Creating Kitchen Work Zones: 5 Tips

It’s a kitchen planning movement that began in Europe but one that has been enthusiastically adopted in the United States. German design experts refer to it as the Intelligent Kitchen or Dynamic Kitchen, but here it’s more simply known as kitchen zones.

Why Kitchen Zones Are a Smart Move

Did you know that, on average, we walk to and from the table about 30 times per day and open and close cabinets and drawers close to 100 times per day? Add to that the dicing, slicing, and meal prep that goes on here and it’s easy to see why some experts refer to the kitchen as a workout zone.

Incorporating the work zone method into your luxury kitchen remodel offers the benefit of shorter distances to travel and maximizes both efficiency and functionality. Done right, it’s a design approach that often increases your kitchen’s storage capacity by over 50% per storage space.

Designing the Best of Zones for Your Kitchen Remodel

shutterstock_315797645Depending on who you talk to, there are three to five kitchen zones: Food preparation, cooking, and cleaning are the top three. Knowing where you want each zone to be can be extremely helpful in designing and designating where your cabinets will be placed during your kitchen remodel.

1. The Prep Zone

This zone is where you want to incorporate useful cabinet options that store everything you need for quick and efficient meal prep. The refrigerator, microwave, small electrical appliances, and food processors should be located here, as should cutting boards, utensils, and mixing bowls. Storage such as full extension pullouts make everything completely visible and put spices, sauces, and oil and vinegar within easy reach.

2. The Cooking Zone

This zone is typically located between the prep and cleanup zones and obviously contains the oven and cooktop, as well as a warming drawer. The top priority here is a spacious and easily accessible drawer for pots and pans and their lids, which can be held upright in narrow compartments. These wide and deep pan drawers are also ideal for bulkier items like large utensils. Use shallower versions for storing baking trays.

3. The Cleaning Zone

It sometimes seems washing up takes the longest, but the least amount of time is spent in the cleaning zone. Along with the sink and dishwasher, here’s where the waste bins, household cleaners, and cleaning utensils should be kept. Pullouts are perfect for towels and cleaning products, and it’s easier to store large items like buckets in a large drawer instead of a standard cabinet. Smaller items like sponges and bottle cleaners can be stored in an under-the-sink drawer.

4. Storage Zones

Passaretti-34Ideally located next to the cleaning zone for ease of emptying the dishwasher, this area is used to store eating utensils, cutlery, glasses, small appliances like coffee makers, and non-food prep items. Storage often comes in the form of a pantry which can contain a range of organizers. Consider installing cabinet doors that open upward instead of swinging out as well as pull-down systems that bring heavier items down to your level.

5. Guests and Kids Zone

If your children hang out in the kitchen, set up a zone where they can do homework and snack. Consider a design where this space could double as a guest zone with seating. A good location is on the opposite side of the island that isn’t used for prep work.

Whether you choose a work triangle, work zone, or combination design for your kitchen remodel, custom cabinetry plays a big role in creating a space that fulfills your needs and vision. Talk to one of our kitchen designers today about selecting the right cabinets and options for your kitchen design.