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Key Elements of a Compact and Functional Kitchen Design (Demo)


A kitchen is an indispensible area in your home, whether you are fond of preparing meals or not. Even if you are not interested in cooking, you will always find joy in the comfort food that you can keep and prepare in the kitchen. Herein, you can explore your creativity by testing different recipes.

If you only have limited space, you can opt for compact yet functional kitchen. Below are the key elements you have to consider when working on your kitchen design. To start planning, get a graph paper, pencil, ruler, scrap paper and scissors.

Work Triangle

In kitchen design sketches, the work triangle refers to triangular arrangement of the stove, sink and refrigerator. The aforementioned kitchen staples are situated in different sides. If you place these three items beside each other, a part of your kitchen will look overcrowded while another part will seem empty. What makes work triangle more ergonomic is the fact that you will need a clear surface beside the stove, sink and refrigerator to put items as you prepare meals and clean.

It is only fitting to base your kitchen floor plan on the work triangle. Before designing their placement, measure your would-be kitchen and draw a smaller version on your graph paper. Use the scrap paper to make cut-outs to represent the stove, sink and refrigerator. A little bit of window shopping is required as you will need to have an estimate on the size of each appliance – unless, of course, if you can afford to customize it.

Work Tops

Counter tops, kitchen islands and tables are types of work tops. These surfaces are must-haves of every kitchen design. Without work tops, meal preparation will be a bit harder. You will need surfaces so you can place various kitchen tools as you slice, mix, cut, clean and so on. When deciding on the measurement of your work tops, make sure there is an enough space for other countertop kitchen appliances, such as coffee maker, toaster and electric kettle.

Work tops are classified into four based on the materials used. These classifications are wooden, marble and stone, ceramic and plastic. Wooden work tops are the best options if you have limited space. They look light, even if they are regarded as hardwearing. Wooden work tops may be made foldable as well. However, the price and maintenance required are not appealing. Plastic-made looks light as well and it comes with different designs and colors to match your preferred kitchen theme.

It’s also cheap but it’s quite prone to damages from heat, weight and frequent use. Ceramic, marble and stone may be tougher than plastic-made but the price becomes a problem. These materials tend to look heavy as well. However, by complementing these materials with light-looking objects and ornaments in the kitchen, they become a good choice.


Aside from the refrigerator, decide on the other appliances you intend to place in your kitchen. Incorporate them in your kitchen design, but keep in mind that you only have a limited space, so you won’t end up cramping your kitchen. Multi-functional kitchen appliances tend to be the most space-efficient. If you intend to add a dishwasher, place it near the sink and refrigerator.


Maximize your kitchen design by adding storage spaces generously. Cupboards, high cabinets, open shelves and racks are the answer to your storage needs. You can designate each compartment for food products, small kitchen appliances, cooking ware, glassware, and utensils. You can also use hide a storage bin in the cupboard below the sink. You may use the open shelves to display decors or items you frequently use, such as cups and condiments. The racks are for your oddly-shaped cooking tools such as pans and ladles. Just make sure to avoid hanging too many items there.


Kitchen islands in interior design magazines and websites look beautiful and highly functional, but look at your kitchen design sketch and ask yourself if you really need one for your kitchen. If you are thinking of adding one, can you still have enough space to move around? Instead of a kitchen island, why not go for skinny table tops? Don’t compromise movability as you plan.


Cleanliness and Safety

A kitchen needs to be clean at all times. Imagine if you are preparing meals in a messy kitchen. The idea is not only revolting. Your foods may get pathogens as well. Aside from having a waste disposal unit tucked away behind a cupboard, you can also ensure cleanliness by placing hand towels near the intended working areas. Using magnets, you can fasten a calendar in your refrigerator door. In this calendar, you can write down the expiration date of the food products in your refrigerator.  This will also help determine the items you need for your grocery shopping later on.

If you are living with children, you have to ponder about their safety in the kitchen, too. Even though you frequently use some knives, it may not be a good idea to put them on display. Get covers for the sockets in your kitchen as well.

Plumbing, Wiring and Lighting

Having a carefully planned kitchen design helps you lessen possible problems with plumbing, wiring and lighting. Complicated piping makes it difficult for plumbers to fix leaks and other damages. To simplify plumbing, place fixtures that require water near each other. As mentioned earlier, place the sink and dishwasher near each other. For appliances that require water such as heaters and coffee makers, it is better to put them in countertops when in use. Determine the walls where you will put double sockets for such appliances. For the lighting, put a source of light above working stations (or near them, in the case of stoves).


No matter how small your kitchen is, it should not be lacking in ornaments that help liven it up. You can attach hooks in empty walls and hang decors therein. You can try woven baskets. You can place flowers in those baskets. Colorful jars for your condiments or kiddie treats is a nice way to add colors in your kitchen as well.