Expert tips for creating a dream kitchen that's also functional

DESIGN: Once the layout's sorted, the design process flows naturally. Photo: Gaggenau
DESIGN: Once the layout's sorted, the design process flows naturally. Photo: Gaggenau

Today's kitchens have to be supreme multitaskers. It's the place where the energy resonates, where the family gathers to cook, eat and share their day, and where you usually enjoy entertaining and socialising with friends.

With all this activity in one room, it's important for it to be functional and have a layout that's fit for purpose.

As our palates and culinary skills have become more sophisticated, our hunger for innovative appliances has also expanded.

Modern kitchen designs reflect this, enabling creative and enjoyable spaces with sleek aesthetics and innovative appliances that integrate with personal cooking styles and preference.

Colours, cabinetry and splashbacks all contribute to the personal style of the kitchen, but it's also important to take into consideration large appliances such as ovens, dishwashers and fridges.

These are usually integrated within the cabinetry, so it's crucial the kitchen's design and layout incorporate the style and size of each appliance.

According to the team at Gaggenau, appliances should meet your own personal needs in order to create excellent food. The luxury kitchen appliance manufacturer says it's important to take the time to understand how you cook, and the types of appliances that will most benefit you and your lifestyle.

For Tony Tan, one of Australia's most respected chefs and culinary teachers, precision and organisation is the philosophy behind functional kitchen design.

"Once the layout is under control, the design process naturally flows," he says. "Each vital consideration should work in a harmonious synergy, as they are all interconnected.

"If a kitchen is not laid out effectively, you will end up wasting time moving between spaces to get what you need. It becomes less enjoyable, and can certainly affect your cooking results as well."

Here are Tony's top tips to crafting the perfectly functional kitchen:

1. Layout. Alongside quality appliances, layout is a key consideration in modern kitchen design as both can have a big impact on productivity. Layout will determine how you use the space, and exactly how functional your kitchen will be.

Designing an effective kitchen 'work' triangle configuration will give you easy access to work surfaces, appliances and the sink, which means your all-important cooking efficiency is maximised.

2. Benchtop. The second thing to consider when designing your kitchen is your benchtop; how your benchtop is going to be configured in terms of cooktop, sink and working space is connected to the layout stage.

Keeping these elements together helps create an efficient and harmonious environment, saving time when preparing food and cooking. Everything within your kitchen will develop from these initial plans.

3. Storage. The next most important consideration when designing a functional kitchen is the storage. A good kitchen will have plenty of storage, with easy access to everything that you need while cooking.

As long as you utilise the space to maximise your storage, you will ensure that you have room for everything - from your ingredients, to plates and utensils, cookware and anything else you need on hand when cooking amazing food.

4. Finishes. The finishes you select for your kitchen need to find the perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality. In a home kitchen there is a need for clean, functional benchtops and sufficient work surfaces that are hygienic.

5. Appliances. If you're someone who is serious about your cooking, you will need to look for appliances that are the highest quality and are time efficient.

The reason top-of-the-line appliances are so highly coveted is that you can rely on them to last and to work effectively for many years to come.

It's important to consider the effect of an appliance and how it relates to the room, ensuring both its technology and aesthetics are as advanced as possible.

"Perfect your kitchen design and you can create a space that is smart with excellent flow where every meal is a pleasure to cook," says Tony.

This story Expert tips for creating your own functional dream kitchen first appeared on The Canberra Times.