by Chris Stanbridge
Now that we are into our 4th year of the housing recession, many homeowners are thinking creatively when it comes to maintaining the value of their homes in a devalued market. It is a well-known rule of thumb that homebuyers are most attracted to the two most popular rooms in the house: the kitchen and the bathroom. These are the rooms, essentially, that make or break a house.
Every realtor worth her salt knows that the condition of the kitchen alone can make a huge difference in whether a profitable sale is made, or whether a brokenhearted family walks away, still owing money to the bank that now owns their home.
Therefore, it is a natural conclusion to draw that bathroom and kitchen remodeling are an excellent investment for anyone wanting to retain, or even inflate, the value of their property.
The Blueprint for Success
First, realize that a proper kitchen layout is more than just a map of your kitchen—it is a blueprint for your kitchen’s form, as well as function. There are, generally speaking, three common types of kitchen layouts: U-shaped, L-shaped, and galley kitchens. Most other formats are various combinations of these three basic designs. Another, more modern look is an open kitchen layout, with the kitchen merging into another area of the home.
Form Vs. Function
Remember, functionality ought to be your foremost consideration in redesigning your kitchen—after all, if you are not comfortable in it and it does not do what you need it to do, then what is the point? So be especially mindful of how each work area in the kitchen relates to each other work area. For instance, the main working areas in the kitchen are the cook-top, the sink, and the refrigerator.
These three points of reference, and the lines of motion between them, make up what kitchen guru’s call the “work triangle.” When these three fundamentals are in close (but not too close) in proximity, the kitchen will run at a level of maximum efficiency. The exception lies in single-walled kitchens, wherein it is geometrically unworkable to create a triangular workspace.
Keeping It Simple by Planning Ahead
Efficiency, however, can still be accomplished through the configuration of three areas, with consideration as to the distance between them. Keep the triangular work principle in mind when deciding where to install appliances, cabinets, etc. Addressing such details as corridor space, traffic flow, and countertop work space before the project even begins will prevent financial loss in the future due to backtracking and reworking plans.
The size of the kitchen itself is practically irrelevant with the implementation of good design principles. While a galley layout, with its narrow aisle and parallel workspace is likely to be the best decision for a smaller kitchen, this layout also works well in large, spacious kitchens with integrated dining areas. If you want to install or leave the center of the kitchen open for a work island, both the U-shape and the L-shape will work well for you.
No matter what your choice of design for your new kitchen, keeping in mind the triangular work principle and planning ahead by drawing up highly detailed plans are the two most important factors that will determine the success of your project—and ultimately, the value of your home.