Decision dilemma: How can I revamp the kitchen so it works better?

PUBLISHED: 11:11 10 August 2014

Decision advisor Roni Jay

Decision advisor Roni Jay


Need to improve your kitchen layout but don’t know where to start? Devon decision advisor Roni Jay shows you how

Have you got a kitchen that somehow just doesn’t flow? Maybe the family keep bumping into each other when anyone’s cooking, or there’s never anywhere to put anything down near the sink. It’s the logistics of the design that are the problem, but how do you go about finding a layout that works?

Start by making a list of all the things that don’t work at the moment: the fridge is too far from the cooker, people making tea and coffee get in the way if you’re cooking, there’s nowhere to put dirty pots and pans, and so on. These are the essentials that you must change if the redesign is going to be worth it.

Now make a wish list of things you’d love to have if you could, such as: space to keep the freezer in the kitchen, a double sink, a breakfast bar.

Next list the parameters you’re working to in terms of cost, and also layout restrictions: the range cooker has to be against an outside wall so it can flue out, the sink can’t move more than a couple of feet because it would be too expensive to replumb, the window is too low to put the fridge in front of it.

It now becomes a mathematical exercise in a sense, where you have to find a solution that includes all these. This is the time to be really creative. Remember you might be able to have a work surface sticking out into the room, or hang the door the other way round to create space, or get a different kind of cooker to create more work surface, or move the washing machine into the garage to make way for a freezer.

Check out any information that’s missing at this stage too. You might be assuming that no-one makes a microwave small enough to fit between the door and the cupboard, but have you checked? Maybe they do. So fill in any missing facts and figures at this stage about costs or what’s available and so on.

Make a little scale plan and then cut out pieces of card – to the same scale – that are the size of the ‘furniture’: the fridge, the cooker, the sink, the table, the chairs and so on. Lay them on the scale plan of the room and keep moving them around looking for a layout that fits and gives you what you’re looking for. Remember to allow room to pull out the chairs comfortably, or to open the fridge door, or stand by the cooker without blocking the sink.

Obviously you may need to make some compromises, especially if you went to town on your wish list, but the point is that you’ll have got your head round the decision-making process and you’ll be able to see clearly what to do.

Roni Jay is a Devon-based decision consultant

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