Kitchen Design Ideas for a 13X10 Kitchen

Patrick Gleeson, Ph. D.,

Kitchens contain a uniquely concentrated group of functions and elements that present design opportunities and difficulties. You need a food prep area, a stove and oven, a sink and a refrigerator. Most designs also include a dishwasher. You will need a utility area for storing cleaning materials, as well as under-counter storage, storage above the counter, and enough counter area for a toaster, blender, food processor and microwave. Many homeowners also want wine storage or a trash compactor. You will have to design for all of these in a relatively small 13-by-10-foot space, yet maintain certain minimum distances between objects--and keeping the look clean and uncrowded.

Make Your Mistakes on Paper

A successful kitchen design begins with your chosen theme.

Use a scale ruler to make a 1/2-inch to 1-foot scale drawing of your 13-by-10-foot kitchen in plan view (the view looking down from above). Draw in windows and doors. Make paper cut-outs to scale of your stove, sink, refrigerator and other features. Spend time moving these objects around in the given space to see what works and what does not in the allotted space.

Make Important Decisions First

Decide first where the sink goes, then design the kitchen around it. A kitchen with a corner sink presents different opportunities and problems than a kitchen with the sink along a wall. Decide whether the kitchen will have a center island, which might have either a stove or a bar sink, or both. Once you have decided on the locations of the sink and stove, place the refrigerator so that these three key objects form a more or less equilateral triangle. This gives you an efficient work space with stove, sink and refrigerator within steps of each other.

Express Your Theme

Some designs come to life with a high-tech display of chrome and stainless steel stoves, refrigerators and other featured objects; other more traditional designs will have the various functional objects built in, giving a softer look. Decide the look of the kitchen before ordering appliances. Different looks require different models. Built-in appliances in a traditional kitchen will have face-panels supplied by your cabinet maker. A contemporary kitchen might have factory-supplied stainless steel faces for refrigerator and dishwasher.

Work to Achieve a Grid

Attractive kitchen designs minimize clutter by lining up objects on a grid, where objects share a few strong vertical and horizontal lines, with a minimum of unnecessary detail or interruption of grid-lines. If you have cupboards right and left of the refrigerator, continue the upper horizontal line of these cupboards by designing a small cupboard with matching design that fits above the refrigerator and has the same width. This lines up the vertical lines shared by the refrigerator and the cupboard above it. Putting everything on a grid as much as possible makes it possible to understand the organization quickly, and minimizes visual clutter.