Kitchen appliance layout ideas – smart ways to arrange your kitchen appliances

Planning a new kitchen? Our kitchen appliance layout ideas will help you maximise your space and make cooking, cleaning and family mealtimes so much easier
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  • When it comes to positioning your kitchen appliances, there are plenty of potential pitfalls. Always burning yourself when getting things out of the oven or not able to open your fridge door properly? Never underestimate the importance of a good kitchen appliance layout idea to solve all your kitchen woes.

    A well designed kitchen layout is essential to make the space function to its full potential, with appliance placement playing a fundamental role in any successful kitchen idea.

    Kitchen appliance layout ideas

    At the beginning stages of any kitchen design you should be thinking about the user journey – how will you use the space? Does the fridge need to be nearer to the sink? Can you carry a heavy casserole dish from the oven to the nearest work surface safely? It sounds so obvious, but you’d be surprised how many common mistakes fall into the ‘what not to do when choosing a new kitchen’ bracket.

    With all the many kitchen nightmare scenarios in mind, we’ve put together a selection of clever ideas that will make you kitchen easier to use and help maximise your space.

    1. Streamline with built-in appliances

    Galley kitchen with pale blue cabinets roof lantern and parquet flooring

    Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles

    ‘If you are tight on space, having built-in appliances such as ovens and fridge-freezers often work better as they help to streamline the kitchen – as your eyes aren’t drawn to any standout white goods’ explains Andy Briggs, interior designer at Optiplan Kitchens. A brilliant design solution for compact or galley kitchen ideas.

    ‘Where possible, you can go one-step further and have a built-in microwave/oven combi which will help free up your workspace for a clutter-free design.’

    2. Adapt appliances to suit the new ‘social kitchen’

    Scandi inspired wooden kitchen with quartz worktop

    Image credit: Fisher & Paykel/ Simon Wilson

    The modern kitchen offers a welcome invitation for all to enjoy. ‘To successfully create this social hub it’s important to open up the kitchen design and to move the appliances out into places that allow work zones for more than one person’ advises Mark Elmore, VP Design and Brand, Fisher & Paykel. ‘This means that a friend or partner can pick up a knife and chop some vegetables or stir the sauce – creating a shared experience. Today’s kitchen needs to be able to respond to these needs through modular distribution and exceptional functionality.’

    ‘Gone are the days when work in the kitchen was seen as a chore to be done as efficiently as possible, usually by only one person. The kitchen has become our studio for creating and socialising – it’s the social hub. The changing nature of today’s kitchen provides designers with opportunities to innovate and develop multiple right answers – after all, there is not one size that fits all.’

    3. Go for symmetry

    grey kitchen with integrated kitchen appliances kitchen island seating area

    Image credit: Future PLC

    Bookend appliances such as your ovens and integrated fridge-freezer either side of your hob if your space allows. This will ensure that food items and utensils are where you need them when cooking and the symmetry will create a calm, cohesive look. Complete the triangle by placing your sink at a centre point, from fridge to sink, straight to the oven.

    4. Make the layout sociable

    white open plan kitchen with black painted brick wall in dining area

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

    If you’d like your L-shaped kitchen idea to create a division between your dining and kitchen space, think about situating your hob within it. That way you can keep an eye on kids doing their homework or chat to them while you’re cooking. It’s a great place for hosting guests for dinner, because you can tend to the cooking while not breaking face-to-face engagement.

    5. Elevate appliances off the floor

    Raised dishwasher kitchen appliance layout idea

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

    So your dishwasher has to sit under your worktops, right? Not necessarily. Consider raising it a bit higher, and you’ll find loading and unloading it so much easier. The height of your oven is also crucial. Site it too low or too high and you might struggle to retrieve heavy casserole dishes, or pull out a tray of meat for basting.

    6. Plumb the dishwasher next to the sink

    walnut kitchen units with integrated dishwasher and oven kitchen appliance layout idea

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Tamra Cave

    Having your dishwasher next to the kitchen sink works twofold. For one, it’s far easier for your plumber to use the cold water supply that will already been in place for the kitchen sink – therefore making the installation a breeze.The close proximity to the sink also makes the job of rinsing the plates down before placing in the dishwasher is easier, with no danger of spills. onto the floor – the journey is from sink straight to the dishwasher shelves.

    7. Group all your appliances on one wall

    White kitchen with appliances on one wall kitchen appliance layout idea

    Image Credit: Future PLC/ Robert Sanderson

    This is a favourite approach of kitchen designer Michael Wright of Michael Wright Furniture. ‘It adds wow factor,’ he says, ‘and because the wiring is concentrated in one area, it’s an easier job for your electrician and delivers a cleaner, smarter looking room. You can incorporate everything from a fridge freezer to a wine cooler, oven, grill, microwave, coffee machine, steam oven and warmer drawer – and yes, some kitchens will have all of those!’

    8. Create a bank of ovens

    grey and white kitchen with island

    Image credit: Future PLC/ David Giles

    Having all your appliances in one bank relies on you having a space large enough. If you don’t, cluster them by type – putting ‘hot’ appliances, such as your oven, hob and microwave, together.

    If you do this, stick with one brand of appliance. Manufactures like Whirlpool, Miele and Baumatic invest heavily in making sure that the control panels, control knobs, badges, handles, displays and doors all align, so that they look symmetrical and elegant in any configuration.

    Just remember that they’ll all have digital displays with clocks. Synchronising them will be a labour of love, but if you don’t, that minute’s difference can prove very distracting.

    9. Keep all hot appliances in one place

    double stainless steel ovens and hob in grey kitchen appliance layout ideas

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Chris Snook

    Keep all the heat in one place – ideal for any busy family kitchen, where children will be present. Having one clear ‘no-go’ zone ensures all that use the kitchen know where the potential dangerous hazards would be – from pans of boiling water to hot roasting dishes. If for any reason you struggle to reach higher positioned appliances choose to keep all hot appliances at a lower level.

    10. Dedicate a wet zone for washing appliances

    Wet zone in kitchen for washing machine kitchen appliances

    Image credit: Future PLC

    Create a zone where washing takes priority. Having your washing machine right beside the sinks makes any hand washing or stain removal tasks easier. The close positioning means there’s no soapy trail left on the floor as you move any items from sink to machine and vice versa.

    ‘Ideally, position your washing machine and tumble dryer either side of your sink,’ says Chris Mossop, kitchen designer at Harvey Jones. ‘Having your plumbing in one place will make life easier both when you’re having your kitchen fitted and if any issues develop down the line.’

    11. Make the cooker a focal point

    pink and grey kitchen with black range cooker and tiled splashback

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

    ‘Make the cooker the central focus of the room, if possible,’ advises Harvey Jones’ Matthew Payne – such is the case in this beautiful pink kitchen idea. ‘The primary function of the kitchen is to cook; the other appliances are all there to support this.’

    12. Conceal the cooker hood

    grey galley kitchen with wooden worktops

    Image credit: Future PLC

    There’s no need to make the cooker hood a feature in your kitchen, if you choose not to. A discreet extractor installed above a cooker in a clever alcove design makes the most of an awkward space.

    13. Move your washing machine elsewhere

    Washing machine utility room

    Image credit: Future PLC/ David Still

    If space is tight in the kitchen, take a tip from the Europeans and site your washing machine in the bathroom. There are tough rules on this, however, so we asked Steve Corbett, marketing manager at CDA, for advice. ‘To comply with British Standard regulations, the washing machine has to be at least 3m away from the bath or shower,’ he says. ‘You’ll also need an electrician to check that its plug socket is properly RCD protected.’

    In other words – you’ll need a BIG bathroom. Alternatively, Steve suggests that if you have a separate toilet, you could move the loo into the bathroom and turn the space into a mini utility room design. Or put the washing machine into a garage, spare bedroom or hall (see above).

    14. Allow your fridge and oven to be a little closer

    Navy blue kitchen with white worktops

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Richard Gadsby

    Traditionally, designers advised against putting the fridge next to the oven as it would have to work extra hard to hold its temperature, wasting energy. But things are changing, which is good news if you have a very awkward space.

    ‘I’d say this is now only an issue if you’re into Feng Shui,’ says Matthew Payne. ‘Technology has improved and today, all good appliances tend to be self-contained and well insulated, and shouldn’t omit much heat or coolness.

    ‘However, if you position your fridge next to an oven stack, I’d ensure you include a small 50mm filler just to be safe,’ Matthew adds. Also, I’d still be wary if you’re installing low-budget appliances, where such technology is limited.

    15. Position the microwave at eye level

    Blue kitchen with Integrated microwave kitchen appliance layout idea

    Image credit: Future PLC

    Even the best microwave is often thought of a necessary evil, although to give them credit, today’s models often incorporate features like steam and grill functions, making for much healthier food. And as any busy mum or dad will tell you, they are a lifesaver when the kids are hungry.

    If you’d rather yours didn’t hog space on a worktop, why not install it at eye level. It’s still simple enough to retrieve your bowls and dishes, and you’ll be able to keep tabs on food as it’s cooking – bubbling-over beans or soup should soon be a thing of the past.

    16. Set up a refreshment station

    kitchen appliance layout idea with wine fridge and freestanding fridge freezer along one wall

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme

    Whether your tipple is tea, G&T or a chilled glass of wine set up your appliances to create refreshment station in one corner of your kitchen to be able to make all drinks in one place. Place your kettle on the worktop, directly next to the fridge so your milk is to hand for a quick brew.

    17. Float your extractor

    Kitchen extractor fan over island

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Darren Chung

    Floating or not, the extractor needs to be positioned directly above the hob and ideally should be wider than the hob for the best efficiency. And speaking of efficiency, a ducted extractor that vents directly outside will perform far better than a recirculation one, therefore try to position it on an external wall of your house, as you’ll need less ugly ducting.

    How should kitchen appliances be arranged?

    Arrange kitchen appliances to suit your needs. It’s crucial to design a kitchen with a cooking and usage journey in mind. A kitchen layout will take into account the ‘working triangle’, referring to the cooking journey from fridge, to sink to oven. Place appliances in an optimum place to best cater for this layout. For freestanding frequently used appliances, it’s most advisable to store them on countertops in an easily accessible point within the layout.

    ‘I always recommend to customers that they remember to keep their kitchen functional’ advises Andy Briggs, interior designer at Optiplan Kitchens.  ‘As well as ensuring your kitchen looks the part, it also needs to fulfil the day-to-day needs of a busy household. When designing an effective layout, try to incorporate the ‘working triangle’.’

    ‘The idea is to have a clear path between the three main appliances in the room (oven, fridge and sink. So that they are all easily accessible and not blocked by any obstacles. We know this isn’t always possible, but the more you able to move freely between your most used appliances the more relaxed the space will be.’

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