We already know the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home, but what is it that homebuyers truly want in a kitchen design? Despite fluctuating colors and trends, there’s one ageless feature people want out of their kitchens: Efficiency. They want everything in their kitchen to flow. They want cooking and cleaning to be quick and easy. They want their space to work for them, not against them.

So how can homebuyers design efficient kitchens? It’s not dependent on size or cost, but rather the livability and functionality of the design. These four distinct features should be your main focus when planning your kitchen.

1. Effective Zones

An effective and efficient kitchen space needs to have established work zones. In other words, like-objects should be placed together; cooking utensils near the cooktop, dishwasher near the sink, etc. How you decide on specific zones depends on your typical kitchen behavior, but the most effective setup tends to be 3 zones: one for food preparation, one for cleanup, and one for storage.

2. The Legendary Work Triangle

efficientkitchenWhen it comes to layout, the legendary work triangle is still the best for efficiency. The work triangle is the space between the refrigerator, the stove and oven, and the sink and dishwasher zones. Since cooking, cleanup, and storage, are the three main functions of a kitchen, this set up makes for the most efficient use of the space. It makes workflow effortless and smooth and reduces extra steps between the three most important zones of the kitchen.

The triangle should be easy to navigate, with no roadblocks, and should be separated from the flow of main kitchen traffic. The points of the triangle should be between four and nine feet apart for the best performance.

3. The Storage Situation

An efficient kitchen is about utilizing the design and layout to work for you. One way to do this is with storage solutions. The right storage can save you time in the kitchen, and clear counter space and clutter. The right storage differs for everyone, but here are some tips for efficient organization:

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  • Open shelving — this can speed things up simply by eliminating the constant opening and shutting of cabinets and drawers. It also makes it incredibly easy to locate what you need, when you need it.
  • Utilizing vertical spaces —Many people forget about the space north of their field of vision. These vertical spaces provide a ton of room for storage and will minimize clutter and maximize counter space.
  • Built-in storage — The depths of cabinets and drawers can get so difficult to manage. With built-in storage systems like pullout shelves or lazy susans, everything is easy to manage, easy to find, and easy to put away.

4. The Right Light

0011_ybEvery room in your house has one important feature in functionality: lighting. The kitchen is no exception. Proper illumination in the kitchen makes it easier to work without shadows and obscurities and increases safety during cooking activities. Task lighting—individual dedicated light fixtures— over the main work areas: the cooktop, food prep counter, and sink, will boost efficiency and improve the overall ambiance in your kitchen.

The kitchen is not only one of the most important rooms in your home, but it’s also the biggest investment. Whether you’re a homeowner who desires a remodel, or you’re trying to appeal to homebuyers, an efficient kitchen is a bankable feature in luxury homes. It’s always worthwhile creating a kitchen that suits the lifestyle of those who work, eat, or hang out there.