DIY Kitchen Company
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Designing your new kitchen

DIY Kitchen Company kitchen design kit will help you to achieve the best results for your new kitchen layout.

The kitchen design kit consists of:

  • Free Computerised software - click here for more info

  • Elevations of a model kitchen to demonstrate the most common sizes and relevant overhead gaps etc. of a kitchen. There are 2 heights displayed and are meant to act as a guide to help determine the modules best suited for your kitchen. Factors that may influence the choice are ceiling heights, budget, and the preferred appearance required.

  • A grid plan and scaled shapes of the most common modules used. These can be printed and cut out so that you can move them around to try different layouts.

  • Ergonomic design requirements to help you layout your kitchen cupboards.

In addition to the kit we have listed essential things to consider when designing your kitchen.

Traditional kitchen design was based on the work triangle. The three main work areas are food storage, food preparation, and the clean-up area. In addition to this you need to consider storage for the non-consumables such as eating utensils, crockery, etc. The sketch below indicates the recommended distances between the different stations.

Remember that too small may make the area too cramped to work comfortably in, and too big can result in an inefficient work place. The trend towards "American" style appliances has made it more of a challenge to fit everything in and still allow enough room to comfortably circulate.

Tip - Don't underestimate the depth of any of the refrigerators, the space required to open doors back far enough to remove shelves and the implication of getting into the adjacent cupboards.

Zonal kitchen design is based on the number of work zones and their interaction to each other when we are preparing and storing food.

Factors that have lead to a change in kitchen layouts is that cooking is now often a shared activity whereas 20 years ago there was usually only the "housewife" preparing meals. Nowadays it is very common for 2 or more to be involved in cooking at the same time. Also, there are a lot more appliances used in food preparation and cooking. Rubbish and recycling need to be considered all these require easy storage and access. Our lifestyles have changed and entertaining is a lot more casual, with the "chef" often on display. No longer is the kitchen an isolated room - it is the central focus of the house.

Modern kitchens are designed to fit in with our lifestyles. If it is a new kitchen within an existing house there will be restrictions based on the existing room layout, doors, windows etc. Existing plumbing and electrical locations should be considered as they can sometimes be costly to relocate. If it is a new house it is easier to incorporate more of your design requirements. Some of the basic kitchen layouts are as follows:

The Galley kitchen
This usually occurs where there are two parallel walls that are 2.5 - 3 metres apart .It's effectiveness is dependant upon whether or not it is a thoroughfare and how many people are involved in cooking at the same time.

The U - Shaped kitchen
This is a traditional shape for a kitchen deign as it is usually the most efficient when it comes to the distance walked between work stations. Most suitable when there is only one cook

The peninsula kitchen
This is a U shape kitchen that usually opens into a family room/dining room. It could have a raised servery.

The L shaped kitchen
This shape is good in a large room as it allows you to group equipment without traveling long distances between work stations and works well if there will be more than one person cooking at the same time.

The single - wall kitchen
This shape is used mostly when "appearances" are very important. It is used more often in apartment living. This works best when the storage is kept above bench height with appliances kept below to maximize bench space

Addition of an Island
An island will work well with any of the above designs depending upon the additional space you require circulating around it and still allowing for appliances to open etc. It not only allows extra bench space but in the more open planned living areas it provides a social place for guests to be part of the cooking experience.

The scullery
The re-introduction of a scullery is becoming more common in some of the larger kitchens. It provides additional space to leave appliances on a bench and also allows for "messy" work areas to be out of the sight of guests.

How much space do we need? Minimum Preferred
To bend and pull out a drawer 900 mm 1000 mm
To squat and get something out of cupboard 600 mm  
Between an island and back bench 1000 mm 1200 mm
Overhang on benchtop to sit on stool 250 mm 300 mm
Two people to pass each other 1200 mm 1500 mm
How much benchtop do we need? Minimum Preferred
A landing space either side of cooktop 250 mm 400 mm
A landing space next to refrigerator 400 mm 600 mm
A landing space next to oven or M/wave 400 mm 600 mm
Bench space either side of sink 400 mm 600 mm
Preparation area 900 mm 1100 mm
Other important dimensions Minimum Preferred
Distance between Overheads and gas cooktop 650 mm  
Distance between Overheads and electric cooktop 600 mm  
Top shelf of wall oven maximum heights   1300 mm
Maximum height of microwave (Consider putting the microwave underbench)   1350 mm

In order to achieve the best layout for you and your family it will be necessary to do some homework. You need to prepare a check list covering such topics as how you wish to use your kitchen, the mood or "feel" that you wish your new kitchen to achieve and what structural restrictions you have to your space.

A brief checklist:

    How do you entertain?
    Casual / formal / regularly / rarely

    What other outdoor cooking / entertaining areas do you have?
    Barbecue / weber / pizza oven / teppanyaki grill /

    How many and how old are the family members?
    No. of adults / under 5 / 6 to 12 years / teenagers / young adults
    Are they left or right handed?

    What methods of cooking do you most often use in the main kitchen area?
    Frying / grilling / baking / microwave /

    What hand appliances do you use and how frequently?
    Blender / juicer / coffee machine / toaster / kettle / griller / sandwich toaster

    How often do you shop?
    Daily / bi weekly / weekly / fortnightly

    What sort of foodstuffs do you mainly purchase on these outings?
    Non perishables / fruit and vegetables / meat

    What sort of seating do you require within this space and will it be stools or chairs?
    Preparation seating / snack seating / dining seating / and for how many

    Do you prefer the following setup?
    A flat breakfast bar / raised servery / casual eating area / a separate formal area

    How much do you recycle and what separate dedicated space for the waste items?
    Organic -wet / glass / paper / general / other

    What other facilities would you ideally like to incorporate in this area?
    Radio / T.V / phone / phone books / computer / notice pin board /message board

    Do you also need to incorporate additional storage for other items?
    Brooms / dustpans / cleaning products /ironing board/ vacuum /medical drugs etc