25 Tips to Working Smart in the Kitchen

Working smart—not working hard—in the kitchen is the way to go.

Updated on June 15, 2017 11:06 am



Good planning for your kitchen can go a long way; especially for those who are big on cooking. Aside from the basic stuff, there are actually many clever measures around to optimise the kitchen workflow. Here are our top 25:

1. Lifestyle needs come first. No matter what the latest or most popular trend is, your kitchen design should always fit your lifestyle needs. For instance, do you need more storage, more worktop space or even an island counter?

Featuring the Luminary kitchen from TOTO Kitchen

2. Waste matters. Since washing and preparing of food items are often done at the sink area, it only makes sense to allocate your bins in the cabinet under. For a neater and cleaner order, divide your trash into categories such as recyclables, general waste and food scraps.

Featuring the Granite composite kitchen sink from Kraus USA

3. Depth considerations. Before you choose a deep sink that could accommodate your pots and pans, here’s something to consider. Says Mr Marcus Hoeller, General Manager of Häfele Singapore, "It is more inconvenient to work with deeper sinks. The ideal depth of the bowl depends on the user’s height and for most people in Singapore, a shallower bowl seems more suitable. In addition, with a deeper bowl you lose the space below the sink for other purposes like waste bins or storage. The standard sink depth in the market here is between 175mm to 220mm."

4. Double up. Two is definitely better than one it comes to sinks (unless you have space constraints). Not only would double sinks allow more washing space, you can stash away dirty dishes so your countertop remains clean and cluttered.

5. Shut away. Open shelves and display cabinets may be aesthetically appealing, but if your kitchen is used for heavy cooking, it would be a better idea to stick to closed storage. Unless of course, you don’t mind the hassle of constant cleaning up to get rid of grease build ups.

6. Worktop height. Prevent straining your back by tailoring the bench height. Says Mr Henry Goh, Director of Impress 21 Design, "The standard height is 860mm for most customers. For Caucasians, they usually request for something higher, but 960mm should be the limit. As for the wheelchair-bound, I’ve done 740mm for many such customers so it should be a good height."

7. Up the wall. If not absolutely necessary, save yourself the trouble by avoiding storage that reaches all the way to the ceiling and requires the use of ladders or chairs to access. Inconvenient storage that’s not within reach may not always be a good option.

Featuring Electrical Supply Socket by Eubiq, from TOTO Kitchen

8. Power up. Instead of having hazardous extension cables lie all over the place, plan ahead by installing power sockets near the areas where appliances would be utilised.

Featuring the Schiffini One Kitchen System from XTRA

9. Island love An island is a good addition to have; but only if you have the space for it. A good gauge is that the walking space should be at least 36 inches wide around the island. If you can’t fit in a long island, a square version might be the next best thing!

10. Make it matte. While hi-gloss surfaces undoubtedly reflect more light to create a visually large and brighter space, they can be more difficult to maintain as compared to matt surfaces. Says Mr Gabriel Yee, Senior Interior Consultant of Thaddeus Interior Associates, "Oil stains on hi-gloss laminates may be visible especially after heavy cooking. It needs daily maintenance."

Featuring the Blanco Classic 8 sink from Häfele

11. Travel time. To optimise workflow, the distance between your cooktop and sink should be considered. Says Mr Henry Goh, "I usually cater for the sink and cooktop to be between 500mm to 600mm apart. It’s big enough for a preparation area but not too far apart to transport between sink and cooktop."

12. Burn notice. Don’t compromise your worktop space for a large cooktop you don’t need. Instead of choosing a massive one with five or six burners that you probably won’t use, opt for a minimal one and maximise your preparation space instead.

13. In the hood. Even if you would rather do without the visual clutter of a hood above your cooktop, consider the amount of grease and fumes it could keep off your floors and walls, especially if yours is an open-concept kitchen.

14. All hung up. Make use of your vertical spaces by affixing rods and hooks to backsplashes, walls, or even doors. It will be able to hold everything from pots and pans to tea towels and aprons.

15. Table plan. For additional prep and dining space, wall-mounted tables, that can be kept away, work just as well.

16. Drop-off points. Apart from sufficient worktops, think about where you could conveniently place your groceries. Ideally, you should allocate a space close enough to the fridge and cupboards for you to transfer groceries easily. Also, you would need a space for cooling hot dishes.

17. Eliminate clutter. Fight clutter even within your drawers and cabinets. With proper organisation tools, not only would you be able to locate things more easily, it also means you would be able to fit in more than you could have with disorganised stashing.

Featuring the Tandembox Intivo from Blum

18. Easy reach. Opt for storage drawers that can take a heavy load. It’s easier to stack items within drawers and also to access its full contents, especially those with full-extension runners.

19. Properly lit. Whether it’s food preparation or cooking, proper illumination is needed to avoid unwanted accidents and hazards. You can adorn your space with a fancy pendant light, but don’t skimp on under cabinet lighting that will make for a well-illuminated cooking space.

20. Wet works. Minimise dripping water all over your floor and worktop by placing your dishwasher as close by the sink as possible.

21. Maximise storage. Don’t let corners and other awkward spaces go to waste. With some forward planning, you can maximise your storage with corner cabinet solutions and even under-sink drawers from Blum for example.

22. Big and bulky. When planning your storage options, don’t forget to consider the space you’ll need for bulkier items like pots, pans, and salad bowls. Make sure you leave enough height and depth for keeping those away.

Featuring the Single lever pull-out kitchen faucet from Kraus USA

23. Get flexible. Though usually pricier, mixer taps with flexible extensions can make dishwashing an easier and speedier process. In the long run, this saves water and hence on your utility expenses.

24. Pretty up. Adding décor pieces and accessories in your kitchen for more aesthetic appeal is fine, but consider if the items you picked are easy to clean on a regular basis.

25. In the zone. Visualise your cooking and preparation processes to plan zones within your kitchen. For example, the kettle should be placed with mugs, condiments within reach of the cooktop and knives close to the prep station.

Article originally published in SquareRooms September 2013 issue

Share your kitchen makeover and reno photos with us! Email us at hello@cromly.com and Like us on Facebook.


Request a free quote from us!


Comments —