Welcome back, I’m super glad to have you back to continue my top tips for practical kitchen design. (Missed part one?) Today I’m excited to share how you can create zone areas to improve the functionality in your kitchen. Stay tuned to see how I created a baking, cuppa and breakfast zone.
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There is a move these days to separate butler’s pantries, and whilst these look and sound like a great idea, I’m not sure they work as well in theory. There’s very few I’ve seen that are truly that practical. Mostly because, they’re designed so you’re doing all your key ‘work’ in the little scullery. To me that seems like you’re hidden away, in what is possibly one of the smallest rooms in the house. It didn’t appeal to me, and I’m here to show you that you can have a fabulous working pantry, without the need for a separate space.
When planning this kitchen, I thought long and hard about how we use it, and ‘high traffic’ areas at different times of the day. Because as you’ve heard me say, it’s not just important that it looks good, it’s also got to be a practical kitchen design.
Create zones based on how you use your kitchen through the day
Breakfast is a high traffic time in our house, although with shift workers, and young adults in the house, this is not always eaten first thing in the morning. So I needed this space to be separate from where I might be preparing food. Alongside breakfast, another key use of the kitchen is me and my baking, so a zone for this was also really important. And let’s not forget the all important coffee and tea addictions that need to be fuelled throughout the day!
Once you have your zones sorted, and what you’re using in your kitchen and when, you’ll be able to better plan where your pantry goes, and what’s in it.
Here’s how I created interconnected zones for how we use the kitchen.
The Baking Zone
The cupboard on the right is my baking and coffee zone. I can pull my Kitchen Aid out to use, and all of the ingredients I’ll need are neatly stored above it. The fridge is just to the right, so I have immediate access to anything in there. And the dishwasher is just behind me, so I can put things in there by just turning around.
Let’s talk about my ‘pantry’ for a second. As you can see, I do have quite a range of baking ingredients. Literally because I use these all the time.
One thing that really irks me today, is the design of kitchen containers. There are so many on the market that to me just seem so impractical.
Why would you put containers behind other containers? If you do that, you can’t see what you’ve got, and you’re always having to pull something out to get to it. And if they’re all in a line like this, that may mean pulling more than one item out.
The best kitchen containers are rectangular, with a large opening. Don’t go for round or square containers. Round ones are not efficient in terms of space, and both round and square mean you’ll probably need to ‘hide’ containers behind each other. Unless you have a lot of lovely long narrow shelves. So – rectangular are best because they make the most of the shelf. And it also means you can stack them more easily, which means you can still see at a glance what you have, and easily access it. A wide opening is also important, as that allows you to get measuring utensils in there easily, to scoop the ingredients out.
So now when you go shopping you know what to look for! I’ve tried lots of different containers – lol, you can see from my cupboard! Probably not the nice perfect ‘all the same’ you might expect, but containers are expensive, and I only move on when they’re damaged.
Collate items you need for each zone
Alongside my supplies above, the top drawer under the baking zone is for spices, baking gels etc. Our kitchen company recommended an ‘organiser’ but it was ridiculously expensive. I opted for the Variera ones from Ikea – significantly cheaper, and much the same. They work great.
In the two deep drawers below the spice drawer, are my bowls and deep baking tins ie. loaf tins, cake tins etc. Again, this means that when I’m baking, everything is at hand, and that makes me so much more time efficient.
The cuppa / coffee zone
You’ve got to have one of these in your house right! And generally, you’d expect it to be somewhere near your breakfast zone.
I had a very narrow shelf designed for the bottom of this cupboard, specifically to host those items that are used daily, that you want easy instant access to. That means no container on container. Just a quick grab for what you want. I made the shelf narrow for a couple of reasons. One, as above. Secondly, tea, coffee and the like, tend to be smaller containers, so there was no need for larger ones. And thirdly, by keeping the shelf narrow, it meant we had easier access to the items below it. The kitchen aid can be used in situ – so the measurement of where the shelf was placed was based on this.
So everything is here to make your cuppa. The cups are in the top drawer below the jug. So in this corner, you can turn the jug on, grab a mug, and then have instant access to the tea, sugars etc. Or make yourself a Nespresso.
The breakfast zone
Is breakfast as big a thing in your house as it is in mine?
OMG we go through a lot of cereal, and peanut butter. I think I should take shares in a peanut butter company!
Breakfast can happen at any time of the day in this house, so it was important for me that it was all contained to one area, that was out of the way of the rest of the kitchen functioning. And it makes sense it’s close to your cuppa zone, as they’ll probably be used at the same time.
The base of the cupboard on the left is breakfast. As you’ll see, the tiered shelves on the left contain all of our breakfast condiments, spreads etc. To the right of them are three containers to hold cereals (my homemade granola on the right), and to the right of that, is the Weetbix box, as it comes, as we go through one of these weekly. I purchased the cereal containers, and then had the height of the first shelf set to accommodate those. (The cereal containers were pricey, but that price has long been forgotten as the quality and functionality of these is brilliant.)
A loaf of bread can fit in front of the spreads, if I want to hide it away.
The toaster and the jug sit below these, so you can make your toast, and finish it off, all in this corner. Yes – plates and cutlery are in the drawers below. 🙂
Now don’t ask me how the alcohol fits with the toaster and jug! 🤣
A perfectly functioning and pretty kitchen zone
There we have it. A perfectly organised (and perfectly imperfect) and functional section of my kitchen. That all = the most practical, functional, kitchen design. I hope this has continued to inspire you to modify your kitchen to make it work better, or if you’re lucky enough, to plan your kitchen remodel.