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Smart Kitchen Ideas

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Smart Kitchen Ideas

by Pietro Scalise

Here are some smart ideas to enhance the looks and functionality of your kitchen...

Functional dimensions – the basics

  • The working height from finished floor level to workbench needs to be between 850mm to 1050mm with the preferred height being 900mm with a tolerance of plus or minus 20mm.
  • A splashback height from workbench to underside of wall-mounted wall units needs to be at least 450mm.
  • If you are considering a wall mounted cabinet unit above a sink, the clear distance between these needs to be at least 600mm.
  • Work tops need to be 610mm deep with a tolerance of plus or minus 10mm
  • From a cook top element or burner, 600mm clear vertical distance needs to be maintained to any other combustible surface.
  • An oven should be located so that the opening face when set down is level with adjacent work surfaces such as bench tops.
  • To ease the way a dishwasher is loaded, it should be located so that the top of the dishwasher is not more than 1100mm from the floor.
  • Refrigerators and freezers should be located with the 1800mm to 400mm zone measured from the floor.
  • Allow at least 300mm on either side of a sink for adequate workspace.

Power points

  • No power points or switches must be installed on a wall 100mm from a bench top surface.
  • With sinks that have more than 20 litre capacity, the area within which a power point or switch cannot be located is 1000mm above the sink and extending 500mm either side of the sink basin edges. Where sinks have a capacity of less than 20 litres, this zone is reduced to 40mm in height and 150mm either side of the sink basin edge.

Clearances – ovens and cook tops

  • Range hoods and exhaust fans need to be located a minimum of 600mm above the highest burner of a cooker.
  • Cabinetry above wall-mounted ovens needs to be given a gap of between 50mm and 90mm from the wall for venting heat build-up. No power points allowed on the wall being wall-mounted ovens.
  • Maintain a clearance of at least 300mm from the edge of a burner, not the edge of the cook top appliance, to any side cabinetry.

Clearances – refrigerators

  • The cabinetry above a fridge or freezer needs to be set at least 200mm from the wall to allow adequate ventilation
  • Maintain at least 25mm clearance on the sides of a fridge or freezer and 30mm above.
  • Ideally the power point should be located so that the appliance does not have to be removed from its location.

Colour schemes

  • A rule of thumb states that the main colours in any room may be broken down using a 60:30:10 ratio, that is, using one colour on the majority of the spaces, less of another whilst a third used as an accent. In the kitchen the main colour may be the walls or cabinets; the secondary being the floor and the accent colour for bench tops being the third. Kitchen walls tend to be dominated by cabinetry, therefore together with benches and the floor, treat these as the starting point for your kitchen colour scheme.
  • To expand space, use cool, light colours with minimal contrast. To shrink space, use warm, dark or bright colours and a maximum of contrast. To lower a ceiling, make use of warm colours and dark tones. To increase a ceiling height, consider cool colours and light tints.
  • Cabinets, bench tops and flooring will represent the greater expense in the kitchen so perhaps a neutral colour scheme that will withstand the test of time may be the practical choice. Areas more welcoming of latest trends can be splashbacks, sinks and taps, any tiling and flooring insets, larger and smaller appliance not forgetting colour that a fresh flower arrangement can bestow a kitchen.

Feng Shui kitchen tips

  • Maintain cook top burners clean and use all of them equally.
  • The cook’s back should never face the kitchen entrance. Ideally the cook top may be located on an island bench so that the cook has a clear view of all activity in the home.
  • Cook tops should not be placed under windows
  • The cook top should not be placed adjacent to either sink or refrigerator. Place some distance between these. Fire and water do clash, even in Feng Shui principles.
  • Maintain a fruit bowl with fresh fruit and hang mirrors near your eating area to increase the feeling of abundance and prosperity.
  • Keep all surfaces clear of clutter with food and smaller appliances not used every day out of sight.
  • Broken items, empty boxes or that which is no longer in use must be thrown out. The same applies to rotting fruit and cheap trinkets. Out!
  • Every home and a kitchen in particular should be replenished with fresh flowers, never dried ones.
  • Rubbish bins and your recycling area must be out of sight –always!
  • Opt for round edges and round or oval tables. Round tables will also mean that your single friends won’t feel left out at dinner parties.

A green kitchen

  • Green products are those that can incorporate salvaged or recycled materials and these in turn can also be re-used; they reduce energy and water usage; can serve as alternatives for other products which are harmful to the environment and those that promote a healthier indoor environment.
  • A modern-day kitchen tends to stock pollutants. The materials that compose it can affect your health as food that is stored, prepared and eaten in a chemically laden space can absorb toxins.
  • The use of green materials for your kitchen does promote a healthier living and a natural environment.
  • Natural materials such as stone and wood can be more kind to the environment choices than plastics or metals.
  • Be careful with cabinetry that contains urea-formaldehyde and flooring that can emit chemical fumes. Choose wisely for your family’s sake.
  • Consider separate bins for glass, paper, plastics, metals and organic waste for your composting.

Did you know?

In a kitchen the colour yellow aids in digestion whilst green can inspire passion in your cooking and blue encourages expression. Touches of these colours in your kitchen do not have to the predominant ones to interact with your personal energy system; they can simply be used as final touches like flower arrangements, plants or accessories with the same effect.

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