Planning your Cabinet LayoutJuly 14, 2017
Choosing how your new cabinets will fit into your kitchen remodel is an important decision. The design you choose dictates how long and how much it will cost. It might also determine whether or not you need to hire outside help. There are a lot of factors. Let’s take a look at what you need to consider as you plan your cabinet layout so you can make smart budgeting and hiring decisions.
The first consideration is deciding where you’ll put your appliances. Every kitchen will have a sink, a stove, and a refrigerator at a minimum. Changing where these go may require the help of an electrician and a plumber.
The ideal layout for these three appliances is a triangle with the stove furthest away from the refrigerator and storage spots next to all of them. This allows the maximum amount of access and utility. Remember, kitchens have to be functional as well as beautiful. Decide where these appliances will go first because it will inform all other design decisions.
There are four basic kitchen designs. Here are their pros and cons:
L-shaped – Cabinets along two walls in the shape of an L. This floor plan maximizes floor space. For large families or for those who like to entertain and don’t have a separate dining room, this design lets people gather in the kitchen without interfering with cooking or cleaning.
U-shaped – Cabinets along three walls. This format maximizes storage space, but it makes it much harder for people to gather in the kitchen. This is a working-kitchen design. One way to make it more accessible is to install a breakfast bar along one of the walls and put a row of smaller cabinets along the access window.
Galley – Two parallel rows of cabinets. As the name suggests, this type of kitchen is used on ships where space is limited. Your home’s layout might make this design the best option. Like the U-shaped kitchen, this design is for working and not entertaining. Galley kitchens work best in small spaces to minimize the amount of walking from one side to another.
Islands – Islands could be added to any of these designs, but islands can be more trouble than they’re worth. They’re useful in a large kitchen as a work surface or a place to put your sink and dishes. This frees up counter space. However, islands can make it very hard to create a work triangle between the stove, refrigerator, and sink. Adding or removing an island will likely require professional help to deal with the utilities.
What do you want to store, and how much of it do you want to keep in the kitchen? If you have a lot of things, you may need to look into deep drawers or lazy susans to maximize the use of space.
You’ll also want to consider height. Cabinets that reach the ceiling may look pleasing, but will you ever use that high-up space? Can you put things there safely?
Cabinet makers have all sorts of tricks for getting the most utility out of any space. This is where a designer can really help you. They can plot out cabinet options that will fit around your appliances and use the space efficiently.
Another consideration is accessibility. If you own your home and you expect to stay there for life, it’s worth factoring in accessibility features into your design now so you won’t have to add them later. Here are some things to consider.
- Doorways wide enough to fit a wheelchair with lever handles
- Accessible counter heights
- Room to maneuver in a wheelchair
- Motion-sensing lights
A kitchen designer with experience in accessible kitchens is a huge aid if you wish to create a kitchen that can be used in any phase of life.
Know your cabinet sizes
Stock and semi-custom cabinets usually have a fixed size. This helps kitchen designers and contractors create plans that won’t backfire later. Using these sizes will help you know how many cabinet units you’ll need to purchase. This makes budgeting easy.
Floor cabinets are 34.5 inches tall and 2 feet deep. When combined with an industry-standard countertop, the full height is 36 inches.
Full-sized wall cabinets are 30 inches tall and a foot deep. Smaller wall cabinets that need to make room for appliances can be anywhere from a foot to two feet tall. The standard distance between the top of a countertop to the bottom of a wall cabinet is 18”
The width of a cabinet is where the most variation can happen. Some cabinets are as wide as six inches up to 48 inches. Cabinets widths come in 3” increments.
After accurately measuring your space, you can use these sizes to see just how many cabinet units of what widths you’ll need for your kitchen. Don’t forget to measure your appliances as well and give enough room on either side to move them in and out and to allow for airflow. If you have a designer doing the work, they can supply you with a list of measurements they’ll need to create a computer-generated design for your space.
By taking your design through these steps and consulting with a designer, you won’t have to worry about any installation nightmares with your kitchen remodel. Easy installation all comes down to proper planning. Good luck with your remodel!