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Kitchen Design Principles

The kitchen is the heart of the home and a good kitchen design is essential for optimizing the flow of your home and facilitating your optimal quality of life. It makes working in the kitchen comfortable and something you can look forward to. No matter how big or small your kitchen space is, a smart design can help you make the best use of the space you have.

As one of the most dedicated Greenville Architect services and from our long experience in kitchen interior design, we are here to share some tips on kitchen design. You can use them during your next kitchen remodel project.

Tips To Optimize Flow When Remodeling Your Kitchen

Any Greenville kitchen designer will tell you about the importance of optimizing flow in your kitchen. A kitchen with good flow is more comfortable, work-friendly, and welcoming. It also reduces friction and frustration like broken dishes and brunt food in your day to day life.

The Triangle vs Work Zones

The kitchen triangle design principle has been around for a long time. Since the 1940s, designers have deemed it as one of the ideal ways to design a kitchen. The pros include fast cooking, serving, and cleaning. At the same time, the costs are reduced.

The principle states that a kitchen has three main elements. The sink, refrigerator, and stove - the three points of the triangle. Each side of the triangle, aka the distance between any of the two points, should be strictly within the 4-9 feet range. The triangle’s perimeter needs to be maintained within 13-26 feet.

The design allows you to quickly move between the three essential zones in the kitchen. As a result, you can perform kitchen chores better and faster. However, modern kitchens aren’t limited to these three elements. They are increasingly getting more complex with the introduction of new gadgets and practices.

In this case, you can adopt the idea of work zones into your kitchen design. Your kitchen designer will divide the layout into different work zones for individual tasks. For instance, a meal prep zone, a serving and eating zone, and a cleaning zone. Maybe even a baking zone or a coffee station. It depends on you and how you want to spend your time in your kitchen. This helps you to optimize the use of newer appliances like steam ovens, wine refrigerators, and built-in coffee makers in the kitchen design.

The kitchen triangle makes your whole kitchen work as one single unit, which is great. However, the work zone design creates multiple units inside one kitchen. As a result, you get more functionality out of the design.

Dishwasher Placement

A poorly placed dishwasher can lead to daily frustration. It only makes sense to place the dishwasher close to the sink. You don’t have to waste time moving the dishes from the sink to the dishwater after you rinse them.

Plus, the sink and dishwater can use the same water and drainage system. If these elements of kitchen design are far from one another, you have to go through the hassle of creating separate systems for each, which will be complicated and expensive. For those with big families or who love to entertain, 2 dishwashers may be desired - these can be placed side by side or on either side of the sink. Or, if you have two sinks in your kitchen, one by each.

To optimize your kitchen design, you should also ensure that the cabinets for storing dishes and utensils are also close to the dishwasher. Who likes to walk with dishes at the end of a cooking and cleaning session? So, the cabinets shouldn’t be far away from the dishwasher. This also reduces the incidence of dropping and breaking dishes while putting them away.

However, you should be mindful of the dishwater door. It should not block or disturb the flow in high-traffic areas.

Length and Size of Counter Tops

The countertops are the functional workspaces in your kitchen. To optimize the interior kitchen design, you should ensure the appropriate length and size of these elements.

According to most expert kitchen designers, you should keep at least 18 inches of countertop space on either side of the stove. This will provide you with enough space for meal preparation. It will also make it convenient to place hot pots after you take them off the stove.

The distance between each countertop is also something to consider for easy flow and movement. An expert kitchen designer will tell you that having 4 feet of distance between countertops is ideal. This ensures two people can move and work freely in the kitchen without crowding.

As for the height of the countertops, 36 inches or 3 feet is standard. However, your kitchen designer can adjust it if you are considerably below or above average height or if accessibility is a concern.

Some Important Kitchen Design Considerations

The ventilation system, Kitchen Island, cabinets, and windows are some of the crucial considerations in your kitchen design. If you aren’t careful with these elements, you might end up in a congested, gloomy, and untidy kitchen. Learn more about your options and best practices regarding them.

Ventilation Above Your Stove

Your cooking sessions can become a serious health concern if the kitchen design doesn’t include proper ventilation. Every time you prepare a meal, smoke, grease, and food particles pollute the air. You must ensure these contaminants are removed from the kitchen environment and, thus, your home.

An excellent option is to install a range hood above the stove. You can also use a downdraft vent.

These systems have a fan that pulls the contaminated air out of the kitchen and expels it outside. A range hood can be a design feature in your kitchen and can be designed to compliment the style of your home.

No matter what type of hood you install, it should be big enough to cover the entire area over the stove. For best results, install a hood that is six inches wider than the meal preparation area.

For those looking to save some space and money, you can opt for a venting microwave. The system is a combination of a vent and a microwave. You install the kitchen microwave above the stove with a built-in ventilation system.

Your options include ducted microwaves and recirculating microwaves. The ducted option has exhaust fans to vent the contaminated air out of the house. On the other hand, the recirculating types will use a filter and push clean air back into the home.

Design and Position of the Kitchen Island

A kitchen island can serve a lot of purposes. It mostly depends on you and your kitchen designer’s creativity.

Commonly, the kitchen island is deemed as an informal seating area. It makes people feel welcome when they come to your kitchen. It can also serve as a temporary workspace or include storage facilities. The island can also be a spot to sit down for a quick meal or for kids to do homework and you prepare dinner.

While including an island in your kitchen design, ensure that it doesn’t interfere with the flow. If your kitchen is spacious, you can position the island in the middle. However, smaller kitchens can benefit from pushing the island to the side to create a peninsula. This will help you avoid any obstruction of traffic.

Remember the four feet rule for the distance between countertops? That applies to the kitchen island too.

In other words, make the kitchen island proportional to your kitchen size. Your kitchen designer can advise you on how to do it.

Once you decide on the size and position, you can explore other design options. Statement lighting or waterfall edges can make your Kitchen Island stand out.

Cabinets For Style and Aesthetics

The primary purpose of kitchen cabinets is to store the items in your kitchen. They help you maintain an organized kitchen. Apart from that, cabinets can also contribute much to the style and aesthetics of your kitchen.

Depending on the color and design of the cabinets, your kitchen might feel either classic or modern. For instance, white or cream-colored cabinets with raised panels are synonymous with a classic-style kitchen. Meanwhile, bold colors and flat panels define a modern cabinet.

To create a more finished look, you can install a soffit. It’s essentially a box that you build on the cabinet top to make it continuous with the ceiling. The usual purpose is to hide ductwork or similar structures. You can achieve similar effects by extending the cabinets up to the ceiling.

Making the cabinets continuous with the ceiling saves you from cleaning dust. Plus, you get additional storage space.

If you are looking to showcase decorative dishware, you can go for open shelves instead of closed cabinets. In that case, know thyself. Open shelving requires a degree of diligence in order to keep dishware looking tidy. You'll also want to curate your dishware so that it aesthetically complements your kitchen.

Windows For Air and Light

Without adequate window placement, your kitchen will feel gloomy. The common choice for installing windows is near the stove or over the sink. Both designs are good depending on the orientation of your home. When deciding on windows, prioritize the entry of natural light during the day.

You can choose shutters to control the amount of light that gets in. If your kitchen is small, placing windows between the cabinets and the countertop is an effective strategy.

You can also use clerestory windows to maximize air and light entry into your kitchen. Since these windows are at the uppermost part of the wall, they don’t cost you any valuable storage space. However, these windows are harder to clean regularly since they are out of arm's reach.

Material Considerations For Your Kitchen

The kind of material you use in your kitchen countertops and floor greatly influences the market value of your home. Not to mention, this also determines how much time and money you will spend on maintenance.

The best floor and surfaces have decent resistance to water, heat, stains, and scratches. And they are quick to clean.

Which Type Of Counter Top Is The Best?

Some of the best materials for countertops are quartz, granite, marble, and solid surface. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your commitment to kitchen maintenance, the kitchen designer can help you decide on one.


Quartz countertops have excellent resilience towards stains and bacteria. These low-maintenance surfaces are a durable combination of natural quartz and resins. They can easily withstand the spills that are common in the kitchen due to being nonporous. Which also means you don’t have to apply any sealant.

There is an appealing variety of color options for these countertops and they can be made to resemble natural stone.


If you want to add pure natural beauty to your kitchen, granite is a good option. These countertops are cut and polished directly from mined granite slabs. Therefore the patterns and veins tend to be unique and raw. They have excellent durability and are easy to keep clean. With a granite countertop, you have to worry less about scratches.

Unlike quartz, they don’t have a natural resistance to stains and bacteria due to porousness. Therefore, it is essential to apply sealant when you install these countertops. If your kitchen sees a lot of action, you need to reseal the granite surfaces at least once a year.


The major advantage of marble countertops is their elegance. Having marble countertops can add significantly to your home’s market value. Fans of the classic design will adore the marble in your kitchen. Undoubtedly, marble is the best choice if the visual appeal is your main target and money is not a problem.

However, these are the hardest countertops to maintain. They are more porous than granite. Which means they need more frequent sealing. Marble surfaces are also susceptible to scratches. And since they are prone to etching, you must clean up spills like lemon juice or vinegar as soon as possible.

Solid surfaces

The greatest advantage of solid surfaces is their affordability. These countertops contain polyester resins, pigments, and fillers. They are non-porous and therefore don’t require sealing. They have excellent resistance to stains and microbes. The color options are also vivid and customizable.

However, they are less heat-resistant compared to their natural stone counterparts.

Which Material to Choose For The Kitchen Floors?

If you are looking for an inexpensive and durable option for kitchen floors, ceramic tiles might be the best. They don’t hold onto stains and are water-resistant. These floors can also hold their own against extreme heat and impacts. Other affordable and easy-cleaning flooring options for the kitchen include vinyl and linoleum.

Other options include hardwood and natural stone flooring. Some homeowners prefer a seamless floor within their entire home, especially with an open floor plan.


If you are looking for a Greenville architect to help with your kitchen remodel project, ATMO Architecture is an excellent choice. Our kitchen design philosophy promotes beauty, functionality, and optimal flow.

We are one of the most transparent and affordable Greenville Kitchen Remodeling design services. Get in touch to consult a plan. Our clients’ testimonials might help your decision.



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