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How to plan your kitchen layout

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Minnie Bhatt, interior designer and founder of Minnie Bhatt Design, gives us the low down on how to effectively plan your kitchen layout 

Whether you are starting from scratch or just redoing a few things in your kitchen decor, convenience should always be top priority. Says interior designer Minnie Bhatt, “The most important aspect is to make sure the distance between the three key elements- the hobb, refrigerator and the sink are functionally comfortable.” She suggests placing the refrigerator and pantry close to the entrance for easy access and the sink towards one end of the counter as this restricts the wet area to one side. “The stove is generally placed in the centre of the counter which makes access to storage on both sides easy.” 
A galley layout works best with an open kitchen style. Says Minnie, “Open kitchens have one wall which should be used for storage cabinets, the refrigerator, oven(s) and food processor. The counter facing the living space can have the hobb, the sink and drawers for ladles and cutlery.” Since vertical space is limited with this layout, make the most of what you have with tall modular units that can be customised to suit your needs. While designing these units, take stock of everything you need to store in them – crockery, utensils, groceries etc. – so that you can effectively decide the dimensions of each shelf.

The U-shape, a popular layout for compact kitchens, usually has a window wall at the bottom of the ‘U’. If space permits, Minnie doesn’t recommend placing either the stove range or the sink here. “This wall should have storage below the counter and left as clutter-free as possible for natural light and ventilation. The larder should be placed closer to the entrance along with the oven and microwave at one end of the counter. The two corners should have circular swivel or pull-out storage mechanisms.” 
If your kitchen is large enough, consider an island for added working counter space and storage. The island usually turns into the prep station but it can also double as a dining space for the family. “It should be planned with drawers to house cutlery and crockery or a small cabinet for wine bottles etc.,” says Minnie. “The space above can have a suspended light or a shelf for knick-knacks to lend to the ambience, and make it welcoming for the family to sit at.”
When choosing the flooring, Minnie suggests considering a non-skid material that is impervious and dark granite for the counter tops as light-coloured granite is porous. “DuPont Corian is impervious and a highly durable material, ideal for kitchen tops.” Keep in mind that the storage shutters below the counter should be slightly recessed so that nothing drips and the lower cabinets should have a skirting of at least three inches so that the shutters do not touch the floor or hit the user’s feet when being opened.

Read more articles about kitchen designs.
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