Yes, the kitchen has evolved into a family gathering center. But at its heart, it's still a workspace. As you plan your new kitchen, don't let all those attractive fixtures and finishes overshadow the most important element of any good kitchen design: an efficient layout. Some homeowners are stuck with the kitchen layout they have now but if you're undertaking a remodel here are four configurations to consider.
Continuous countertops surround the cook on three sides.
Best for. Large kitchens where this layout can be divided into multiple workspaces so more than one cook can work comfortably at a time.
But. Corner cabinets require lazy Susans to make their storage accessible.
Like the U-shaped kitchen, this plan surrounds the cook with counter space and storage, but with the addition of a peninsula, or partial fourth wall.
Best for. The solo cook, who can pivot between cooking, cleanup, storage, and prep areas efficiently.
But. Provides less connection than L- and U-shaped layouts to adjacent living spaces.
Continuous counter space and work- stations on adjacent walls form a natural work triangle.
Best for. Tight spaces and letting two cooks work together. Also allows the chef to interact with guests and family members in an adjacent living area.
But. Unless the plan includes an island, traffic flow can get in the way of the primary cook.
Workstations face each other on parallel walls or on a wall and an island.
Best for. Tight spaces and maximum efficiency for a single cook.
But. Two cooks may find themselves bumping elbows. An eating area at one end of the galley lets traffic move through the workspace.
For more on remodeling your kitchen including Consumer Reports' top-rated appliances and the best places to buy them, read Get the luxury look for less.
Adapted from Consumer Reports Kitchen Planning & Buying Guide, on newsstands now.