need help? call our friendly team on  (09) 447 1400
Login |
cart Shopping Cart shopping cart (0)
Speak to one of our kitchen designers to visualise your new kitchen in 3D. 
Contact us to arrange an in-store or on-site consultation at any stage of your DIY Kitchen project. 

Designing your New DIY Kitchen

How to Design DIY Kitchen Layout

When you decide to renovate your kitchen you may want an entirely new kitchen design. Often, remodeling a kitchen is not so much updating appliances, countertops, and cabinets as it is getting to the very core and essence of the kitchen. Lets face it, you can’t turn the TV on nowadays without a cooking show being on and there are even whole channels devoted to cooking and eating.
When we ask our customers how they want to live, they are after a highly functional kitchen that looks great.
This means rethinking the plan and flow of the kitchen with a new DIY kitchen design.
Let's look at the basic, trends today:
  • More open plan kitchens – generally we want the kitchen to be the centre of our homes and entertain more, and enjoy good food with family and friends.
  • Larger work surfaces – to meet the above requirements we need a larger work surface to enable this.
  • The kitchen needs be able to accommodate 2/3 people at various times, often we find its both parents and often the kids help to assist in getting it all completed and onto the table.
  • More Gloss surfaces and finishes - As the kitchen becomes more open plan it needs to be better finished, as it needs to sit comfortably in the dining and living space’s. Stone tops, more gloss finishes and a more designed look and feel to the kitchen.
  • More linear and clean lines not only look easier on the eye but makes it easy to use.
  • More drawers and less cupboards – this makes seeing what we have stored easier and more organised as well as better to to reach.
  • Lighter looking kitchens – no hard and fast rules here, but the 5 best selling cabinet colours are all whites or off whites and the 3 best worktop colours are all whites or off whites, this then gives a lighter more airy feel and allows us to punch the colour up by way of colorful accessories’ and appliances, splash backs and art.

How do I achieve all that?

Given the above here are the steps to take to help you do that.

In general the problem most people face in a kitchen renovation is the existing 1950’s to 1970’s house has an existing kitchen footprint that is too small or too square by today's standards.

You might need to consider some space saving accessories.
Step 1Download the ikitchen DIY planner.
Draw up the whole kitchen space.
Ignore the current layout. 
Draw the windows and also understand the flow particularly to the living spaces.
Step 2 - Make a list of the appliances you are replacing and what sizes they might be? Any DIY kitchen design ideas has to start with the appliances – every kitchen have to have them you don't need to know the exact appliance but the generic type and size. See how to choose my appliances?
Step 3 – Design a concept – Try to think of the kitchen as a series of workstations:
The work triangle of old is far more sophisticated now days, these days we prefer the zone system – these are:
  1. Storage Zone – for the food – ambient temperature and refrigerated, these should ideally in most situations be together - Pantry and Fridge.
  2. Prep Zone - where we cut and prep all the ingredients ready to cook -  ideally with pullout bin, sink and dishwasher working in unison.
  3. Cooking Zone  - The area where the hob and sometimes the oven are. It needs to have good pot/pan storage adjacent, as well as access to storage for bowls and dishes and those big utensils easily to hand.
  4. Serving Zone – where we serve the meals up. It needs to have cutlery, plates, and serving utensils and bowl’s within easy reach – ideally near the kitchens entrance and/or nearest to the dining table area.
  5. Cleanup Zone – Unfortunately it all needs cleaning up and putting away – right when we seem to have the least volunteers – it should be easy to get rid of the waste via the bin and sink and rinse the dishes and load the dishwasher. Once the dishwasher is done we need to be able to put away the dishes, we use the 80/20 rule – 80% of the items that go through the dishwasher day in day out is the drinking cups/glasses – these tend to occupy the top shelf in the dishwasher and the bowls and plates from breakfast/Lunch/Dinner the bottom – so always locate the storage for these within easy distance of the dishwasher, the pots/pans can be a little further away.

Some things to avoid if at all possible:

Keep the dishwasher away from the oven and hob – often when the meal is nearing completion we want to clear the prep utensils/bowls etc. just as the hob and/or oven is at its most intense so keep them apart.
Try never to put dishwashers in a corner – sometimes in a small kitchen this is unavoidable otherwise we end up straddling the door to empty it and we often want to access the cupboard the dishwasher door is in front of.
The minimum distance between 2 work surfaces is 1.0 metre, ideally 1.2 metres if at all possible.
Always try to get all the tall elements on the one wall/elevation in the room (Fridge, Pantry and sometime oven tower) this always looks and functions best. So find the wall (often this needs to be the longest) where all the tall items need to go, these are the Fridge, pantry and wall oven and any on bench pantry’s if required – never go around a corner with tall units if at all avoidable – it looks poor, functions poorly and physically makes the kitchen feel smaller.
To keep the design functional and aesthetic, here are some of the design rules we apply:
  • Corners are inefficient – if completely unavoidable then minimize these.
  • Symmetry always looks good and functions well.
  • The prep area is critical – if at all possible keep this between the sink and the hob. Keep as much separation as it is practical between these.
  • Keep the lines simple  - try to avoid the “Manhattan skyline look” by having the wall unit lines stop and start or change the height back and forth - the ikitchen range is designed to assist here.

Some tried-and-true DIY kitchen design layouts.

The Single Line Kitchen
Very basic, the single line Do It Yourself kitchen design is perfect for long and narrow kitchen spaces. It's simple and, as far as kitchen remodels go, pretty inexpensive. While it does not utilize the Classic Kitchen Triangle its linear design still allows for ease of traffic flow. Counter space is at a premium. The one-wall kitchen design is not the best design, though. It can be improved with either the galley or L-shape kitchen design plans--provided kitchen area is available. StraightLine.gif
The Galley Style Kitchen

With counters on both sides, the Galley style kitchen design is highly functional because it uses the classic kitchen triangle pretty well. This layout gives a bit more space for counters and cabinets, though crowding between the two main workspaces may be a problem. Still, the Galley Style Kitchen is a highly affordable and functional plan. This is because there are no corners which tend to have costlier units, and also Stone worktops are much more economical as fabrication is easier when not going around corners. 
The L-shaped kitchen

The “L” design plan is not quite so popular these days, though this plan does away with the crowding problems found in the corridor plan. We still find the kitchen triangle, though in general the walk from oven to refrigerator is longer.
The option here is also for an L-Shape with an island – space if critical.
L Shape.gif
The U or G shape Kitchen
Popular in New Zealand homes these best suite a square type space.
Still probably the best all round layout from a functional perspective.
This arrangement allows for much more worktop and cabinet space than the L-shaped design. The corner counter space can be used for on bench pantries and is often used for storing mixers, toaster ovens, and other small appliances.
Note that with the increased counter space, a double-sink can be used.

The U-shape kitchen design plan can be thought of as a corridor-shape plan--but with a closed end. The closed end gives extra room for a range hood or a sink.
This arrangement maintains good workflow by means of the classic kitchen triangle. NOTE: Sometimes if the end is short (less then 1500 mm between the worktops) often a galley layout works better as this then eliminates the 2 inefficient corners. Offers more drawer space and less hard to reach corners.
For more information contact us now.
Follow us on Facebook for the latest updates
5b Volkner Place, Albany, Auckland
Monday-Friday 9am-4.30pm
Saturday 9am-1pm (Appointment recommended)
Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays