Workflow and Convenience.
The basis of kitchen layout planning
When it comes to planning a kitchen, getting the kitchen layout right is the most important factor to ensure the end result is both functional and practical. Whether your kitchen layout is small and compact or large and expansive, a clever layout will make all the difference in helping you to get the most out of your kitchen. Especially in a kitchen, there is a lot more to layout than just making the cabinets fill the space: ergonomics has a huge role to play as well. Getting the heights right, ensuring enough space for comfortable movement, placement of appliances and ease of use all need to be factored in.
While the shape of your room and where the doors and windows are situated will most likely determine the layout of your new kitchen, you can always optimise the area to work better.
Consideration to ergonomics is important as this is the basis of great kitchen design. Ergonomics is the science of designing the environment to fit the people, not people to fit the environment.
The Working Triangle
You may have heard of the working triangle, devised in the 1920’s as one of the first measures of efficiency in a residential kitchen. Not everyone agrees that the kitchen triangle is still relevant today, however it will always be popular since it is a standard in the design industry and is set up to make meal preparation and cooking easier and is still considered a part of the design process. The principle basically suggests a clear path between the cooking area (hob), the cleaning area (sink) and the food storage area (fridge).
Three Dimensional Ergonomics
Today however, with a better understanding of ergonomics, a good kitchen designer would consider work zones to be a more practical approach. Dividing the kitchen into work areas or zones and having everything you need in the right place according to your workflow makes more sense.
The Horizontal Zones are for a specific tasks or functions. Every kitchen can be divided into work zones regardless of their size or shape.
Zone One is for Consumables: Food is kept in the ‘consumables’ zone and the focus should be on easy access to contents when planning this zone. It’s probably a good idea to have this zone nearest to the entrance of the kitchen layout to make it easier to pack away the grocery shopping.
Zone Two is for Cooking: There should be enough space for pots and pans and cooking utensils right next to the hob. And it’s a good idea to keep baking sheets and baking accessories close to the oven.
Zone Three is for Preparation: All the utensils needed for preparing food are kept here (between ‘cooking’ and ‘cleaning’). Pull-outs ensure that implements are within easy reach and can be quickly placed on worktops.
Zone Four is for Cleaning: This zone features the dishwasher and sink. Make sure you have enough space to keep cleaning utensils and agents here.
Zone Five is for Non-Consumables: The ‘non-consumables’ zone is designed for cutlery, dinnerware, and glasses. That’s why it’s a good idea to have the dishwasher close by.
The Vertical Zones or ergonomic levels should be considered based on how often you use items. These can be divided into three categories.
- All the time
Sort your contents into items that you use all the time, often or seldom. If you store them at the right level, you won’t have to bend down or stretch so often.
Meal preparation and clean-up are normally recurring activities or ‘workflows’. Think about what utensils you need and where you’ll need them right from the start when planning your kitchen. This will shorten distances. Ask your kitchen planner about ‘good ergonomics’ and make sure everything’s within easy reach