Have you thought about work zones in your kitchen? It’s worth taking the time and energy to do this if you are building a new kitchen, renovating an existing kitchen, or maybe even just moving to a different home.

The old standard kitchen design tool was the work triangle, where we were told the ideal arrangements between the sink, the stove, and the refrigerator should form a triangle. Those layouts were designed to improve your efficiency while preparing family meals. Areas for different tasks overlapped but saved steps.

Today’s kitchens have grown, along with the size of the typical house, allowing specific work and storage areas for smooth kitchen operations. Many of the specified areas are intuitive, while others require more thought and planning.

In most kitchens you will want to designate, at least, a Prep Zone, a Cook Zone, and a Clean-up Zone. Storage for items used in each zone should be stored in the cabinets and drawers that are nearest.

The Prep Zone is often the space between the refrigerator and the range. In adjoining cabinets and drawers, you will want to store knives, bowls, cutting boards, measuring cups, colander and prep gadgets like vegetable peelers, the garlic press etc. Divided drawer space will be desirable, and safety features can often be built in, such as protected knives blades, for example. Do you want your mixer on the counter? How about a special cabinet with a sturdy shelf that can be easily cantilevered to the proper position? The electrical outlet might be installed right in that cabinet.

The Cook Zone you will want near the range, or cooktop and wall oven, and ideally not far from the Prep Zone. Here is where you want your pots and pans, baking pans and casseroles, your spices and herbs, tongs, spatulas, and all your cooking implements. Deep drawers are convenient for many sizes of pots. We have designed kitchens with a shallow drawer atop the pots to hold lids. Baking pans, cookie sheets, and other large flat items can be perfect for cabinets with vertical dividers. Consider several cabinet designs to hold spices and herbs in easy reach. You might want them in a rack on the back of a cabinet door, for example, a stepped shelf inside the cabinet, or a narrow, pullout accessory cabinet with multiple shelves.

The Clean up Zone will be near the sink and dishwasher. Cabinets, drawers and shelves here will be for dishes and flatware, plastic wrap and foil, detergent, sponges, kitchen linens. How about having a drawer here where you can leave the roll of plastic wrap in the drawer while using it? A flatware drawer can be designed with two layers that will easily also hold serving spoons, forks, pie servers, and the like.

Other designated zones may also be useful for your family. If you love to bake, it may be helpful to add a Baking Zone to hold your mixing bowls, sugar and flour canisters, pie plates, cookie sheets and so forth.

No one knows your kitchen needs better than you, but our designers can help you figure out what features are available, and how to reach a beautiful and functional kitchen design with advance planning.

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