article covers laying out your kitchen cabinets. The
first article in this kitchen design series is Measuring
for Kitchen Cabinets, which explained how to create
a diagram of the space. The article will deal with typical
considerations in planning a kitchen, as well as specific
design ideas and techniques based on our experience
with these fine Timberlake® cabinets.
The real skill, or art, of a kitchen designer is to
combine functionality with convenience and style to
create a beautiful design that will aid you in the way
you work in the space. We will walk you through the
This is a general article,
but the real value of working with us is that our free
personal design service means that we will go further,
designing specifically for your space and needs. In
the meantime, be thinking of the following questions:
How often do you cook, and how many people cook at once?
Do children ever help?
Do you eat in the kitchen? Most meals, or just breakfast?
Do you perform other tasks in the kitchen? Homework,
paying bills, TV, computer?
those who are comfortable with their existing layout,
and simply want to replace their original cabinets in
the same configuration, we can easily fulfill this type
of order. However, read on to get a new perspective
on your original design; you may find that new options
and convenience features open up new design possibilities
in the same space.
Traditional kitchen design begins with a concept known
as the work triangle. The sides of this triangle consist
of the shortest distance between the refrigerator, cooking
surface and the sink. The underlying idea is that these
main functional areas should be located near each other
as they are used in combination for most common kitchen
tasks. Typically, a distance of no less than 4' and
no more than 10' is recommended along any side of the
triangle. Ideally, islands and major traffic paths should
not cut through the triangle.
Once the refrigerator,
sink, and cooking surface are located in the design,
other appliances can be placed. Consider the following:
1- The stove or cooktop
must be ventilated with a hood above, (unless a down-draft
cooktop is used). This often means that a short cabinet
will be located over the hood. For safety and efficiency
most hoods are designed to ventilate to the outside,
which means the cooking surface is often located on
an outside wall. Hoods come in many different styles,
but one popular option is to utilize a combination microwave
/ hood. In this way, the microwave appliance can be
located off of the counter, an fulfill the function
of ventilation fan and light over the cooking surface.
This regains counter space, but may not be ideal for
children due to the height of the microwave.
2- Dishwashers are usually
located adjacent to the sink as they share plumbing
and you are often loading the dishwasher from items
in the sink. Since you unload clean dishes into the
cabinets, it is good design to locate cabinets in which
you intend to store dishes and glasses near (or above)
the dishwasher. Attention should also be given to whether
the primary user is right or left handed, and on which
side of the dishwasher they prefer to work so that the
above cabinets can be hinged correctly right or left.
3- Garbage disposals,
water filters, and water softeners are usually located
within the sink base. Attention must be given to the
space these units will occupy, as well as their plumbing
and electrical hookups. Be sure the depth of the sink
and the plumbing to the dishwasher allow for these if
4- Trash compactors usually
require just an electrical hookup. These will eliminate
the need for a garbage pail, but will take up space
otherwise available for a 15" or 18" base
cabinet. Of course, if you prefer, a sliding garbage
pail on rails is available as an accessory to mount
in a base cabinet.
5- A wine refrigerator,
or cooler, will require an electrical hookup and will
be mounted under the countertop. You will give up some
cabinet space, but for wine lovers who like their various
wines at the proper temperature this is a must. It will
save some space in your refrigerator, and if cabinet
space is a priority, you can create a wet or dry bar
with a wine refrigerator in another area or even a den
or living room.
Now that all of the appliances
are located in the design, add those cabinets that are
necessary to work with the selected appliances. For
example, a sink base for the sink, an open base for
a cooktop, (or peninsula bases for an island), a base
cabinet for a sliding waste basket or recycling unit,
tall oven cabinets for built-in ovens, heat shields
if necessary, short wide cabinets for over the microwave
or refrigerator if it isn't built-in, or panels and
spacers if it is built-in. In this way you are meeting
the functional requirements of your design by providing
for the tools you need to work in your kitchen.
The next step is to identify
special areas. To create drama and add interest, a focal
point such as an island, a window seat, a pantry area,
a breakfast nook, a desk, or other special function
area can be used.
The last major step in
the cabinet layout process is to take the remaining
runs of cabinet space and to determine how best to divide
it among the different types of cabinets. For example,
36" of base cabinet space could be occupied by:
One base cabinet with full width slide out shelves,
batten doors, and two drawers.
One base cabinet with stationary shelves, a center stile,
and two drawers.
One base cabinet with 4 drawers and no doors.
Two 18" cabinets with a sliding garbage pail in
one and sliding recycling bins on the other.
One corner base cabinet with lazy susan rotating shelves.
Three cabinets; one 15" base cabinet with shelf
and drawer, one 12" base of drawers only, and one
9" narrow cabinet for storing pans, cookie sheets,
trays, chopping blocks, and other thin items.
Three cabinets; one 24" base, one 6" base
of spice drawers, one 6" base wine rack.
There are more
combinations, but this just illustrates the point that
we offer options suitable for anyone and any functionality.
The slide out drawers are good for heavy items like
pots and pans; big items are more accessible through
doors with battens and no center stile; wide top drawers
are useful for silverware and utensils; a cabinet of
deep drawers will hold dish towels, pot holders, or
foils; the 9" wide tall cabinet is perfect for
someone who bakes; a slide out garbage pail is useful
when there isn't enough floor space for a separate pail;
spice drawers are useful for small items; and so on.
Think of what combinations are best in your kitchen.
As you can see, there are many ways to configure cabinets
in any given space.
guides are available to see what kinds of base,
wall, and pantry cabinets are available. Panels, fillers,
and moldings, as well as special application cabinets
are all pictured and all available measurements are
given. Simply view your options and choose what is best
for you. Of course, our free personal design service
is available to help. Simply fax your measurements and
call - we'll be happy to help design the perfect combination