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Probably the most important aspect of a kitchen remodel is choosing the floor plan. When deciding on how to lay out your kitchen, you should really take the time to think about how your family uses the space and pick a plan that will be most functional for you.
The floor plan in a kitchen consists mainly of the cabinets and island and perhaps a separate eat in area. There's basically 5 different "shapes" in which you can configure your cabinets.
Cabinets Along One Wall
In the simplest of kitchen you might find cabinets along one wall only. This could be practical if you have a long narrow kitchen. This is the least functional type of kitchen. If you have to have this type of plan, make sure the sink is in the center with the oven and fridge close by so the cook can easily prepare the food. Also make sure you have enough counter space between appliances - a common mistake is to put only 8" to a foot between appliances and there is not much you can do with that little space. This type of layout is not conducive to family gatherings in the kitchen unless you have a larger area where you can put a table and chairs - even then, your back will be to everyone as you are preparing the food.
This style of kitchen is often seen in apartments and smaller homes and consists of a somewhat narrow kitchen with cabinets along 2 opposing walls. While this plan is efficient on space it can be difficult to work in as the traffic pattern is right in the middle of where you are trying to prepare food. The configuration makes it a little easier to prepare food in than the "once wall" configuration, but it does not leave any room for family or friends to join in the fun. The typical galley kitchen is narrow with walls on either side. In this style kitchen, it is best to place the sink and stove on one side of the galley and the fridge on the other.
L Shaped Kitchen
An L shaped cabinet arrangement can make good use of space and be a lot easier to work in. Try to locate the appliances close to the middle of the L, but leave plenty of counter space in between each appliance so the cook has space to work on. If one end of the L is open to another room, you can add bar stools and make it a counter - this type of kitchen is great for having family and friends gather while you are preparing the food.
U Shaped Kitchen
A U shaped kitchen requires plenty of space - 8 feet by 8 feet at the bare minimum. This type of layout maximizes storage but can be difficult for more than one cook. Putting a table at the opening to the U can add seating for family to gather. Another option is to open up one side of the U and put bar stools on the other side of the counter. In a U shaped kitchen, the major appliances (sink, fridge, stove) should each be placed each on one leg of the U.
Islands are great additions to any style kitchen as long as you have the room. An island can be incorporated into any of the kitchen floor plans above and can add to the ease of cooking in kitchens that are rather large as you can locate a sink or stove on the island and have it near the other appliances for ease of use in cooking and preparing food. In order to incorporate an island into our kitchen you need to have 42" of aisle space on all sides. If your kitchen is too small to allow for this, try a portable island that you can move in and out as needed. Islands are great places to have an extra appliance or add an eating counter.
Lee Dobbins loves to decorate and write about decorating. Visit her site for more unique and unusual Kitchen Decorating Ideas.
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