Every kitchen has a trio of key zones—the sink, stove, and refrigerator. When preparing a meal, homeowners circulate back and forth around all three. That's why professionals like Maykut always advocate establishing a "work triangle," ensuring that the layout situates these busy areas conveniently close to one another. "You want your new kitchen to be beautiful," Maykut says, "but it also needs to function well, and ease of use makes all the difference." Further, Maykut suggests including a sufficient number of "landing zones"—countertop surfaces where you can temporarily rest things like dirty dishes, fresh ingredients, and containers full of leftovers.