Kitchen Organization: Work Zones and Layouts



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kitchen organization layouts and work zones

Many homeowners are frustrated with the layout and organization of their kitchen. If you’re considering a kitchen remodel, then following a few simple rules can help you create a kitchen layout that is easy to organize and keep clean.

Start with the Work Triangle

kitchen triangle - kitchen organization layouts and work zones

The work triangle has been the golden standard of kitchen design for many years now. The concept behind it is that the three most used things in the kitchen, the sink, the refrigerator, and the stovetop, should be laid out in a triangle shape with no part being further than five feet away from each other. In some cases the triangle does indeed work well, but it was defined in a different era and because of that some of the given information at the time has changed.

Focus on Kitchen Zones

kitchen organization layouts and work zones

The technology of the time was limited to just those three major areas in a kitchen however, today there are many more small appliances to be considered. The way you use your kitchen might focus more on the coffee machine than the stovetop, which means that the work triangle would need adapting.

Dividing the kitchen into zones where particular tasks are done separates the space into areas of efficiency. Zones also allow for a better understanding of how the kitchen will be used and what spaces are the most valuable. The most typical zones found in the kitchen are the following areas.

Prep- Where dinners or large meals are put together, typically a stretch of counter space. This is often set up near the cleaning area making pull out trash cabinet accessories a great addition.

Cooking- Typically the stove and a small area next to it for ingredients waiting to be used or that are freshly cooked. The National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends a minimum of 24 inches left and right of the stove but we prefer 30-36 inches.

Cleaning- Typically the sink and space for a drying rack as well as storage for clean dishes and utensils. The National Kitchen and Bath association recommends a minimum of 24 inches of counter left and right of the sink, but we prefer 30-36 inches. Pictures above is a workstation sink,a new concept that combines multiple work zones into one convenient appliance.


General Storage- Cabinets near the prep, cooking, and cleaning zones with pots and pans, utensils, plates, and other supplies.


Food Storage- A separate pantry space for dry goods and spices typically integrated into the kitchen but if the space allows can be its own small section. The creation of rollout cabinets and accessories makes it easy to create this designated zone in any sized kitchen.


Beverages- An area in a kitchen where you can quickly grab a drink without interrupting work flows. Usually includes its own storage and small refrigerator plus appliances needed for drinks being made.

Breakfast Bar/ Nook- Small space near the kitchen with seating for a few for quick meals. May also include counter space and storage with grab and go options.

Entertainment- Seating that keeps guests out of the way but allows for socializing while cooking. Often times built into the island and could be doubled as the breakfast bar. Could also be apart of the dining room if it is located nearby.

For someone that likes to entertain it is important that the space for guests is close to where they are cooking. If you do a lot of baking or cooking from scratch the prep space needs to be large enough to accommodate for multiple ingredients. A small family may not need a complete breakfast nook on top of the other seating options in their kitchen. No matter how you use your kitchen there is always a need for ample specialized storage. Depending on the size of the kitchen there are a ton of ways to arrange these zones so that what is most important to the user is present and the kitchen is fully functional.

The Final Step

Determine what you value most in the functions of your kitchen and how much of that is tied to specific layout or design solutions. With that in mind start to break apart and rebuild those ideas and consider how zoning can effectively use the space.  

Our design process focuses on these steps and helping you to define how you want to use your kitchen. We start with understanding who you are and what you are looking for. We then take your current layout and mold it into something that fits your direct needs.For more information or help with transforming your kitchen into the fully functional space of your dreams give us a call today! We look forward to hearing from you!

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