The Work Triangle vs. the Work Zone
In the past, kitchen design centered around the kitchen work triangle where the refrigerator, range, and sink are placed 4 to 9 feet apart, forming an equilateral triangle. This efficient design came about as a way to reduce unnecessary steps between appliances when kitchens were smaller and often closed off from the rest of the house. Nowadays, people are moving away from the traditional kitchen work triangles and are instead planning their kitchens around work zones.
Work zones are an evolution of work triangles where you group things together based on their specific function. In today’s kitchens we have much more than just three appliances with dishwashers, microwaves, and separate stovetops and ovens. This multitude of appliances makes it much harder to utilize the work triangle and easier to embrace the sensibility of work zones.
To carry out work zones in your kitchen take a step back and think about which tasks you perform on a daily basis. Your work zone will contain everything you use to perform these tasks. You’ll probably want zones for preparation, baking, storing, cleaning, cooking, serving, cleanup, and coffee. Below we outlined a few of the necessary work zones.
Cooking Zone The cooking zone is where all the action happens and where your major appliances will be housed. The oven, stove, and warming drawer should be in this zone and should sit as close as possible to the prep zone to easily place newly made items into their respective cooking appliance.
Prep Zone For a prep zone think about putting all your knives and cutting boards together for easy access. Your storage units and refrigerator should be located near the prep zone allowing you to grab vegetables as well as pots and pans with ease. You might also want to think about keeping your cleanup zone in close range so you can easily toss vegetable peels and trash without traipsing across the kitchen.
Baking Zone No more lugging your mixer out from its storage spot, a baking zone will give you the option to utilize a large cabinet for easy access to your mixers, pots, and cookie trays. It’s ideal if there’s an outlet close by so you can mix things here as well.
Cleanup Zone Lastly, the cleanup zone is where you’ll find your dishwasher and sink. Ideally you’ll want your dishes all within arms reach of the dishwasher for easy unloading.
The beauty of utilizing work zones is that you can customize them to fit your kitchen needs and space. It’s natural that some overlapping of zones will happen, so make sure that you’re mindful of the space and keep your kitchen aisles clear, especially when there’s more than one cook in your house. All in all, a little organization to put things into zones will give you a lifetime of kitchen efficiency.