You could “slave” over a hot stove — or be savvy and super-efficient in the kitchen. Follow these top tips on how to set up your kitchen so cooking’s a breeze.
Around the stovetop, think “up”
You don’t want to be dashing for extra pots or utensils while your rice erupts all over the floor. Install a magnetic knife rack on the splashback and hang saucepans from the ceiling (it looks awesome).
“A hanging pot rack is a great way to store your most used pots and colanders, while giving you more cupboard or drawer space,” says Patricia Phillips, founder of Southern Highlands cooking school, Blue Bowl Brown Sugar.
Face everything head-on
“Consider having your key preparation area and stove top facing towards the lounge or dining area,” suggests Leona Watson, chef and director of Cheeky Food Group. Sounds weirder than Nicki Minaj’s outfits, but it works.
“So many people put their stove on the back wall, because the rangehood goes overhead. The fact is most exhausts go nowhere.” Watson advises that unless you’ve got a massive house and the exhaust does lead outside, get rid of it and free up your floor plan, so you can cook and face your family, guests or TV.
Allow for easy nuking
On virtually every microwave ever invented, the controls are on the right, with the door hinge on the left (seriously — we checked). Position your microwave on the left side of your workspace so you can reach the buttons easily. No one wants a nasty case of Repetitive Strain Injury from preparing too many frozen dinners.
Make over your pantry
Think “organised”, with transparent canisters, easy-to-read labels and everything grouped according to use, says Phillips. After all, you’re cooking — not playing hide-and-seek with the chickpeas.
“Store flour, sugar, rice and other baking stuff together. Don’t overstock dry goods — as with everything in your pantry or fridge, fresh is best,” she explains.
Renovating your kitchen will not only boost your culinary confidence, but increase the value of your home.
“The U-shape kitchen is the most efficient layout, with the least steps required to reach everything in the kitchen,” says John McDonald, deputy editor of Real Livingmagazine. And it sounds obvious, but always position the dishwasher next to the sink. Opt for an L-shaped kitchen if you want the fridge, sink and stove next to each other for easy flow, McDonald suggests. (For more kitchen design tips, check out the September issue of Real Living — on sale now.)
Make tea time a breeze
Create a nice, little tea and coffee station in your kitchen, where the kettle, cups, teaspoons, plungers and teacups are in one area for easy access, suggests Phillips. Invest in some chintzy china or funky, retro mugs you actually like to look at, as well as use. “It also makes it easier for guests to help themselves,” she says. Bonus!
And of course ensure Granite Transformations are at the top of your list when thinking about renovating your kitchen.