The Details of Space Planning

To create the best plan for your kitchen, you need to consider all your space requirements. Space planning should be driven by your needs.

Storage Space
Is there ever enough storage space? No matter how you try, there seems to never be enough room, especially in the kitchen.

Some things to remember about storage: it should be accessible to people of all ages who will use the kitchen; it should accommodate changing work needs and storage preferences.

When planning work areas keep in mind that frequently used items should be stored where they are first used and should be easy to access. Well designed storage spaces will make your kitchen more functional and less tiring to work in.

The kitchen can create quite a bit of garbage and refuse. Be sure not to overlook this important area - from trash compactors, to garbage cans, to recycling bins.

Work Areas
The Basic Work Stations include Storage (refrigerated and unrefrigerated), Water use (food preparation, washing, and clean-up), Cooking or heating, and Meal staging. Each of these areas is used for multiple tasks. They must complement one another in the way they are created, and in their spatial relationships. Work station locations should support an efficient work flow from storage, to food preparation, to meal serving, to clean-up. Don't crowd any one area, and keep in mind how each area relates to the others.

For example, the sink and adjoining area is critical to a smart kitchen. It's not just for washing dishes or pots and pans, but also for cleaning foods, preparing vegetables, getting water, mounting a disposer and for general clean-up. It might also be used for short- term dirty holding. Remember, you rarely use your sink for only one thing at a time!

Open Floor Plans
Open floor plans are popular in new and remodeled homes, reflecting today's more informal living patterns. They typically open the kitchen to adjoining spaces such as family or great rooms, entertainment areas, or expanded dining areas. While not for everybody or every home, they can multiply living space, integrate those working in the kitchen with on-going family activities, and enhance informal entertainment.

Open floor plans can also create new design opportunities. They can help eliminate bottlenecks, improve traffic flow, and create the perception of more overall space in the home.

National Kitchen & Bath Association
The content of this article is provided courtesy of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). At, you'll find an inspiration gallery of award-winning kitchen and bath designs from NKBA members, complete with photos and floorplans. In addition, this consumer website offers articles and tips written specifically for homeowners, an extensive glossary of kitchen and bath remodeling terms, and illustrations and explanations of kitchen and bath planning guidelines. There, you can also e-mail questions to the NKBA's kitchen and bath experts, as well as order a free copy of the NKBA Kitchen & Bath Workbook.