What is the optimal arrangement of the elements that make up a kitchen?
Which refrigerator to choose?
Which hob to prefer?
It is well known that the kitchen is one of the pillars of the house and how much one is often involved in the choice of the aesthetic and stylistic aspect of the same. Although this factor is important because it is an environment in which a lot of time is spent and for this it must meet personal taste, it is equally essential that the functional aspect responds to specific needs.
Every daily gesture must take place in a comfortable and spontaneous way, without encountering obstacles and impediments.
If the environment is narrow and long, the most suitable solution is that of a linear wall-mounted kitchen. In this case, standardized kitchens provide aggregations of 60 cm long modules, but it must be specified that today it is possible to study the most suitable solution for the space available thanks to the tailor-made project. The depth of most kitchens is 60 cm, while the length can vary depending on the spatial conformation. The modules, sized on multiples of 15 cm, must be arranged in order to correctly respond to the functions that follow one another spontaneously: food preservation - meal preparation - their relative consumption - sanitation of kitchen tools. This is the relationship that relates the four vital functions of the kitchen and that establishes the optimal arrangement of the various areas. According to tradition, the single or double sink is located in the center of the composition and the refrigerator and the hob are inserted respectively on the two sides. In this way it is easy to choose the foods to be consumed, cook them and wash dirty pots and pans.
In recent years, since the design hoods have been introduced, which are very scenic and able to furnish the environment, the arrangement may include the replacement of the hob in the center instead of the sink. In the vicinity of the sink, it will be advisable to insert the dishwasher, so as to make preliminary washing by hand and subsequent insertion of the dishes inside the appropriate appliance easier. Above the sink, of course, the appropriate wall units will be indispensable, which will contain the drip tray in case you wash the dishes by hand. On the side, in the part below the hob, it will be possible to find the oven which, however, lately, can occupy different positions and heights depending on the space available. In addition, the linear kitchen must be equipped with a generous countertop, which is essential for preparing food and for supporting the products of the grocery store if necessary. If you have a very large room, today the market boasts countless solutions that provide for the division of the kitchen into blocks sometimes arranged one in front of the other or the aesthetically priceless island element. In the first case, the hob, sink, dishwasher and wall units are usually divided into a linear section and the refrigerator column and oven column into a separate section. The island kitchen on the other hand, in addition to the linear portion, includes a freestanding block, usually located in the center of the room, the function of which can be that of cooking food, its consumption or sanitizing the dishes. The conscious choice of the type of kitchen and the arrangement of its components is able to ensure functional comfort and daily well-being.
An integral part of the kitchen, the refrigerator is an important element to be chosen carefully given its functional value and its considerable size. In relation to the type of composition chosen, you can opt for a single fridge and furniture
which allows free installation or for a built-in fridge
, integrated into the kitchen. In both cases, this element is placed at the bottom of the solution, or for the free type, in front of the kitchen as long as the room is deep enough to allow comfortable use and easy opening of the door. Furthermore, it is advisable to place the refrigerator in a ventilated area of the kitchen, away from sunlight and heat sources, in order to minimize consumption. Depending on the needs, it is necessary to evaluate the dimensions, the capacity and the energy saving, typical of each specific appliance. In fact, large families will have different needs than couples or singles for which a smaller amount of food will be required to store. As for the measurements, they range from a depth of 60 cm - 70 cm and a variable height between 80 cm and 2 meters. Depending on your eating habits, you can opt for a single door refrigerator, in case you consume fresh food, because here there is usually a small freezer, or for a refrigerator with two doors that includes a large freezer compartment , suitable for those who usually freeze food in large quantities. Not the least factor to consider when choosing the best refrigerator, it is characterized by energy savings, since it is an element that works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. To quantify consumption, each refrigerator has the so-called "energy label" which indicates its performance specifications such as power and consumption, through a classification at the top of which is class A +++. Today on the market there are countless proposals able to satisfy the most diversified needs and tastes; an example of this are the products with colored, worked surfaces and rounded and extravagant shapes. In fact, sometimes the refrigerator becomes a real piece of furniture to show off with pride. Finally, not very common in Italy, but on the rise is the American-style refrigerator, with extra large sizes, with two doors that house the refrigerator compartment and freezer compartment inside, also includes a dispenser for water and ice. with related external distributors. Of course, these are much more expensive solutions and are suitable for large families and very large spaces.
We have often heard of hobs and innovative solutions capable of restoring a design that is very different from the traditional one. In fact, if once upon a time, the choice was univocal and represented by the classic open burners, nowadays the alternatives offer plates capable of completely camouflaging their function thanks to the linear design and the concealed elements.
Modern hobs can be of three types: gas powered, electric and induction
. The first category is the classic one, with exposed burners and connected to the methane gas connection; the advantage is lower consumption and consequently economic savings, but there are substantial dangers due to the presence of fire and the risk of gas leaks that are fatal to human life. The electric plans
, used in the past have proved to be very expensive and for this reason they are less and less used in favor of induction hobs
. In fact, the latter have numerous positive aspects. In the section below the top, coils are placed which react in contact with the ferrous materials of which the pots are made and produce heat thus transmitted to the food contained within them. It is interesting how the heat is produced only by contact, so that the rest of the plate does not heat up, remaining safe and also guaranteeing savings in energy terms. Furthermore, cooking times are very short; the only negative note is represented by the pans that must be equipped only and exclusively with a ferromagnetic bottom. As far as the plate material is concerned, glass ceramic represents the best solution both from a functional and an aesthetic level. Powered by electricity or induction, it has excellent resistance, is inserted flush with the kitchen top and is characterized by a smooth and shiny surface with a pleasant appearance.
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Where to place the oven?
Starting from the size of the kitchen and the arrangement of all the elements that compose it, it will be possible to identify the most congenial position for the oven. The basic rule is to ensure a close connection of the elements belonging to the cooking area, in order to facilitate daily operations in the kitchen. Tradition wants it under the stove, but in modern kitchens it is often found in a stand-alone column, at a comfortable height for the adult who uses it. In the latter case, the oven is equipped with a double glass in order to ensure the safety of the inhabitants of the house; the unusual position has the advantage of being more comfortable for the control of the food being cooked but implies a larger footprint, as it occupies twice the length compared to a linear kitchen that provides it under the sink (oven under the sink> 60 cm total; oven and sink side by side> 60 cm + 60 cm). It is therefore clear that the traditional solution is the only one suitable for rooms of limited size, while if you have a large enough kitchen, then the oven can occupy the high position. In both cases, what matters is that the area in front of the oven is free from obstructions so that the appliance can be used in complete comfort and safety.
Sink with one or two bowls?
The area of the kitchen used for hygiene and washing dishes and pots usually consists of the dishwasher, the dish drainer and the sink. This area is bound by the position of the water system of the apartment and therefore its location is variable depending on the case. The sink is an integral part of the kitchen worktop and must be functional and aesthetically pleasing. Usually inside the relative lower part there is space for the dishwasher and the wall unit for the garbage, while the drip tray is placed in the upper section with respect to the sink. Depending on the needs, on the market it is possible to choose different sinks in size, materials and style: the first choice to make concerns the type which can be single or double. The solution equipped with a single tank is suitable for small kitchens where there is also a dishwasher; if space permits it is advisable to choose a tub that is at least 40 cm wide, especially if the house is inhabited by a family. On the market you can also find the alternative of a tub and a half which can be convenient for washing vegetables by transporting them from one space to another. If there is no dishwasher aid, it is essential to opt for a sink with two fairly large bowls (at least 60 cm each) so as to be practical and very functional for washing large dishes and pots. If you do not have enough space available for the double sink, it is preferable to opt for a single large basin which is the most used contemporary variation. Very comfortable thanks to the generous dimensions, it returns a valuable aesthetic impact.
Which hood to choose?
The hood in the kitchen is an important element that has the function of extracting the vapors and odors produced during cooking. Moreover, lately, it takes on an aesthetic value, thanks to the countless design solutions available on the market. In any case, before choosing the type of hood that best suits your needs, it is necessary to take into consideration the conformation of the environment and the compositional solution of the kitchen, the daily habits regarding the frequency and times of use of the stoves and the chosen style. for the whole room.
By law, the hood must always be present in the case of gas hobs and must have a length equal to or greater than that of the hob in order to cover it completely; they range from the classic 60 cm up to 120 cm. The choice is twofold: there are two types of hoods, suction and filtering.
The extractor hood
is equipped with an extraction system that releases harmful vapors outside the house through a special pipe. The filter hoods
, on the other hand, work via an electrical outlet and contain suitable filters that purify the air; for obvious reasons, these filters must be cleaned frequently and replaced in case of saturation, consequently maintenance is more demanding than with extractor hoods. Unlike the first type, the filter hoods do not eliminate the vapors from the outside and for this they need a recirculation device through which clean air can be introduced inside. The performance capacity of the hood must be carefully calculated in relation to the size of the kitchen in order to ensure optimal elimination of vapors and odors.
Regarding the aesthetic choice of the hood
, it is closely linked to the position of the hob: we will find it on the wall if the plate is on the top of a linear kitchen, angular if the hobs are on a corner surface, from the ceiling in the case of an island hob and still hidden in the case of flat hoods inserted in a wall unit. Those that accompany the island or the peninsula in an open space sometimes become real furnishing objects with a scenographic function. Finally, with new technologies, the hood has become smart, communicates with the hob through dedicated apps and includes touch screen controls just like televisions, computers and tablets.
Classic or modern cuisine?
The beating heart of the house, the kitchen is a fundamental piece of furniture for the home. The choice of type is closely linked to the style of the other rooms and of course to the personal taste of the inhabitants. Some prefer to maintain a traditional line by opting for classic kitchens, while others risk innovative and more modern choices. What differentiates one solution from another is represented by the material, color, appliances and profiles of each solution. For lovers of the classic style, furniture in light or dark wood will be perfect, with visible handles and rounded hoods. The preferred colors are the soft colors used on ceramic tiles and accessories. The environment, where rounded shapes and natural and high quality materials will prevail, will be very warm and welcoming. Often, this composition is arranged at an angle, along two walls with a table and chairs in the center, so as to recreate a cozy and intimate area that favors the sharing of meals. Among the styles that characterize classic kitchens we find the rustic, with dark colors and natural materials with aged effects, the shabby chic with vintage references and the Provencal with romantic notes and pastel colors. For those who prefer the contemporary style, modern kitchens are able to satisfy the most particular needs. In this case the lines are more squared and minimal, the materials are shiny, the technological accessories and the smart appliances. Among the proposals, solutions with island, with peninsula and those distributed on two sides are widely used. The first type is the most striking from a visual point of view: equipped with a central block of variable dimensions that often houses the hob, it is used in very large open spaces. The peninsula requires less space than the island and is a valid alternative for lovers of multifunctionality. In fact, this extension of the work surface can be used as a “piano bar”, as a conversation corner or as a surface for preparing food. The third proposal, arranged on several sides, on the other hand, allows you to use more areas of the environment with great dynamism and according to the rules of ergonomics. It is perfect when the walls are not very large or there are structural limits such as pillars and columns. What you need to keep in mind is to try to always ensure that activities are carried out comfortably, keeping the sink, countertop and kitchenette close to each other and placing the refrigerator and oven in the appropriate columns. Style is the cause and effect of aesthetic choices that also determine the functional success of the kitchen.
Pros and cons of the island kitchen
For those who have large sizes and decide to furnish an open space, the island kitchen is an optimal choice. It is well known, in fact, how this type of solution guarantees a valuable yield and ensures numerous advantages in terms of functionality. First of all, the storage space that is gained with the central block that in the base can accommodate appliances or drawers and compartments for pots, thus freeing the walls from unsightly wall units anchored to the wall. Another much appreciated feature is characterized by a deeper worktop than those found in usual kitchens. The hob in question is often equipped and can be used for various functions: cooking, sanitizing with sink or simple support surface. In addition, the conformation and central position allow the use of the island by several people at the same time without compromising their free movement. This type of solution is also considered optimal from a social point of view as it favors the sharing of important moments in the family such as the preparation of meals and their consumption around the central fulcrum of the kitchen. If inserted within an open space, the island can act as a connecting element between the kitchen and living room as it ensures fluidity in the succession of the two rooms with different functions that are not so divided by clear barriers. The resulting environment is visually valuable. Although it is a very advantageous solution, the kitchen with island also involves some problems that should not be underestimated. The first is the lack of adaptability, as it can only be used in very large environments: in order to ensure the right functionality, there must be at least 120 cm between the central section and the linear one close to the wall. Furthermore, it is good that the block has a depth of at least 80/90 cm. The second constraint is represented by the systems: if it is a detached house or under construction there will be no major problems, but if it is a question of apartments to be renovated, a tailor-made design of the gas and water connections is required, which will be prepared for floor, in the center of the room, in correspondence with the island counter. From a practical point of view, to prevent bad smells produced by food preparation from spreading throughout the open space, it is essential to insert a hood with optimal suction capabilities that is able to overcome this unpleasant inconvenience. Last but not least, attention must also be paid to the correct lighting of the island as representing a real work surface, diffused ambient light cannot suffice. For this reason it is good to equip it with led strips or recessed spotlights, thanks to which the light beam will be oriented on the most used areas.
Electric oven and microwave oven: how to arrange them?
Often in the kitchens, in aid of the traditional oven, there are additional solutions that facilitate cooking in terms of time: these are electric and microwave ovens. These two small appliances can be built into the oven column or, in the case of the countertop types, find space on the kitchen worktop. If they find space in the aforementioned column, usually 220 cm high, the electric and microwave oven allow to save useful space on the worktop, which would instead be occupied by the countertop models. In fact, if the oven occupies a high position, it is possible to have a wider work surface, to cook more easily by checking the cooking of the food at the right height and to preserve the safety of children who cannot touch the appliance operating at high temperatures. temperatures. As for the support oven models, it is necessary to pay attention to the choice that is made: sometimes, a reduced budget corresponds to more limited performances. A problem could be represented by the surface overheating of the appliance; in this case it is good that it is placed away from objects and panels and that the base is equipped with feet that lift it from the support surface, allowing air to circulate. Furthermore, it is advisable to place the oven at an adequate distance from the sink and kitchenette, while, unlike what was believed in the past, today it can also be located near the refrigerator, thanks to the high-performance insulation of the two elements. Since these are free-standing ovens, and not built-in in the kitchen, since they require electricity, they must be positioned near a socket. Depending on the needs and space availability, these two types of oven are available on the market in various models with different capacities: ranging from 10 liters up to 30 liters for those who need to cook larger quantities of food, such as large families or who does not have a traditional oven. In any case, all choices must be linked to functional and safety requirements.