There’s nothing wrong with getting caught up in kitchen remodel inspiration. Spotting a dream design is often the first step a homeowner takes on the path toward a kitchen remodel.
Turning your kitchen remodel dreams into reality can have a significant impact on your home’s value. However, too many homeowners attribute a great remodeling project to improving aesthetics alone.
It may not feel like it at first, but the practical side of a kitchen remodel—the workflow—can make or break your entire project.
Getting the workflow right should be top of mind for anyone starting down this interior remodeling path.
Work Triangles vs. Work Zones
If you’re thinking about a kitchen workflow for the first time, there are two main layout concepts to understand.
First, there’s the classic idea of the kitchen work triangle. Think about the kitchens within any homes built in the mid-to-late 1900s. More than likely, you’ll see the main fixtures—refrigerator, over, and sink—arranged in a rough triangle. This triangle was meant to eliminate wasteful steps as homeowners navigate the kitchen.
And for years, the work triangle worked wonders for homeowners.
There are just two problems when it comes to the work triangle, though. One is that not every space is capable of supporting this approach. The other is that today’s kitchens are full of many more components than the three basics that create a work triangle.
To add greater flexibility and overcome these limitations, many designers and contractors are shifting toward the work zones concept. There are three main zones to consider:
- The Preparation Zone: Most of our kitchen time is spent preparing food. If you’re preparing an elaborate meal, running out of work space can be a real source of frustration. Designing a work zone with ample counter space and close proximity to both your pantry and refrigerator is essential.
- The Cooking Zone: Any appliances necessary for cooking—oven, stove, microwave, warming drawers, etc.—comprise this zone. Ideally, you’ll be able to move prepared food directly to this zone without taking steps across the kitchen. Whether it’s behind your prep zone or adjacent to it, these two areas should create an effortless cooking experience.
- The Washing Zone: Homeowners may be able to overlook workflow issues for the prep and cook zones because there’s an enjoyable end goal. But no one enjoys using the washing zone—especially if you don’t have a dishwasher. Having storage cabinets within reach can make unloading dry dishes easier, and placing your sink adjacent to the dishwasher makes loading easy, too.
If you like to entertain and have an open concept kitchen, you may want to consider a taller countertop area to shield your dirty dishes from guests.
With proper design, a kitchen remodel strategy that uses work zones can maximize functionality and aesthetics at the same time. But the key phrase here is “proper design.” Without a skilled full-service remodeler you can trust during the design phase, you could end up with a workflow that falls short of expectations (for you and future home buyers).
Trust the Design Process
Not all kitchen remodel inspiration makes sense for your space and workflow needs. That’s why you don’t want a contractor who will just move forward with whatever inspiration you’re trying to imitate.
Make sure you find a full-service remodeler that has professional designers available throughout the process. Without sitting down with a professional designer, you run the risk of pushing forward on an ineffective workflow.