Designing a Beautiful Kitchen That Works

modern custom kitchen in off-white with barn door pantry
galley kitchen with open wooden shelving

You want a kitchen that's beautiful. You need a kitchen that works.

A beautiful, inviting kitchen makes being there so much more enjoyable, but it's frustrating if there's no flow.

So, how can you have it all?

We'll help you create a kitchen you love with both beauty and function in mind. We'll guide you through the following considerations, help you make important decisions, and tailor the design to your needs.

The Work Triangle

Most kitchens are designed for both cooking and prep work-is yours?

Kitchen designers focus on the "work triangle." This layout includes your refrigerator, stove top, and sink, which are all arranged to make up the points of a triangle.

You should be able to turn from your stove and quickly access your sink, for example. No one wants to walk across the kitchen to drain a boiling pot of pasta. When you keep these three areas within comfortable distance, cooking and cleaning become easier, safer, and more enjoyable.

Work Zones

While the triangle is the primary work area, other work zones need to be planned. For example, you'll probably want the dishwasher next to the sink for easy cleanup.

Store your coffee mugs and filters just above your coffee maker. Group knives, peelers, and cutting boards near your prep space and cooking utensils near the stove top. You can also add a bar with stools for quick snacks and homework sessions.

kitchen with sink, stove and fridge in triangle
kitchen sink with work space on either side

The Sink

Why position the sink first?

Because you use your sink more than other areas. Many homeowners place it in front of a window, to take advantage of natural lighting and possibly a view.

Once you've decided where to place your sink, it's time for a full layout for your cabinets, countertops, stove, and other appliances.

Counter Space

You'll need counter space for prep work and storage. You'll also need room for smaller appliances (coffee maker, toaster oven, microwave). You might also have some non-functional items to provide color, or some special family heirlooms to display.

On average, a comfortable cooking surface needs 12 to 15 inches of countertop space on either side.

In smaller kitchens, it's sometimes difficult to provide enough counter space without taking up too much floor space. Our kitchen designer can help you find balance, so you have plenty of room for both cooking and storage.

corner sink with windows
modern kitchen with pantry and ample counter space

Custom Cabinetry and Pantries

Cabinet and pantry design are important. Whether you choose a minimalist or traditional design, you need enough storage space for your food, small appliances, cooking implements, and utensils.

We typically advise clients to list the items they need to store and then decide how much space is needed for each, using that list. Remember to include items you might need to store in the future. For example, if you want to stockpile canned goods or start cake decorating, you'll need more space.

Smaller kitchens might require wall cabinets, while larger kitchens might include an island or walk-in pantry. When you work with one of our custom kitchen designers, you can discuss additional features that improve storage and functionality.

For example, corners can be wasted space, and we often recommend pull-out shelving to make the best use of these areas. If your kitchen is smaller, you might need creative solutions to expand countertops. Consider a pull-out cutting surface, for example.


Because kitchen tasks require attention to detail and use sharp objects, you'll need plenty of light.

Consider what lighting you'll need for deep cabinets and be sure your lighting won't be blocked by your body when you're standing at the counter.

If you're considering exterior modifications, you can incorporate larger windows in the kitchen design. Place windows strategically so your kitchen receives plenty of sunlight throughout the day. The daylight helps save energy and makes the kitchen more inviting.

Kitchen lighting can be a combination of ambient lighting for appeal and task lighting for functionality. A designer can help you find the best lighting fixtures and design for your unique space.

custom cabinets and large double fridge in kitchen
bright lights hang over large kitchen island


Even homes with formal dining rooms often need additional seating in the kitchen. It depends on how you use your space.

Do you have children who like to gather while you cook? Bar stools can help.

Will you serve food in the kitchen? If so, an island table might work.

If you plan on serving full meals in the kitchen, you'll need to dedicate a large space for the table and chairs with at least 36 inches of room behind each seat for walking.


The kitchen sees more traffic than other rooms in your home. Think of the number of times someone walks through the kitchen - to grab a snack, make a drink, return dishes for cleanup.

That's a lot of traffic. The walkway is important. The space should be wide enough for two people to walk side-by-side (so you can pass each other comfortably).

Also consider the way your appliances function. For example, will your refrigerator door or oven completely block traffic when it's open?

stools lined up under large kitchen island
ample walking space between counters in galley kitchen

Final Thoughts From WoodMaster Designers

It's easy to start feeling overwhelmed during a kitchen renovation.

It's hard to balance aesthetics with functionality. When in doubt, our general guidance is to choose functionality first. Beauty is important, but your kitchen is primarily a functional space. Our professional kitchen designers are well-versed in both.

We create gorgeous custom kitchens in Red Deer and the surrounding areas.

Contact us or call (403) 343-6344 for a free consultation.

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Your vision is our mission. We're here to help you turn your favorite ideas into beautiful, functional spaces by giving you the close professional and personal attention you deserve.

We've crafted more than 10,000 kitchens since 1989. Our experience ensures you'll love your new space and you'll be completely satisfied with your investment.


We want to give you our undivided attention when you talk with us about new custom cabinetry or renovations to your space. That's why we require everyone to make an appointment.

5105 76A Street Close #5, Red Deer, AB T4P 3M2

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