Nowadays the kitchen is the hub of newly designed or redesigned homes. With the open floor plans prevalent in contemporary home design the kitchen incorporates more than just preparing and storing food. There is sometimes a desk area, coffee bars, or a homework station.
Working in the kitchen should be efficient regardless if you have an older home or new. The old standard for setting up the kitchen workspace is the kitchen triangle, imaginary lines connecting the refrigerator, stove, and sink. The idea of the triangle started in 1929 with the time and motion studies of Lillian Moller Gilbreth, a psychologist and industrial engineer. You can read an article about her work designing the modern kitchen here.
The kitchen triangle is efficient for preparing, cooking, and cleaning-up in the kitchen. A few guidelines for the kitchen triangle that keeps the workspace efficient are:
- The sides of the triangle should be less than 4 feet but never more than 9 feet
- When you add all three sides of the triangle it should be between 13 and 26 feet.
- There should be no traffic flow through the triangle.
- Obstacles, like cabinets, should not intersect the triangle by more than 12 inches.
It should be a smooth flow from the refrigerator, to the prep area, to the stove, and finally to sink for clean up.
While the kitchen triangle is still an efficient and well-planned way to layout a kitchen, the idea of work zones expands on this idea and incorporates more than just cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The work zone design for the kitchen is customizable for the way you use your kitchen.
There are three common zones that will be in all kitchens. The prep zone, which is counter space for food preparation. The cook zone, where your stove, oven, and other cooking appliances reside plus all the pots and pans used for cooking. And the clean zone, where you have you sink and dishwasher.
Aside from the three main zones, another zone that is probably going to be used in most kitchen is a food storage zone. This zone would include the refrigeration, pantry, and any cabinets used for food storage. To customize and make your kitchen fit your lifestyle and use you might add a baking zone, a coffee zone, a household command zone. A zone for what ever need and use you have for your kitchen. The idea of zoning is to keep all the items and appliances you use for any given activity grouped in a specific location to make it efficient and easy to use.
Best Use for Your Home
Whether to use the triangle or zoning in the kitchen is up to you and your kitchen designer to decide what works best for your lifestyle. I think a combination would give you the benefits of both and make for an efficient and user-friendly kitchen. Regardless your kitchen should flow from refrigerator, prep zone, cooking zone, to clean zone. The end result should be an efficient, usable, and beautiful kitchen.
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