At the top of the wish list for many of our clients in Winnipeg and the surrounding area is redesigning their kitchen. As part of their larger kitchen renovation project, they want to see improvements in functionality and efficiency.

Any of our Winnipeg kitchen design tips focus on how to do that – improve your home’s functionality and efficiency. No doubt, your kitchen is the heart of your home – to have it set up to work in the best way possible for your family’s needs – will lead to more enjoyment and better life quality. But why is that?

Why bother improving your kitchen design?

Your kitchen may be doing double, triple, or quadruple duties – as an eating area, homework or workspace, arts and crafts or hobbies space, not to mention preparing and cooking meals. Not only does your kitchen receive a ton of use, but it also needs storage for many things like appliances, food, medication, cookware and dishware, and more. And finally, if you’re the entertaining type (and even if you’re not), your kitchen will likely act as the primary space where you and your family, friends, and guests will spend the most time together.

With all of these expectations for your kitchen, it is crucial that your kitchen reflects your personality, style, and design tastes. Furthermore, it’s incredibly critical that your kitchen design is a space that’s functional and efficient.

But what does it mean to improve the functionality and efficiency of your kitchen design?

What does it mean to improve the functionality and efficiency of your kitchen design?

I alluded to it earlier – and simply put, it is so your kitchen design will meet your family’s lifestyle needs.

Not everyone uses their kitchen in the same way. The goal of any kitchen design is to identify the needs of your family. Then, we create your design based on the information we receive. There can be many different outcomes, and when evaluating your needs from your kitchen design, you should also attempt to anticipate what your needs will be in the future.

To help you start the process, we’ll list some common kitchen needs below.

  • How much storage will your kitchen design need to accommodate?
  • What type of storage do you need for food, appliances, cookware, dishware, etc.?
  • Does your kitchen design need to allow for eat-in kitchen abilities – typically, with a peninsula or island that offers seating or a dedicated eating nook?
  • What sight lines from the kitchen will be best for your family, and what’s possible based on the configuration of your home’s load-bearing walls?
  • How much workable counter space do you need?
  • Do you plan to entertain or have gatherings regularly, and what does that look like to you?
  • What is possible within the floorplan of your home – will there be an opportunity to borrow space from other rooms?
  • Are there other ways you plan to use your kitchen – and if so, how should those be incorporated into the kitchen design?

What are your must-have kitchen design features?

Kitchen design tips include planning your kitchen renovation and floor plan layout according to kitchen zones

In addition to your kitchen needs in a general sense, it’s also important to hone in on specific things that can set your kitchen design up for success with its primary focus – meals.

  • Do you consider yourself more of a baker or a cook?
  • Do you plan multiple meals a week or larger meals for leftovers?
  • How elaborate is your cooking style?
  • How many of your family members are with you in the kitchen?

Improving your kitchen design and how your kitchen meets your family’s needs go hand-in-hand. The more accurate you are in determining your needs and then having a design that accommodate those needs – the higher satisfaction you will have with your kitchen renovation project.

With our lifestyle consideration checklist answered, we can move on to determining what options might be available for your kitchen design.

Determine your kitchen design shape

Did you know that kitchen designs usually are one of ten standard shapes? While every kitchen can have unique elements that fall outside the shape, most home builders or renovation companies follow these patterns as the basis for any kitchen design.

Some of the most popular kitchen design shapes are:

  • U-shaped kitchen
  • Kitchen with island
  • G-shaped kitchen (peninsula)
  • Galley-style kitchen
  • Single counter kitchen
  • L-shaped kitchen
Kitchen design shapes include L-shape, U-shape, G-shape, single-wall, galley, and kitchen island

Of course, there are no hard or fast rules on the shapes – and we can create kitchen renovations for all shapes and sizes. Your home may have space for your kitchen’s floor plan to utilize two or more shapes. Some of the most common dual-shaped kitchens are:

  • U-shaped kitchen with island
    When the U shape is large and can fit an island in between the two flanking sides
  • L-shaped kitchen with island
    Popular with many home builders, the L-shaped kitchen has an island running parallel to one of the legs of the L
  • Galley-style kitchen with extended L
    Using the Galley-style kitchen, one of the walls is extended past the other on either end and then runs perpendicular to the galley
  • U-shaped kitchen with a single counter area
    Using the U-shaped kitchen, the single counter area is at the opening of the U, with space for a walkway

Multiple shape kitchens have gained popularity recently when homes have space for a larger kitchen due to more of that space being functional.

Also, just because your kitchen uses one of these shapes does not mean you’re limited to that shape. If you’re working with a home renovation company like ours, they can consult about which walls are feasible to open up. 

As part of your kitchen renovation, if you remove walls, your options for new ways to configure your kitchen design grow exponentially.

Envision yourself using your kitchen design

While it might seem silly initially, one of our favourite ways to have our clients find out if their kitchen design will work for them – is for them to envision themselves using the space.

It can be challenging to envision something that isn’t there, but as we make kitchen design changes, we can help you understand how your new kitchen will function. As part of your design consultations, we can walk you through the location of your appliances and walls, your counter space, how your cabinets will operate, and more.

Kitchen design tips include envisioning yourself in your kitchen before you start renovating

You can take your visualization further by taping out your kitchen design or placing markers to show where prominent items in your kitchen will be located.

As part of any visualization, it’s important to recall scenarios you encounter in everyday life (including ones you anticipate facing in the future) – and work through those scenarios with your kitchen design floor plan. Your scenarios can include things like:

  • Creating a meal for a special family gathering or holiday that you host
  • Meal prep, cooking, and running through your entire daily routine
  • Doing less frequent tasks in your kitchen – i.e., if you don’t bake often
  • Completing your kitchen chores, like emptying the dishwasher or taking out the trash
  • How your accessibility needs might change as you age – in 10, 20, 30 years

The more visualization and scenarios you are comfortable with before your kitchen design moves forward to construction, the higher the likelihood that it meets all your needs when it’s complete.

Divide your kitchen design into storage and workspace zones

With your kitchen design shape determined, you’ll want to divide your kitchen area into zones. We typically look at two zones that will overlap in your kitchen design, but it’s important that the zones related to each other overlap.

  • Storage zones – consumables/food, non-consumables, cleaning
  • Workspace zones – preparing, cooking, cleaning

The idea of dividing your kitchen design into zones is to create the optimal workflow for the tasks you plan to do in your kitchen. For example, having your consumable storage and workspace cleaning zones close to each other will create a less-than-optimal workflow.

Kitchen design tips include creating kitchen zones for cooking, preparation, cleaning, consumables, and non-consumables

Ultimately, where your kitchen design zones are located will be based on your kitchen design shape. However, generally speaking, the combinations of kitchen zones that work best are:

  • Consumables/food storage paired with preparing workspace
  • Non-consumables storage close to the cooking workspace
  • Cleaning storage matched to clean workspace

Of course, all sorts of little details would also come into play, like having your preparing and cooking workspace close, having your cooking and cleaning workspace nearby, and having your non-consumables storage near your cleaning zones.

Depending on the size of your kitchen renovation, you might have multiple zones of each, so you’ll want to consider how that works in the equation of your kitchen design. Finally, you’ll want to consider your primary ‘work triangle.”

How to apply the “work triangle” to your kitchen design?

Your kitchen design shape and zones will help ensure your kitchen functions for many uses, but your work triangle is the key to your kitchen design efficiency.

What is the kitchen work triangle?

Winnipeg kitchen design tips - how to incorporate the kitchen work triangle into your design

We covered the kitchen work triangle extensively in our article, “Our best kept interior design secrets, revealed!” — but in short:

It was devised in the 1920s to measure kitchen efficiency within a residential home. The triangle is formed from your prep and cooking area (stove) to your cleaning area (sink) and your food storage area (refrigerator). As part of the calculation, the kitchen work triangle focused on:

  • The sum of the three sides of the triangle should not exceed 26 feet, and each leg should measure between 4 and 9 feet
  • No side of the triangle should cut through a kitchen island or peninsula by more than 12 inches, with no significant traffic patterns crossing each other through the triangle

Of course, the work triangle was created over a century ago – your family and your home operate much differently now. However, the work triangle principle can still be applied to ensure your kitchen design efficiency.

For kitchen design today, we look at multiple work triangles, the use of your kitchen zones, and the amount of dissecting or overlapping pathways occurring between the triangles.

There are all sorts of rules for what actually constitutes the traditional “work triangle,” – and we loosely follow them – our utmost concern is ensuring that your entire kitchen design focuses on accommodating your family’s needs.

Should you work with an interior designer for your kitchen design?

If any of the information to improve the functionality and efficiency of your kitchen design in this article is news to you, perhaps you should work with a professional interior designer. 

The function and efficiency of your kitchen design are just parts of the interior design puzzle that an interior designer helps with. They can also help with:

  • Kitchen cabinets, storage, and pantry design
  • Kitchen material selection, including countertops, backsplash, and flooring
  • All fixtures and finishes your kitchen renovation will need
  • Lighting for your kitchen design and renovation
  • Kitchen accessories and hardware to round out your renovation
  • And they can even help ensure your appliances will fit your design style
Kitchen design tips include working with an interior designer

We recently wrote an article, “How much interior design services cost in Winnipeg?” which walks you through interior design pricing. Please read it and let us know if you have any questions.

Why select us to help you design your kitchen?

Hammerdown Home Renovations is a design-build general contracting company. That means we can design your kitchen renovation and then build it. Having an interior designer on the team and our years of experience as a design-build contractor allows us to offer this to our customers.

We created this helpful guide, ”What should you consider before hiring an interior designer?” which we recommend for anyone to read before hiring an interior designer.

In addition to those considerations, our company is uniquely positioned to help you in the following ways:

We make kitchen design and renovations enjoyable and stress-free. Learn more about what you can expect from your kitchen design project by reviewing our article, “How to prepare for your interior design consultation?” and reading about our interior design service.

Contact us for your kitchen design quote!

We are as excited as you are for your new kitchen design, and we’d love to be part of the project. If you want to discuss your project with us, we’ll happily provide you with a kitchen design quote. Contact us today with your kitchen design project details!