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Cape Town – Whether renovating or building a new kitchen, it is important to spend time deciding where various elements should be placed.

This, say the experts, will allow you to end up with a space easy, simple and enjoyable to use.

While most opt for a professional kitchen designer and manufacturing company listed with the Kitchen Specialist Association to help tackle a kitchen, individual preferences are crucial.

Experts suggest you identify your own style and the way you work in a kitchen before even consulting the professionals.

 Somethings cooking in kitchen decor

A good place to begin the process is by defining your kitchen space.

John Dammerman, marketing director for Easylife Kitchens, one of SA’s top kitchen design and installation companies, suggests you should do this using a technique called “dynamic space”.

While the traditional kitchen triangle still has relevance, Dammermann says nowadays the area is divided into three zones:

* Preparation area.

* Storage areas (cold and groceries).

* The cooking hub.

He says identification of these areas is key to placing plumbing and electrical points. This ensures energy saving by putting, for example, cold-storage fridges away from heat producing ovens.

Layout choices are affected by a number of factors, such as:

* Individual style.

* The shape of the available space.

* The size of the room.

The installation of space-saving cabinet devices and design can also considerably reduce the need for extensive storage, says Dammerman.

Another consideration when planning the layout of your appliances, cabinets and sink area is that some “landing” space will be required beside each zone, for the unpacking of groceries, placing washed veggies and quick chopping.

Below are some of interesting kitchen styles. See which one best fits with your style.

Island kitchens

By far the most popular design, island kitchens essentially maximise all available space, while extending the potential of the area for kitchen activities.

The island performs the function of a reference point and often provides a multi-purpose hub for cooking and eating. With a stylish fan above the stove, food can literally travel from the pan to plate.

“Kitchens are going back to the future with ‘workhouse island counters’ as the central feature. The island counter is where you can cook, chop, store and socialise,” says Hannah Lord of Heid Interior Design.

Best for

* Country styles, where excess storage is required and a full, complex look is sought. “Some people love clutter – there are some kitchens with so much in them, your eyes jump around. Homeowners either are or aren’t into the minimalist look,” says Dammerman.

* Large homes as it is suited to expansive cooking areas, with lots of cabinetry for storage and a focus on the central work zone (the island) for prepping and cooking.

U-shape and G-shape kitchens

As the name suggests, these work-flow layout options seek to make use of three adjacent areas, offering a great solution to the store-prep-cook workflow conundrum. Often, one of the three sides will serve as a type of island, with large horizontal surface areas to serve food.

Best for

* Open-plan (or “living”) kitchens, where the shared area can perform multi-functional purposes with an electronic device station. Dammerman says the layout lends itself to a sociable lifestyle. “It is of paramount importance with our hectic lifestyles for families to spend time together. With an island, the children can sit and do homework and when you’re having a dinner party, guests can interact with the chef.”

Galley

An elongated area lends itself to a galley-style layout. Central to the design is the cabinetry installed on either wall and the central area used as a walkway for the chef. A major advantage is theease of access to all storage options. The proximity between the built cabinets needs to be a minimum of 1.5m in order for cupboards and drawers to function properly.

Lighting can make all the difference if the elongated area doesn’t have a window. “Lighting is the most important aspect – it can turn a drab kitchen into a fairy tale,” says Dam- merman.

Best for

* Small kitchens where minimal clutter is desired. Pantry or scullery areas adjacent to the open-plan cooking and prep zones.

L-shape

Another popular plan is the L-shape cabinet layout. Its simple lines and clean arrangement lends itself well to classic kitchen styles as the work areas are underplayed, with just two walls of functional applications.

Less mindful of the traditional triangle, workflow will need to be carefully executed and lighting considered.

Best for

* Mini- malist styles. If combined with modern storage design, such as push-open drawers and tilt, swivel and lift systems that negate the use of handles, the L-shape kitchen can almost blend into the walls.

* Smaller homes or holiday pads. The open floor space can also be used for a dining table, offering the ideal formula for an eat-in kitchen.

 Easylife Kitchens

Without doubt, 2016’s darling of the home

Our space for cooking, eating and storing is taking on new meaning in a recessionary 2016.

The kitchen, says Kirsten di Clemente of Di Clemente Interiors, is set to be the hub of the home this year.

“With people possibly not going out to eat out as much this year, I think we will be focusing more on home cooking and entertaining,” says Di Clemente.

“In my opinion, the kitchen will be a big focus as it encapsulates the sense of comfort and stability of home traditions.

“With our unstable economy at the moment, people will not be spending money on expensive overseas holidays.

“We will start to relook at our own homes, patios and outdoor living areas for our holidays and entertaining.”

Hannah Lord of Heid Interiors agrees the kitchen is set to become the “social focus” of the home.

John Dammerman, marketing director for Easylife Kitchens, says the kitchen is also the “brain” of the home, complete with hi-tech appliances and smartphone automation potential. He predicts a strong move toward homeowners investing more in their homes, due to the weakened rand.

“People are thinking twice about going overseas because you can’t even afford a cold drink. They’re looking to replace or upgrade their kitchen – the most used room in the home.”

- Samatha Harthorne, Independent HOME