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Expert Contributor

Remodeling a kitchen can be a very exciting home improvement project, especially in the planning stage when you are considering all sorts of possibilities.

Whatever your plan, pay particular attention to the way traffic paths flow through your new kitchen renovation. You don’t want kids crashing into you while you stand at the stove cooking, or having to squeeze past the table to get out the new back door. You can eliminate such potential problems during the kitchen planning stage.

Map Out Your Design

Using a piece of graph paper or a computer program, plot the layout of your kitchen renovation. Experiment with different arrangements of the cabinets and appliances until you find the combination that works the best for you and your family’s needs. One way to make sure the traffic flow moves freely and easily from one spot of your kitchen to another is to measure the whole space, and then add the dimensions of anything you want to put in the room, such as tables, extra storage cabinets or an island with a prep sink.

Borrow Space From Other Areas

If your cramped kitchen layout doesn't allow a generous amount of space for foot traffic paths, see if you can borrow some space from another room. Study kitchen photos on the internet and watch TV shows for ideas and inspiration for this concept. Consider what other people have done when borrowing space for a kitchen renovation, and you can copy their ideas for your home improvement project.

If you want to add a breakfast bar to your new kitchen, for example, but measuring the space reveals that such an addition would severely restrict movement while you are cooking as well as block foot traffic paths, then it's time to get creative. One option would be to remove the wall between the family room and kitchen. You could then build the bar in place of the wall. The breakfast bar would unite the two open spaces visually without interfering with the flow of foot traffic.

Don’t Let Foot Traffic Interfere With the Work Triangle

Experts agree that the stove, sink and refrigerator create the work triangle of the kitchen and should form the heart of your kitchen planning. Good planning on your part will accomplish the following:

• Keeps cabinet and appliance doors from colliding with each other when opened.

• Makes sure that foot traffic flow from adjoining rooms doesn’t cross the work triangle.

• Prevents entrances to the room from being temporarily blocked when the refrigerator or oven door is open.

• Keeps traffic away from potentially dangerous areas, such as hot stoves and ovens.

Adding too much space inside the work triangle requires extra steps to go from one appliance to another and increases the amount of foot traffic in a kitchen. Plan for the shortest and most direct routes between the three destinations. You don’t want to carry dripping, freshly washed produce from the sink across the kitchen to the stove.

Keeping Safety in Mind

During kitchen planning for good traffic flow, don’t forget to consider the flooring. For your home improvement project, choose slip-resistant materials that won’t become slippery and dangerous if wet.

When planning the placement of cabinets, avoid any sharp corners that protrude into the room and can pose a hazard. Rounded edges on countertops will prevent injuries from happening with foot traffic.

Elizabeth D. has worked as a contractor in the construction of new homes and renovation of older homes for 25 years. She has written DIY articles in the field of home construction and repair for eHow. She has been involved in many DIY projects over the years. Elizabeth is the 'go-to' person in her circle to help improve the design of projects and solve problems with home construction.