Kitchen Layouts

The layout you decide on
will always depend on the
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The kitchen is often the heart of a home where family members and friends gather and communicate. The important tasks of food preparation and cooking take place here, often while children play or do their homework. The kitchen table is used for all sorts of things apart from eating – from computer use, to filling in forms or household repairs. People chat, discuss and use their phones. There are really no limits.

People use their kitchens for a lot of things:

  • Food preparation
  • A place to sit
  • A place to eat
  • Food storage
  • General storage
  • Home office/computer workplace
  • Children play and work
(Source: Andritzky, M.: Oikos – Von der Feuerstelle zur Mikrowelle. Haushalt und Wohnen im Wandel. Gießen. 1992, page 133)

Kitchen planners work with different categories depending on kitchen size and the way it’s used: open plan kitchens, ‘work’ kitchens, compact kitchens and hideaway kitchens. For a 4-person household, you’ll need 9 to 12 m² for a purely ‘work’ kitchen, 13 to 15 m² if you want to add a breakfast nook, and 15 to 18 m² if you want a full dining table. A kitchen for a one-person household will often have a relatively small cooking/food preparation area, because the assumption is that the user will generally eat out or eat take-aways. This sort of kitchen will often be tacked on to the living area, and sometimes concealed behind doors.


The kitchen ranks second after the living room as one of the most heavily used rooms in German homes. In general, the more people living in a household, the bigger the kitchen and the more time people spend in their kitchens. In contrast to a few decades ago, visitors and guests are invited into the kitchen. There’s a strong trend to open-plan kitchens.


A table, or a sitting workplace, sometimes in the form of a breakfast bar near the hob, is an important element in both traditional and contemporary open-plan kitchens. It’s the place where many of the ‘extra’ activities take place, like homework, conversations, etc. The sitting area is planned to be comfortable and well-lit with an attractive view. The lighting should be chosen to give a warn and pleasant light in the evening, but still provide a good light for working. The finish you choose can be anything from traditional wood to contemporary stainless steel.


Although today’s kitchens are technically more sophisticated, there’s less cooking done in them, especially during the week; people tend to simply heat up ready-meals or other convenience products. At the weekend, by contrast, kitchens become the place where everything happens. Friends and relatives join in to cook ambitious meals, often with ingredients fresh from the market and using special recipes from popular cookbooks or the Internet.

(Source: Kesselring B., Von engen Normen zur großen Freiheit, in: Spechtenhauser, K.: Die Küche. Basel/Switzerland. 2006.)

In the future, the level of technology in the kitchen will continue to rise. Intelligent and networked home appliances will communicate with each other. If you can afford them, you can already have touchscreens, a TV and Internet connection in your kitchen. Looking to the future, you’ll be able to program and switch your hob, oven and dishwasher on and off remotely from your mobile phone. Work and relaxation will overlap more and more, and you’ll find yourself planning a multifunctional room – the home-office-kitchen. If we’re working, living and relaxing in one room, the wheel will have turned full circle and we’ll be back in the classic 19th century, working family’s kitchen. The difference is that the father will be sitting at the table (with his laptop) and he’ll order the pizzas online.

What do most people do in their kitchens
(in order of frequency):

  • Cooking/preparing food
  • Breakfast
  • Chatting, apart from at mealtimes
  • Supper
  • Lunch
  • Listening to radio/music
  • Reading newspaper/magazines
  • Repairs
  • Paperwork
  • Ironing and mending
  • Washing, drying and folding laundry
  • Hobbies
  • Reading books
  • Phoning
  • Playing with children
  • Playing adult board games/card games
  • Homework