(1) Cook-top, Refrigerator, Sink
The ideal layout centers around a work triangle of these three elements, with four to nine feet between each. But this is not a hard-and-fast rule, especially with today’s bigger, more open kitchens. Think in zones. Storing items where you use them saves you time and quickens cleanups.
(2) Prep Space
Aim for two to four feet of room on either side of the sink and the stove. If you have a stand mixer or some other bulky appliance in that spot, move it. If your kitchen lacks counter space, add more surface area with a rolling island.
(3) Dishes, Glasses, Pots and Pans
Shelves stay neater if you divide cabinets into categories. (Everyday plates in one, most-used cookware in another.) Walk yourself through your usual kitchen routine and consider how many steps you’re taking from a cabinet to its corresponding task. If a switch-up will shorten the distance, do it.
(4) Task Lighting
Overhead fixtures aren’t illuminating enough. Under-cabinet lighting not only makes food prep easier but also adds ambiance.
(5) Junk Drawer
It’s a clutter-concealing necessity, but because it’s not essential for cooking, it shouldn’t take up prime real estate. Choose a drawer at the room’s perimeter that’s 15 to 24 inches wide. Full extension glides enable you to pull drawers all the way out, maximizing space.
A freestanding garbage can is an obstruction. If you can't install a pullout cabinet bin affix a side-out rail at the bottom of a lower cupboard.