Kitchen zones and layouts

With the help of a few basic principles, you can design a kitchen that meets your need precisely – saving you time and effort and contributing to a better quality of everyday life.
Red: Cooking zone, Blue: Washing zone, Green: Storage zone

The work triangle – creating an ideal work flow

The main working functions in a kitchen are carried out between the cooktop, the sink, and the refrigerator. These three points and the imaginary line between them, make up what kitchen experts call the "work triangle".

The trick is to position these three points so that they are not too far from each other and not too close to each other (this makes for cramped working conditions).

Ideally, the line between these three points should not exceed 20 feet in total. The ideal distance between the different working points is 3 feet.

If you’re thinking you don’t have room in your home for a triangular kitchen, don’t worry: the working triangle can be effectively achieved in many different layouts, according to preference and the shape of the room.

Work zones – simplifying everyday life

When deciding where to put cabinets and appliances in relation to each other, it can be helpful to think in terms of zones or work zones. This approach, focusing on function rather than objects, mean you’ll end up with an everyday-friendly and efficient kitchen.

The three main zones, in relevance to the working triangle, are: storage (fridge, freezer and dry storage), washing (sink and dishwasher) and cooking (cooktop, oven, and microwave). Placing them well is crucial to achieving an ergonomic work triangle, with a natural workflow and everything within reach.

Here are some basic tips to consider when planning your work zones:
Cooking zone

Avoid crossing the kitchen with hot pots and pans. Think about placing your oven and cooktop near the sink and countertop.
Washing zone

Your sink is an important area. Plan to have your fridge close at hand for easy food prep. Close proximity to your cooktop makes it easier to drain your pasta and vegetables.
Storage zone

For storing, make sure you have enough storage for all the food - both for dry goods and in the fridge. A countertop near your high cabinets and fridge makes it easier to unpack shopping bags.

Common kitchen layouts

In most cases, it’s the shape and size of your room that decides what kitchen layout you ultimately will choose. However, some kitchen layouts may suit your needs and living situation better than others. Here are five common kitchen layouts and their main characteristics. They also illustrate how to ideally plan your working zones.
Single-line kitchen

Where space is scarce, a single-line kitchen in which the working triangle is reduced to a straight line, can be the most practical solution. It’s also pleasing to look at.
Single-line with island

This single-line kitchen includes an island. An island provides plenty of storage as well as extra work surfaces, but it requires at least 3' of free space around to work well.
L-shaped kitchen

The L-shaped kitchen is ideal when you want to add a small dining table or kitchen island. It’s also a good way to make the most out of a corner, as well as integrating the kitchen into a dining area.
U-shaped kitchen

If you have a large room, the U-shaped layout is ideal. It gives you maximum space and plenty of storage options – ensuring that everything is within easy reach. If the room is very large, it’s important to ensure that the points of the working triangle (see explanation above) are not too far from one another.
Parallel kitchen

You don’t need to have a huge amount of space for this layout. It’s geared for food preparation and provides two great work and storage areas on opposite sides. In fact, it’s favourite of many professional chefs.

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