consider the working triangle for the optimal functional design.

There is a method to consider when designing a kitchen; placing elements wherever you see fit is not going to work unfortunately. This is why the working triangle was introduced, it is a design formula based on the placing of the sink, fridge and stove. Thoughtful placement of these three elements creates a good flow within the kitchen area. The aim is to make sure the triangle does not interfere with the traffic that goes through the kitchen in order to avoid crowding.

The optimal working triangle functions so the cook takes minimal steps between the sink, fridge and stove and doesn’t interfere with thoroughfare traffic through the kitchen (or as little as possible). The elements should be between 1.2m and 1.8m and a total of 4 to 8m apart. It is important that each element has proper bench space around it otherwise moving appliances and food around the kitchen will become that much harder.

2. Consider the functionality of your existing kitchen and what aspects you wish to bring into your new kitchen.

At this point, we suggest you grab a pen and paper and stand in your current kitchen. Make a list of the parts of your kitchen you like, the parts you don’t like and the parts you would like to change. It’s important to review every aspect of the kitchen in order for you to start creating your new design. This can come down to the usability, colour, design etc.

You should also write down what things would be beneficial to add to your new kitchen. Things to think about are storage solutions for inside your drawers and cupboards too, these can make them more organised and ergonomic.

You now have your design list for your new kitchen. It is a great start for you to visualise the kitchen that you’ll be in love with.

3. Consider what shaped kitchen would work best in the space allowed.

The choice may be limited when it comes to the shape of your kitchen, as it depends on where the walls are and the available space you have to work with. It is important that you work with the space you have to create a clever and ergonomic layout that maximises the whole area.

It is important to consider the overall use of the room, is it going to be more of an open-plan dining and living situation or is this room solely for the kitchen. If you are tight on space, there is always the option to make a breakfast bar behind an island or peninsula benchtop to act as your ‘dining’ area.

There are 6 main options when it comes to the layout of your kitchen.

4. Finishing Touches Make all the Difference- Colours, Inserts etc.

In a smaller kitchen area, using lighter colours will enhance the space as these tones reflect light making the walls look further away. If colour is something you would like then you can add accents in the details such as a brushed brass sink and tap or use some darker tones and go for darker handles. If the area you are working with is larger, you have the ability to play around with deeper tones for your cabinetry and wall paint.

This is where you consider the list you made in consideration #2, have a look at what storage you like or things you could do with. There are a range of great inserts that can be put in pantries, cupboards and drawers to make organisation a dream. At Misco, we use Hafele products. These storage solutions are divided into three areas- Corner storage, Underbench storage and Overhead storage, making it easier to know what storage products fit where. Some popular products are the LeMans Unit (left), Dispensa Underbench Pantry (middle) and iMove (right).

It’s always fun to have a play around with the little details in your kitchen like the sink, any feature shelving whether it’s a feature colour or floating shelves, handles, splashback, the list goes on. There are plenty of places where you can get samples of each style and material so we suggest you get a few options, play around creating a mood board and see what works for you.

5. Consider what impact your kitchen has on the environment & supporting local.

It's common to think that making the environmentally friendly choice for your home will cost you a lot more, today this is not always the case. There are companies that now make sure all their products are in some way environmentally friendly. More companies are making sure they have documentation on their website to allow customers the chance to read up on why their product is best for you and the planet. This comes in an age where people do a lot more research into materials and products before they make such an expensive purchase.

Finding energy-efficient appliances to go into your home is important but your environmentally friendly kitchen can go deeper than that. The building materials that are used throughout your house are so important. In the kitchen, this is things like the board that is used to create the carcasses in the kitchen, the benchtop material, paint etc.

A bit about the environmental efforts of our company and the companies we use:

At Misco, we recently installed solar panels through SkySolar Solar Solutions Company. Our solar panel system has 535 panels that cover the majority of the factory roof. The energy produced will provide approximately 60% of our power for the showroom, offices and factory. There are two screens in our showroom which document the energy savings and have a real-time breakdown of the energy production. We were the largest commercial business in Canterbury with solar energy at the point of installation.

We make sure the suppliers we use are continually looking to minimise their environmental footprint. One of our suppliers, Prime Panels, is making great headway on the environmental front. They are continually searching for products that meet the growing needs of their customers. They have the Environmental Choice NZ accreditation for all their melamine panels of 6mm or higher. They supply low formaldehyde boards with a rating of E0 which equates to an emission level of less than 0.5mg/litre. This MDF is manufactured from plantation-grown timber cut from sustainable forests. Great!

Another is Laminex, whose core objective is to 'Improve the environmental sustainability of our manufacturing operations, warehouses and our corporate offices.' They do this through the management of their raw materials, waste and energy consumption. Laminex is an active member of the Sustainable Business Network and NZ Green Council. They have achieved Forest Stewardship Council, Chain of Custody Certification on their manufacturing plants which means all their MDF products from these plants are produced using responsibly sourced wood fibres. Their Formica is created from responsibly sourced paper and low emission resin, making this material very high quality.

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