Should a Kitchen Be Symmetrical?

nadianycSeptember 2, 2014

In the process of designing our kitchen.
On the wall which the 5 seat island will be facing will be in order from left to right, refrigerator, counter, 36 cooktop, counter, and 30 wall ovens. (36 inch sink is in the island directly across from cooktop)
Our designer thinks that we should go with a 30 inch refrigerator since it would be symmetrical with the book end wall ovens. I would really prefer a 36 inch refrigerator but designer says it will look 'off' and not symmetrical.
Would love your thoughts, Gardenwebbers.

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I have always preferred function over form. I'd get the 36" refrigerator if that's what I wanted, not a smaller 30" so it could be all matchy-matchy for the KD.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 7:07AM
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^^Totally agree. Some people must have symmetrical balance, but there are plenty of other ways to achieve balance.

Plug it into the Virtual Planner on the Lowe's website and decide for yourself if it looks off, or if it does, is it worth it for the extra room in the fridge? We have downsized from a 36" to a 32" and feel it.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 7:11AM
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Where did you find your KD? Their priorities are skewed.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 8:14AM
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If symmetry is an issue for you, its not for me, I would think the ovens at one and and any size fridge at the other would do it. I can't imagine anyone noticing 6" difference from one end to the other.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 8:44AM
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Is symmetry worth the daily hassle of a too small fridge? Not to me, but symmetry is not an issue for me. No way I would give up a bigger fridge for a KD's issue.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 9:31AM
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Are you going to use the kitchen, or just look at it?

Symmetry can be lovely, but not at the expense of function. Fridge size is a pretty important parameter.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 10:05AM
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Seriously? No. If symmetry is important to you then all that is required is to keep the wall cabinets (ONLY) immediately next to the range equal. That is what you will notice.
IF, and only if, there is a long view of that wall where the massing would be apparent maybe, just maybe put the ovens in a 36" cabinet.
NOTE wall ovens are much happier in 31 or 32" cabinets than they are in 30's anyway.

Beware the tyranny of elevation views in kitchens- you are not creating a building façade.-balance of rant skipped.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 10:11AM
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Why not do the 36" fridge you want, and then either do 36" wall ovens on the other side, or do 30" wall ovens in a 36" floor to ceiling cabinet (with 3" of filler/molding on either side of the ovens). Any good cabinet installer could make that look completely lovely and deliberate.

Then you have the function you want AND symmetry.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 5:02PM
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I need symmetry but having a functional kitchen is much more important to me. If I couldn't make the wall ovens and fridge the similar (not same) size, I'd have to make one of those difficult decisions and go with the wider fridge. I had to make a similar decision regarding going with a counter depth fridge vs a smaller aisle.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 5:44PM
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I agree with Jillius.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 5:52PM
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This is close to what you're proposing.

Traditional Kitchen by Carlsbad Photographers Chipper Hatter Architectural Photographer

Traditional Kitchen by Tyrone Kitchen & Bath Designers Turan Designs, Inc.

I think it looks just fine. A fridge is going to appear larger not just because of width but because of bulk since there's not much to break up the entire face. That's not the case with ovens. They have a control panel and glass doors, etc. Their heights also won't match up.

I agree with the others. I would *never* put form over function in a kitchen. It may look good but if it doesn't work well, it would be money wasted, IMO. Leave the fridge at 36" and the ovens at 30"; balance the hood and cook top on that wall and it will look fine.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 7:08PM
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Assymetry is more interesting, more relaxed. Symmetry is more formal and rigid looking. People have a natural tendency to like symmetry but comfortable balances can be achieved otherwise; just takes more work. Each has its place. The effects of symmetry can be powerful and meaningful, as in the presentation of a church, a palace, a government building. In a kitchen, it could provide a sense of order and calm.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 7:56PM
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Tell the designer that functional is critical.

No one will notice the 6", but a too-small frig niche is a limiting factor FOREVER!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 9:54PM
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Thanks everyone! 36 inch fridge it is!!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 5:54AM
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Your KD doesn't understand that design is not about forcing you to choose between form and function, but about presenting solutions that achieve the right mix of both. If your designer can't design a 36" refrigerator into your kitchen layout, then you have either a very strange kitchen space or an inexperienced kitchen designer.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 1:32PM
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Asymmetry rules when it fits function. My oven is no longer smack in the middle, but moved so I have more room between sink and stove for prep. The fridge was moved to another wall. Now 2 people can be prepping or 1 prepping & 1 cooking.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 8:20AM
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It would still come across as symmetrical IMO with a 36" frig.

Here's a thought if you're still nervous about it though. What if you were to go with 36" wall ovens?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 8:52AM
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You will say, "Wish I would've gotten a bigger fridge!" You would never say, "Wow, wish I my fridge size matched my oven size." Go with the biggest fridge space allows!! Have fun!!!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 9:34AM
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To achieve symmetry you pretty much need a mirror image, your designer should be trying to achieve balance not symmetry.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 1:15PM
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I agree - balance over symmetry.
Function over symmetry!
Here is our wall oven/fridge
Gosh- our ovens are 30 inches in a 33 cabinet and our fridge is in a 36 inch hole - we left growth room for a new fridge downstream - this was a re-use fridge.
The space between the fridge and oven is 45 and would love it to be twice that much space but my Boos cart serves as an island to enhance the area.

What is symmetrical in our kitchen. Both end walls stop at the same point, so one side is not longer than the other side. The cabinets are different sizes based on function and what fit, so I have 42, 39, 36, 30, 18, 15, and 12.

No one has ever entered the kitchen and said - why aren't your cabinets all 36 inches! My SIL has all 36 inch and hates it - but keep the price down.

Can't wait to see your kitchen :-)

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 1:24PM
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