Good flow in your kitchen will put everything you need to hand and make it a joy to use. Ergonomics is the study and design of equipment that fits the human body and its cognitive abilities. Applied to kitchen layouts, it focuses on creating a smooth, intuitive passage through the space, as well as the most efficient and comfortable cooking environment. Worktops and cabinets are positioned to effortlessly suit the physicality of the user and the job in hand, provisions and utensils are stored where they're most frequently used, and sinks and appliances are located to encourage logical movement between tasks. When deciding on a layout for your kitchen your choices are to a great extent dictated by the shape and size of your room, but that doesn't mean you have to be restricted when it comes to design. Whether the space is small, medium or large an L-shape layout works with both contemporary and traditional cabinetry, and the form is flexible enough to adapt to structural needs, such as sloping ceilings or large windows.
Place an island ingeniously and it's possible to separate the food preparation zone from an intimate dining area, whilst also preserving that all important open-plan feel. In this fabulously modern space, the creamy cabinetry and luxe hi-gloss textures bring a sense of cohesion to a wonderfully spacious, light and airy kitchen-diner, with colour and design leading the eye past the confines of the interior to the outdoor space beyond. Look closely at this classy, understated kitchen island and you'll discover it serves a multitude of purposes – a place to wash, prep food, with a neat breakfast bar to eat at with tucked-under stools. It has integrated power points so you can plug in any kitchen appliances you need and even sports matching-wood alcove shelving for displaying pottery and books.
Try changing decor to demarcate the separate dining, lounging, cooking and office areas in a multifunctional space. ‘This can be achieved by using different floor finishes, paint colours and lighting in each of the zones,' says Robert Burnett, head of design at Holloways of Ludlow. ‘Don't forget, you can always strategically position a wall, or include a room divider such as a half-height wall or storage unit, to help screen off certain areas,' advises Scott Nicholson, MD of Chamber Furniture. ‘It does need to be carefully placed so as not to block out light, but we are using these features very successfully in an increasing number of our designs. Not all kitchens are standard cubes or rectangles. Some are glass boxes with limited wall space, others have sloping ceilings, while you may also have tricky features to work around such as pillars or numerous entrance doors. An experienced kitchen designer will have come across all these sorts of problems before, so do ask them for advice.
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