Cool Kitchens – Part 1

by Creative Style Interiors

Our passion for open-plan living has meant the Kitchen has become the heart of the home. It’s not only a place of food preparation, but also a social hub, and major design feature of a home. A well-designed kitchen can have a huge impact on your lifestyle, as well as your relationship with family and food. It can also make or break a successful sale in the property market.

So, how do you design the ideal kitchen? There are lots of things to consider such as design style, colour, layout, finishes and more… it can be a challenge to know where to begin!

Space & Layout

What space is allocated for your kitchen? Along a wall? In a corner? A section of a larger room? You need to consider the shape, size and proportions of the space before you can begin designing your kitchen.

Work out where your entry and exit points are, and where the traffic flows within the space. By doing this, you’ll ensure that movement within the kitchen is logical, smooth and safe. For example: not positioning an oven awkwardly next to an entry.

scan0001-1An Example of a work triangle in a U-shaped kitchen.

Unless you have a galley kitchen, your major appliances (fridge, sink and cooktop) should form a triangle with easy access between all three. You’ll need adequate bench space around your major appliances to ensure you’re not carrying heavy, and often hot cookware too far. I recommend locating your pantry and fridge as close to each other as possible with close proximity to a benchtop for loading and unloading. This will make things so much easier as all your food items will be in the one area.


Kitchen design can be a numbers game, but these numbers will ensure your kitchen works both functionally and aesthetically.

Kitchen 7

  • Your kitchen bench height should be between 900mm and 950mm
  • The benchtop depth should be between 600mm and 700mm and a thickness of at least 20mm.
  • Overhead cabinets should be a minimum of 600mm above the bench and may need to be more where the range hood sits.
  • If you want to pull a bar stool up to an island or return (peninsula if you’re in America), you need at least a 200mm overhang. Your ideal is 300 mm.
  • Pendant lighting should be 900mm above the benchtop or slightly higher if you have a tall family, so you don’t bump your head.
  • The ideal number of paces between cabinets is 2 to 4.
  • For an integrated kitchen table, the height is between 720mm and 750mm.


The most popular flooring choices for kitchens are timber and porcelain tiles because they are relatively easy to clean up spills. Natural stone such as travertine needs regular sealing as it’s very porous, so best avoided if you don’t want ongoing maintenence. If you suffer from lower back pain, it’s a much better idea to choose a softer flooring option such as cork or vinyl tiles. (See our earlier post on flooring options in vinyl and cork for more details)

Handy Tip: Lay your flooring before installing cabinets. This will ensure your cabinets remain the correct height, and are not lowered because tiles or timber boards have been laid up to them. Eg: A 900mm bench height can become 865mm with 35mm flooring laid up to the cabinets.


Kitchen cabinets have changed in a huge way over the years. Currently, a major trend is more drawers than doors. You can even get drawers that fit in corners and wrap around the plumbing under your sink. Good quality, full extension runners can be designed to handle even a heavy load of pots and pans, casserole dishes or crockery. Soft closers on doors and drawers are generally considered standard, as protection against bruised fingers.

Kitchen 5

Upper cabinets should reach almost to ceiling height with a small bulkhead. This eliminates the dust-gathering space above the cabinets that no one can ever reach.

Appliances – large and small

Apart from the ‘triangle’ rule, there are a couple of ideas to take into account when planning and positioning your major appliances. Many people are opting for a ‘wall of functionality’, where the wall oven, steamer oven, microwave, built in espresso machine as well as the fridge and pantry, are all integrated onto a single plane. This creates a streamlined effect, as well as concentrating a lot of the cooking to one area.


If you like to keep your appliances relatively unobtrusive, you can integrate your dishwasher, fridge and rangehood. Eg: A slide-out rangehood over your cooktop can be easily concealed as it fits flush with your top cabinets, only being visible when in use. There are also some fabulous rangehoods that are designed to be a feature rather than purely functional. They resemble a light fitting, so look fab if your cooktop is on an island or return bench.

If you do a lot of cooking, It is definitely worth investing in quality appliances for your kitchen… It can make a huge difference!

Photo 27-06-2014 9 50 18 am

Think about buying coloured small appliances. You can have a red kettle, a turquoise toaster and a purple blender. Have some fun, but in reality, stick with a single colour for all your small appliances!


Kitchen lighting is extremely important to get right… you don’t want to slip on an unseen spill or cut more than the tomato because of poor lighting. Task lighting on the underside of upper cabinets will illuminate your benchtop without creating shadows or dark areas. Down lights have been favoured, but we’re now specifying a lot of LED rope lighting as it provides clear, even light. These rope lights can also be installed along the kickboards to give an ambient glow near the floor. You can opt for a range of colours too!

Kitchen 1


General lighting can be anything from down lights to pendant lights. Three pendant lights suspended over a return or island bench can be a great decorative feature, and a perfect way to add character to your kitchen. The length of your return or island will determine the size of the pendants, ie. the longer the bench, the bigger the pendant.

Stay tuned for part 2 of Cool Kitchens; all about style, colours and finishes for your kitchen!

If you need help with planning your own cool kitchen, feel free to call Jenny on 0416 190 792 or email you can also check out our Cool Kitchens board on Pinterest for more inspiration.

All my kitchen designs are manufactured and installed by Leading Edge Kitchens, who make an outstanding product.


{ 0 comments… add one now }

Comment on this article (to contact us use the contact us page)

Previous post:

Next post: