Kitchen Work Zones and Design

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Identifying Work Zones

Kitchen work zones refer to the stations that your space can be divided into according to function. The most common zones are the cook zone; which contains the range, oven, and other appliances used for cooking; the prep zone, consisting of counter space used for food preparation; and wash zone, an area used for cleanup that would include a sink and dishwasher.

These work stations should be organized in a layout that decreases the time spent traveling in between zones. Considering work zones is not only an efficient approach to design, but also matters for safety—having a prep zone near the cook zone, for example, allows you to quickly move hot dishes from the oven to the counter, making spills and burns less likely. When planned according to your lifestyle, a remodeled space should simplify your work in the kitchen.

Even before your initial consultation with a design team, you can start mapping out which zones should be included in your personalized design. If you’re an avid baker, for example, talk to your designer about adding a bake zone as part of your remodel. If you entertain often, it might be best to include a zone for guests to be near the chef without getting in his or her way.

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Determining Layout

Kitchen work zones have traditionally been planned according to the kitchen triangle layout. This method of designing places the sink, range, and refrigerator a few feet apart to form a triangle. Though this setup works for small or closed kitchens, letting this outdated design principle dictate your remodel can negatively affect your workflow. When designing a kitchen that is functional, creating a layout that allows you to seamlessly transition through work zones is essential to ensuring your kitchen will work its hardest for you.

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Galley style kitchens are ideal for the triangle setup because space is limited and workflow is not affected by the triangle layout.

Tailoring Your Design to Your Lifestyle

As families have evolved, so have design principles. Good designers understand the importance of tailoring every space to a family’s lifestyle, which means they should ask how you plan to use your kitchen. This will guide their design as they organize your specific work zones. A designer’s knowledge, experience, and creativity can help them guide you through the layout options available within your space and budget.

At Marsh Kitchen & Bath, our Marsh X process guarantees that your goals and lifestyle are at the forefront of your custom design. During the Xamine stage of Marsh X, our designers ask you a series of questions that are meant to give them insight about your lifestyle and how you will use your kitchen. These questions help our designers get an initial understanding of the features that will be essential in your kitchen design. Ultimately, our team strives to design your dream kitchen, while ensuring that your space is as functional as it is beautiful.

Ask a Designer

Carol Van Zile, CKD, CAPS, DTM has been in the industry for more than 30 years and has been part of the Marsh Kitchen & Bath Greensboro team for six years. Like everyone on our team, Carol will try to include everything on your design wish list, but expects some flexibility when certain features won’t work for your space. Here’s what she has to say about her approach to planning a kitchen layout:

As a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD), I do my best to adhere to the guidelines outlined by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). However, kitchen design isn’t a “one size fits all” proposition. Just like all clients are different, all spaces are different shapes and occasionally we need to determine which rules we need to alter in order to fit the room.

My goal is always to have my clients drink their morning cup of coffee or night time glass of wine, kicked back and looking at their beautiful new space and thrilled with the results!