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7 Essential Elements to a Functional Kitchen Design

Having a functional kitchen design is the key to ensuring you enjoy your time in the kitchen preparing food. This is true whether you have a large, spacious family kitchen or a small and cozy kitchen. Your kitchen will need to be designed keeping in mind whether you have kids and pets.

Let us dive into a few functional kitchen design elements that make your kitchen really user-friendly.

The Kitchen Work Triangle

You can have countertop herbs growing in your family kitchen to add a bit of greenery to your kitchen but designing your kitchen layout around the kitchen work triangle will be really beneficial for your kitchen productivity.

The kitchen work triangle is the most important element of functional kitchen design as it links the kitchen sink, cooking stove, and the refrigerator.


If you have the right work triangle, you’ll be making fewer trips to the refrigerator and there may be less risk of spills on the kitchen floor among other benefits. Even if the kitchen work triangle may be a decades-old concept, ergonomic design principles are always relevant even though there may be alternative layout options that take into consideration modern lifestyles/social changes of the last few decades.

Pay Attention to Lighting

A gnome-shaped end table might add a funky touch or some uniqueness to your kitchen, but kitchen lighting is what will ensure that you can focus on the cooking. One functional kitchen design element is to make sure you have the right lighting over your kitchen countertops as well as inside kitchen cabinets and drawers. Think of installing illuminated cutlery trays inside drawers.

There are a plethora of options available to choose from when it comes to LED under cabinet lighting. You can buy under cabinet lighting online from the likes of Amazon, Ikea, Best Buy, or Home Depot. You can DIY their installation or hire professionals to do the installation for you.

Seating & Placement

Your kitchen likely will have seating for friends and family. A key functional kitchen design element is to place those seats ‘out of the way’ from the kitchen triangle area. You can create a breakfast nook or a homework table for your kid. In case of a small kitchen, you could even build a desk into the kitchen cabinetry.

Be creative. Think of breakfast bars, movable benches and see through chairs for your small kitchen.

Properly Functioning Appliances

kitchen cabinet storage ideas
Small kitchen interior with white wooden cabinets, tile floor, and kitchen island

A kitchen appliance that is out-of-order does not belong in the kitchen. You should take care to repair your kitchen appliances to make your cooking experience stress-free. What use are coffee makers, blenders, mixers, juicers or rice cookers if they are not in proper working order?

Repairing is also cost-effective compared to replacing an appliance and this is one of the reasons why a decision to buy a ‘kitchen appliance suite’ should not be taken lightly.

Keep Prep Surfaces Clear

A large but cluttered kitchen can induce stress as well as being an eye-sore. Just as entropy has a tendency to increase, a messy kitchen has a tendency to grow messier. A key element of functional kitchen design is to have clean kitchen countertops and organized kitchen cabinets.

Does your kitchen need to be reorganized or deep cleaned?

Read about how to create an organized kitchen and how to deep clean your kitchen.

Integrate New Kitchen Technologies

Innovation doesn’t automatically equal progress but many smart kitchen appliances definitely make life easier. Use the latest smart kitchen appliances to up your sous vide cooking game with sous vide precision cooker or to track two temperatures at once with a kitchen thermometer. Smart kitchen scales and wi-fi enabled crock-pots are among other handy kitchen appliances you can buy. There are smart scales, smart blenders, and home brewing systems and other appliances to cater to your needs. These usually come with Bluetooth connectivity and smartphone apps as needed.

You can add some of these smart appliances to your kitchen as a functional kitchen design element.

Mount Your Microwave

Mount Your Microwave

Microwaves tend to just sit there on your kitchen countertop and eat up valuable counter space. A useful functional kitchen design element is to mount your microwave on a shelf within the kitchen cabinetry. You may install a drawer-style microwave inside a kitchen island for a discreet look.  This below-countertop positioning makes it a safe option and gives a high-end look to your kitchen.

Final Thoughts

You have to crystallize your objectives while keeping the constraints in mind such as budgets and the size of your kitchen. Once you are sure about what you want in your kitchen and in terms of your kitchen’s functionality, you can create a really functional kitchen by following some of the steps outlined above and making other adjustments that meet your needs.

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