Using Zones in Kitchen Design

You may have heard of the work triangle when it comes to kitchen design. Recently, there has been a new design trend to use zones in kitchens. This shift in design philosophy is more of an extension than a replacement for older methods. The placement of appliances, counters, and work areas are as important as ever. Kitchens have become more multi-functional in recent years. So zones are an excellent way to improve the flow and efficiency of your kitchen.

What Sort of Kitchen Zones Are There?

Prep, cooking, and cleanup are the primary kitchen zones.  Larger kitchens can incorporate eating zones. Kitchens with islands can integrate multiple zones in one area.  For example,  baking and cooking zones can be side by side. Prep and cleanup zones can also share an area.

Having your prep zone be separate allows you to have your cooking supplies easily at hand. While cleanup can share the same zone, it limits how many cooking implements, spices and the like you can keep close by. Cooking zones should have enough space to have multiple items being cooked at once.

The idea with zones is so that related tasks have their own place. While they can overlap, the design is created to minimize potential issues. It’s frustrating to have a kitchen where you have to clean up after cooking before you can bake something. Having zones helps to reduce extra work.

Auxiliary zones include beverage and communication centers. Not every kitchen has room for these. Dedicated baking areas can also be considered an auxiliary zone. In smaller kitchens, the baking area becomes combined with cooking out of necessity. This is why many homeowners opt to increase the size of their kitchen when undertaking a major remodel.

Zones and the Work Triangle

The work triangle focuses on the positions of the refrigerator, stove and range, and the sink. Having a triangular path between these major appliances is considered a rule of good kitchen design. Zones involve another level of planning. Designated areas for certain tasks improves the efficiency and functionality of your kitchen.

Another advantage of zones is that they can be used in any size of kitchen. As long as you have prep, cooking, and cleanup zones, they can be used in any design. By planning these areas, you can determine how your kitchen will function ahead of time. This allows you to be well informed about the limitations of your space. It also helps on placement of lighting fixtures, electrical outlets, and utility lines. If these crucial interior design elements are not going to work in your zone plan, it’s good to know if alternative solutions are required.

Having a designer well versed in zone design is important. By understanding the various zones, you can tell how much space you have for each given task. If your zones end up being too small for your needs, your designer will find the best solution available. In case you end up with less space than you need,  an expansion may be necessary. But good kitchen designers can make the most of any space.