Thursday, 2 March 2017

Planning A Kitchen That Works - Part 2

A lot of thought should go into planning a new kitchen.  After all,  it is the heart of the home and probably the hardest working room.  A kitchen should function well and be easy to use.  Here are some of the ideas I've used in my kitchen and things I've learnt from cleaning for almost 18 years.

Side opening ovens.  Most people don't know side opening ovens exist.  Yes they do and they are fabulous.  Only a few brands offer this option and they can be hard to find on display in retail stores.  I found mine by searching on the internet and was pleasantly suprised to find Westinghouse makes them.  Then I went to a retailer and asked for them. They are a special order and cost a little more but so worth it.  I've only ever had side opening ovens ( they came with our house ).  They are great for safety reasons.  No burning your arms on the door.  Those who are older or have back problems will find them easy to use.

Deep drawers.  Switching from cupboards to drawers makes life easier.  No more digging into the back of a cupboard.  Be aware that drawers don't always come with full sides.  Generally the side of the drawer comes part of the way up with a rail at the top.  To fit all your appliances and crockery,  deep drawers hold more and are a better option .  Save the shallow drawers just for cutlery.

Shelf under sink.  When I was designing my kitchen, I was offered drawers and slide out bins under the sink.  When I had a look at the space these provided,  I knew I wouldn't be able to store all the bottles of dishwashing liquid,  Miracle Spray and assorted washing / cleaning items I stockpile.  The slide out bin was a waste of space and too large.  I like to empty my bin at the end of each day.  Adding an adjustable shelf under the sink gave me lots of space to use.

Pantry shelves.  Getting the right height of each shelf is very important.  I don't have a walk in pantry so space comes at a premium.  My old pantry shelves could fit three 410 g tins stacked on top of each other.  I made sure the kitchen builders took measurements to replicate what I had.  Don't leave it to the builders to design the shelves.  You know what you need and how you use each shelf.

Soft closing drawers.  Yes they cost just a little more but no one can slam the drawers anymore.  Suddenly the kitchen seems a little quieter.

Extra shelves in cupboards.  The cupboards above my stove hold the glasses,  mugs and teapots.  I requested an extra shelf in each cupboard to maximise space and make reaching things easier.  If you don't end up using them,  at least you have the option further down the track when you see how your kitchen works.

Bin cut out.  In the cupboard under the sink I asked for a bin cut out from the shelf.  This gives me options for bin sizes and a swing top lid.  The bin I have now won't last forever and a replacement might not be the same size

*  What  to put in each drawer / cupboard.  When designing a new kitchen,  think about where you have things stored and if there is a better option.  I had my stand mixer on top of the fridge because it was too tall for any of my cupboards.  The corner cupboard was designed with a shelf tall enough to accommodate the mixer.

Handles that are easy on the hands. Remember,  a good kitchen should last more than 20 years.  Tiny round knobs might not be suitable on your hands as you get older.  The same is true for vintage door pulls.  Modern slick handles with sharp ends REALLY,  REALLY hurt when you knock yourself on them.  I've been bruised many times when cleaning people's kitchens..

Extra power points.  If you don't have enough power points then now is the time to request more.

This deep drawer holds crockery for 12

Extra shelves

A bi cut out on the shelf

Easy use handles

Side opening ovens

If you missed the first kitchen planning installment here's the link


  1. Hi Wendy,

    Some great advice here, so useful , I would never have thought of some of these things.

    1. Maureen, I had 20 years to think about what I wanted and what works best for me.

  2. Where I work has side opening oven doors and I love them. Also my lovely Mum had drawers in her kitchen which meant she could manage things better as she got older. No digging into the back corners on your hands and knees to find things which as we age would create problems. I love your new kitchen and hope that someday in the future to have something similar

    1. Janine, I only have a corner cupboard now. There was no way I could get around it.

      Yes drawers are great for seeing exactly what you have.

  3. Side opening ovens - I'm just now realising how practical that would be. Well thought out Wendy.

    1. They are so practical No reaching over a hot door with a heavy casserole dish. I would gladly be a spokesperson for side opening ovens.


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