How To Design a Functional Kitchen: What You Should Know

Kitchens are the hearts of homes and hubs of activity. To get the most out of your space, you need a functional and efficient room. If you need an upgrade, learn how to design a functional kitchen with this comprehensive guide. We’ll tell you everything you should know!

How To Set Up a Functional Kitchen

A functional kitchen looks different for everyone. That’s because the space adapts to your needs. When planning a new kitchen (or renovating one), you have more flexibility to create the ideal space for you. You have more control over the layout, appliances, and overall design. However, it’s important to integrate several factors into your design.

Although we’ll explore these factors, here are major things to consider when changing your kitchen to make it a functional and efficient space:


The first step toward creating a functional kitchen is the layout. Given the expansive nature of architecture, homes have several layout options. Here are popular configurations:


Galley kitchens are common in older properties. This type of arrangement has two parallel countertops with a walkway between them. These kitchens are efficient because everything is within arm’s reach.


L-shaped kitchens are popular in new homes. This layout features two countertops that form an L shape. People favor it because it offers plenty of countertop space. The L shape is helpful for preparing meals or using counters as dining space.


You’ll likely find one-wall kitchens in smaller homes and apartments. This kitchen only has one wall for cabinets and appliances. Like galley-style kitchens, this layout is efficient because items are within reach. However, you don’t have a lot of counterspace for meal preparation.


Horseshoe-shaped kitchens are similar to L-shaped kitchens. However, they feature a U-shaped countertop. This type of layout provides double countertop space that increases kitchen efficiency. You can store appliances on one side and use the other area for meal preparation.


Island kitchens are an emerging design trend in new homes. The kitchen features an island in the center of the room with cabinets and appliances on one side. Island kitchens offer more space because people can utilize all sides of the room.

Work Triangle or Workstation

Clear workflow is one of the most important aspects of a functional kitchen. After all, how can you complete tasks while constantly bumping into things? You can’t. Fortunately, the idea of work triangles and workstations support workflow.

In simple terms, a work triangle connects the three main “work” areas in the kitchen. It’s the sink, stove, and refrigerator. Engineer Lillian Mollar Gilbreth, developed the concept of kitchen work triangles in the 1940s. At that time, kitchens were small, and appliances were large. The kitchen was only a space to cook.

The work triangle was the traditional kitchen design. Currently, kitchens are multifunctional rooms where more than one person can prep or cook dinner. So having one work triangle doesn’t always work for homes. In some cases, you need two or even three work areas.

The workstation is a modern approach to the room’s layout and includes various work areas. Since kitchens are no longer exclusive to cooking, their design should reflect that. Besides meal prep, people can do other tasks like socializing.


Countertops are essential to kitchens because they hold appliances and dishware. Most importantly, they provide space for meal preparation. Of course, your aesthetic and layout help determine your countertop style. If you need extra room, consider adding an island to your design plans.

As mentioned, counters are crucial for meal preparation tasks like baking and plating. The more space you have, the better!

There are various types of countertop materials and designs to choose from. But the most popular materials include wood, quartz, laminate, stainless steel, and marble. You can also select the color of your countertops.

To keep things functional, you should select a material that’s easy to clean and maintain. Laminate and quartz are the easiest materials to maintain.


Accessibility is the key element for a user-friendly kitchen. Consider the ways you use the kitchen to prep food, store items, or clean appliances. Ideally, you want to allocate space based on function and proximity. This way, you’ll locate things easier and quicker.

There are different ways to personalize your space. For instance, mounting your sink on the island can save countertop space. You can also position the sink to face the living room so that you can talk with others as you wash dishes.

Consider storing your utensils in a drawer next to the dishwasher to make unloading easier. You can conceal garbage bins under the sink for a simple cleanup. As you can see, there are many ways to increase functionality.

Another Consideration

Most kitchen cabinets have standard sizes. However, these may make it challenging to reach some shelves and cupboards. To accommodate your lifestyle, place frequently used items and appliances in lower cabinets. This way, everyone has easy access to popular things.


Your appliance choice can make a huge impact on your kitchen. User-friendly spaces have easy-to-use and clean appliances. Most kitchens include a stove, refrigerator, and sink. Other common appliances are microwaves, toaster ovens, coffee makers, and air fryers.

We live in an amazing era where kitchen appliances are technologically advanced. There’s something for everyone, from voice-controlled microwaves to multifunctional ovens! So if you want a technological kitchen, consider smart appliances that incorporate the latest tools.

You can also choose energy-saving appliances or items that mimic the look of cabinetry (for a cohesive appearance).

Ultimately, kitchen appliances are all about your lifestyle, and you should choose something that complements your aesthetic.


Honestly, you can never have enough storage. It’s important to consider all your current storage and create solutions to ensure you fully utilize your kitchen.

Add pull-out drawers in your cupboards and put organizers in your drawers to maximize space. You should also utilize wall space and install solid maple floating shelves. You can store dishware, spice racks, and other kitchen essentials.

With a custom kitchen, you can install personal storage solutions that make your life easier. Maybe you use a cabinet carousel to store items in hard-to-reach places. Perhaps you utilize tray dividers to organize pot and pan covers, trays, and cookie sheets. The choice is up to you!


Last but not least, lighting is a critical part of designing a functional kitchen. Something you should know is that kitchens need natural and artificial lighting. Besides illumination from windows, consider bright bulbs above countertops and light strips underneath cabinets. Do anything to brighten up your kitchen!

Now that you have all the ingredients for a functional kitchen, it’s time to transform your home into a user-friendly space. Don’t forget to take before and after pictures!

How To Design a Functional Kitchen: What You Should Know

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: