Zoning Your Kitchen

Because it is Thanksgiving week and the approaching feast is on all of our minds, we’re going to spend some blog-time talking about kitchens. When remodeling or designing a kitchen, it is crucial to think about layout. You've probably heard of a work triangle that designates the placement of the kitchen sink, stove, and refrigerator for convenience and functionality. This can be helpful in your kitchen layout. You should also think about zones in your kitchen and the flow between these zones. By identifying problems in or wish lists for specific zones of your kitchen, you can better tailor your kitchen to your needs.


Major Kitchen Zones

The major zones in your kitchen are the storage zone, the food-prep zone, the cooking zone, the clean-up zone, and the serving zone.

The storage zone includes your pantry and refrigerator. The refrigerator is a large element, so it can be considered its own zone for arrangement purposes.

The food-prep zone should have access to the storage zone and include lots of designated counter space for mixing and chopping. Easy access to small appliances and utensils can also be part of the food-prep zone.

The cooking zone includes your stove and oven. It should have at least two feet of counter space for tasks like cooling pans or placing spoons while they’re not stirring the contents of pots.

The clean up zone includes the kitchen sink and dishwasher. It needs space for clean dishes to dry, and for dirty dishes to be stacked before being cleaned. There also needs to be a place for the storage of cleaning supplies. The clean-up zone can also include your trash can, recycling bin, and composting tin, as this stage of kitchen work can easily include the separating waste.

The serving zone is a modern addition to a kitchen. As our kitchens become more informal and more connected to living and dining spaces, it might be useful to have an area to place food that is on its way to the table. This could also be used as a buffet style serving area.

Kitchen Flow

One way of arranging flow between zones in your kitchen is to try to follow the natural progression of cooking: storage flowing into food prep, food prep to cooking, cooking to clean-up, etc. The one overlap in all of this is the kitchen sink, as it sometimes is a part of food-prep as well as clean-up. The core to a good layout is the functional placement of food-prep areas, cooking areas, and the kitchen sink. When these are close together (but not too close otherwise two cooks will be too many cooks in the kitchen), you’ll spend less time running around your kitchen, and more time enjoying cooking in it.