The Elements of Good Kitchen Design

The kitchen can be thought of as a work space. There are many kitchen designs and layouts. Color and style are definitely important
in expressing your personal taste, but its also about how your kitchen functions for you. You want to have a clean, uncluttered, open work space. Some even refer to the ambiance of a space as “feng shui.” Here is a good article that describes this in further detail. In the design regard, it might be helpful to think in terms of different elements so that all is balanced.

Plates Neatly Stacked
Plates stacked – Photo Courtesy of


One frequently finds oneself moving from tabletop to tabletop, often carrying hot, heavy pots and pans, so this element is essential. Unencumbered movement also allows inspiration to flow more freely. On the spur of the moment, you may decide to add a dash of relevant herbs to a dish if you have a fresh bouquet at the ready on a tabletop. Keeping fresh herb bouquets or growing at the window also add a positive ambiance and fragrance.


Whether you employ natural lighting, sheer curtains, or a lighting fixture, ensuring ample lighting in all areas of the kitchen allows you the ability to work efficiently and view your work properly. Whenever possible, allow natural lighting to filter in to allow for a more holistic feel. Another benefit from natural lighting from windows is that it allows you to perhaps grow some fresh herbs, such as thyme or basil, handily on a kitchen windowsill or an herb box.


Can you see the forest through the trees?

If you are surrounded by a clutter of unorganized utensils and tools, you are going to get lost in the cooking process. It may help to group items by function (i.e. spoons, serving tongs, etc) or purpose (i.e. tea-making, salad prep). Whatever works best for you as long as there is a meaningful system in place. Even cabinets should include an organized component, rather than a mess of dishes and spoons (which was my system of choice for years, although over time, I came to the realization that there was a better, more efficient way).

OVEN RANGE (Fire element)

Whether gas or electric (or something else like a convection system), most kitchens include an oven range at the center. This is your main workspace. You want to ensure that it is, of course, free and easy to move around near, which ties into a safety consideration. Frequently used items, such as a spatula or stirring spoon, should be out of the way but also within a ready reach, such as tucked neatly into a nearby drawer or container.


Finally, the refrigerator/freezer is your storage element. These are used to properly store vegetables, ingredients, leftovers, and produce, to keep lettuce crisp and milk ice cold. If your fridge comes with a vegetable bin, it may be helpful to make use of that for your included veggies. Items should be neatly placed, never stacked unless one is easily able to do so and it does not become a spillage or other hazard. Also, and this is just a helpful reminder, it’s important to clean the  fridge on a frequent and regular basis so that it is nice and sparkling.

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