Ergonomics of the Kitchen: Fundamentals and Pitfalls

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Let this be the longest article on kitchen ergonomics you will read. After all, when buying a headset, you have to take into account not only the area and budget, but also how fast the progress and the lower back aches. We explain how to make a kitchen comfortable and functional considering life's circumstances.

Ergonomics of the Kitchen: Fundamentals and Pitfalls

The triangle from which kitchen planning begins

Speaking about the ergonomics of the kitchen, we first of all remember the rule of the "working triangle", which says: the location of the main working points - refrigerator (storage), sink (preparation) and stove (cooking) - should fit into an equilateral triangle with sides a meter and a half (two to three steps).

It is understood that while cooking in such a triangle, a person will always move along the shortest path, and as a result, he will save a lot of time and effort. Fascinated by this knowledge, the hostesses calm down and stop thinking about unimportant details. And then it is inconvenient for them to cook in their own kitchen. ReadWhat wallpaper to choose for the hallway and corridor.

Be it a parallelepiped

The rule of the kitchen triangle was deduced by the Germans a hundred years ago, only instead of a refrigerator it featured a cutting table. Today, in our small apartments, this zone is located wherever there is free space on the countertop.

In large kitchens, it is possible to select a full-fledged work area and make a quadrangle instead of a triangle - for example, when planning a kitchen with an island.

Depending on the configuration of the room, we choose the layout of the kitchen - it can be linear, angular, U-shaped, in two lines and an island. It is clear that in each case the ergonomics of the kitchen will be different: there is even no point in comparing the recommended distances for the angle and parallel.

Tip: you need to start with yourself, not in the kitchen. Because the kitchen triangle is not a panacea and not a dogma, but a reason to think about the logic of the processes that start an ergonomic kitchen design. "Got it out, wash it out, prepare it, clean it up,"

Look at your typical routes, identify key points for yourself. Not everyone loves to cook, not everyone loves to eat baked and fried foods. It is important for someone to move the refrigerator to the dining area, and for someone closer to the sink, etc. ReadArchitecture: Stilt houses.

How can you do it differently? The following arrangement is considered to be an ergonomic model of kitchen zoning:

  • stocks and storage area (refrigerator, freezer, cupboards for cereals, canned food);
  • dishwasher and sink (a small area of ​​the countertop above the dishwasher is used for laying out food before washing);
  • preparation area (work surface, cutting boards, knives, blender-mixers);
  • food preparation area (stove, oven, microwave, multicooker, extractor hood).
  • Sometimes there is also a serving and serving area behind the stove (40-50 cm).

The place of the microwave

However, life is changing and kitchen processes are changing. Increasingly, the microwave is shifting from the cooking area to the refrigerator. This is logical: we usually do not cook in it, but reheat ready-made food and defrost food. Convenient location of the microwave oven - 10 cm below the shoulder.

Houzz user polls in recent years have shown that Russians are increasingly trying to get rid of the full-size slab for new refurbishments. And the hob and oven that replace it should be installed in different (user-friendly) parts of the kitchen.

The oven has come off the stove Ideally, if the oven is located at chest level - you can see if the cake is burning, and at the same time it is convenient to take out the baking sheet without bending into three deaths. It is logical to place the oven in the cooking zone, in a column next to the hob. If this is not possible, the oven can be built into a column next to the refrigerator, in one row with the microwave. Above and below the appliances - storage boxes. ReadChalet-style living room.

A small touch on how to make a comfortable kitchen: there should be a section of the countertop above or near the oven where you can put a hot baking sheet. We often forget about this nuance, and with a baking sheet we have to go to the other end of the kitchen.

A washing machine is also common in the kitchen. The best option is to place it either under the countertop near the sink, or in a column, for example, under the oven (the sockets should not be covered).


Most housewives get food out of the refrigerator in advance, so its proximity during cooking is not so important, so the real working triangle comes down to the stove, sink and work area. The ergonomic position for the refrigerator is against the wall, provided that the door opens towards the wall. Or at the entrance to the kitchen, so that you can have a snack without interfering with cooking.

When choosing a refrigerator, think about the ratio of the refrigerator and freezer part. It can be different: 60:40, 70:30 and 50:50. Someone needs a roomy freezer to store seasonal vegetables, berries and dumplings. And someone does not need it at all.

What is on the island

The ergonomics of the kitchen with the island has its own nuances. The main question is what to take out to the island: a sink, a stove, the main or an additional work surface? It is good to fry the cutlets without stopping the conversation with the guests, but here you will have to pull the hood or use a pull-out model with a charcoal filter. Spray without an "apron" will fly in all directions. In addition, if the sink is not on the same countertop as the stove, there will be eternal drops on the floor. For the same reason, it is not very convenient to take out the sink to the island (plus it will be necessary to solve the problem with the drainage system). Read5 Hacks Home Wall Decoration Becomes Multifunctional.

But an additional work surface, where you can roll out the dough or lay out the ingredients for a complex dish, will be very appropriate.

Full-fledged islands - this is an option for a kitchen of more than 15 "squares", a piece of status rather than convenient.

Basic and optimal dimensions

Different kitchen manufacturers may have their own module sizes, but most fit into the parameters: width 25-80 cm, depth - 50-58 cm (upper - from 30), height of lower modules (with a base) - 85-90 , upper ones - 45-100, countertop depth - 60-90 cm.

These are typical dimensions that allow you to use familiar layouts. Formally, they already take into account the basic principles of ergonomics in the kitchen. But you need to understand that the optimal size is always individual.

We can change something in the standard scheme. For example, a convenient height between the top and bottom line of the cabinets ("apron") is 45-60 cm, each has its own. Ideally, standing at the kitchen cabinets, the hostess should be able, without bending or stretching, to get into the upper drawer of the lower module with her hand and reach the second shelf in the closet above the apron. The bottom of the upper module should be 5-10 cm below the shoulder. Between the forehead and the cupboard - at least 25 cm.

Alas, the standards are bad in that they do not take into account the dimensions of the premises and the data of the owners - height, length of arms, sore knees and backs. Read7 Tips To Make A Room Feel Spacious.

When ordering a kitchen, it is possible to adjust the dimensions for yourself. For example, in a narrow kitchen, it makes sense to order a 50 cm worktop and cabinets of the appropriate depth. These 10 cm will unload the room visually and you will not have to hustle with the household all the time. Conversely, a 70 cm worktop and 68 cm deep cabinets will allow you to store pots in two full rows without losing precious space (two large pots for 58 cm simply do not fit, and the pans have to be placed diagonally).


One of the key parameters of kitchen ergonomics is the height of the worktop. It depends on it whether a person will work with a straight back or in an incline, which is why he will get tired in an hour.

The correct working height is 15 cm from bent elbow. This means that a girl with a height of 165 cm will suit the traditional factory version - 85/90 cm. And a man with a height of 190 cm will comfortably work on a 1 m high worktop. Remember this when making a kitchen to order.

Tip: Do not ignore the illumination of the work area - it really affects the usability.

The usual height of the dining table is 70 cm, so combining the dining and work areas is often inconvenient. If you really want to, then it is better not to underestimate the tabletop, but to choose bar stools for its height. Read16 Best Bedroom Paint Colors Based On MBTI Personality. Which One Are You?

Another important parameter is the width of the passage in the kitchen in two lines or in the kitchen with an island. Two people will be able to quietly disperse in a passage 110-120 cm wide. The same amount is needed to, sitting down, open the roof of the oven and get a baking sheet from there. Less is possible, but it will be inconvenient and there is a risk of touching the dining table with your elbow, dropping the goose and being cursed by the household.

The work surface should be large

Nothing makes a person so nervous during cooking as the lack of worktop - this is what is always lacking in our small kitchens. The minimum comfortable working area is considered to be a free section of 100 cm.This is enough to put the washed vegetables out of the sink, and to cut the meat, and to remove the pan from the stove.

By the way : think about it, maybe you shouldn't divide the worktop with a stove into 70-meter sections, but move the hob to the edge? However, it is also unprofitable to put the slab directly to the wall - we will inevitably lose precious 5-7 cm from the edge.

How do I add space on the countertop? Choose an integrated dishwasher and washing machine. Plus, you won't be dependent on the design of the technique when the time comes to change it.

The working area can be extended to a windowsill, but this trick will only work with a low tabletop. It is not a good idea to put standard kitchen units by the window. This will impair the convection of the battery. In addition, it is inconvenient to open the window - to stretch for almost a meter. Read7 Wall Plate Decoration Ideas That Will Change Your Home.

But if one of the cabinets in the lower line of the kitchen is made roll-out, you will get an additional countertop when you need it.


It is believed that in an ideal kitchen, the ideal hob should be 10 cm below the ideal worktop for easier cooking. An ideal sink, on the other hand, is 10 cm higher than the countertop - then you can rest your elbows on its sides. In reality, it is problematic to arrange such height differences.

Remember that it is better to leave the stove and sink in the line, if taken out to the island, then together.

The two-burner hob is not only suitable for a bachelor. In fact, it will be enough for every second family, regardless of the number of members. The exception is cooking fans. By the way, if there are children at home, then it is worth shelling out for an induction panel - the very realization that you will not burn yourself with it will save a lot of nerve cells. In addition, such a plate is smooth and cools quickly, so it can be used as a serving area.

If you have a gas stove, you should not place it closer than 50 cm from a window or balcony door. Otherwise, a gust of wind can extinguish the fire. Also, you cannot place the stove near a window with curtains.


Until recently, the main role of the sink in the kitchen hierarchy stood out - 40% of the time the housewives spent in the kitchen at the sink. Of course, the choice of a bowl turned into the most important moment in a woman's life, after obtaining a passport and getting married. However, dishwashers have reduced both the time spent at the sink and its role in the kitchen. In order to rinse the fruit, there is little point in spending money on a bulky sink with wings for drying dishes, just as there is no reason to move it to the window. Read9 Beautiful And Contemporary Type 36 Minimalist House Terrace Models, Amazed!

Although a number of rules remain unshakable. So. the stove and sink should not be placed side by side, as splashes, getting into the oil, will scatter throughout the kitchen. There should be at least 60 cm between them.

In order to save space, we often define the sink in a corner. This is a bad option. The sink is a key point in the kitchen, it should be convenient to work with. What kind of convenience can we talk about if you constantly bang your forehead against the top cabinet and wash the dishes with a strained back? But in the corner, you can painlessly identify a coffee maker, toaster, kettle or water filter. A good place to wash is close to the corner with the risers, but not in the corner.

The formula “the sink should be deep (18-25 cm), and the mixer should be high” is justified in 90 cases out of a hundred. It is convenient when the spray does not fly in all directions, and a 10-kilogram watermelon is placed in the bowl. But depth implies working in an incline, for which a sore back will not say thanks.

As for the size, a lot depends on the length of the table top. It makes no sense to give away valuable space, but it will be very disappointing when a couple of centimeters are not enough to soak a baking sheet.

Of course, if space and budget allow, why not take a sink with two bowls and accessories like cutting boards, colander and baskets. Wings are a dubious advantage. In fact, they have to be washed more often than used. It is better to choose a sink made of artificial stone, integrated into the countertop: fewer joints - less washing.


The fact that the dishwasher should be next to the sink is understandable - there are both communications and logic here: he shook off the remnants of food from the plate into the trash bin under the sink, and immediately put the dishes into the machine. But keep in mind that the dishwasher should always be in line with the sink. If the doors of the cupboard under the sink and the dishwasher form an angle, you will not be able to put leftover food in the bin and put the dishes in the machine at the same time. An open dishwasher will block access to the trash can.

If the owners are right-handed, it is more convenient to place the dishwasher to the left of the sink - this way it will be more convenient to remove leftover food from the dishes and put it in the machine, since right-handed people hold the plate in their left hand. It's good if you can place an additional unit between the sink and the dishwasher - it's more convenient to stand between two open doors.


The hood is usually chosen to fit the width of the hob, but powerful modern models may be narrower. It's not scary.

In order not to bang your head against it, which is fraught with a brief loss of memory and salting, immediately think over the height of the casing. Usually it is hung 60-65 cm from an electric stove and 75 cm from a gas stove, but do not rely on numbers, check the comfortable height with your forehead. Someone will be helped by a model with an inclined surface, and someone will be helped by a recirculation hood without a hood.

A large hood with a volumetric hood is only needed if you cook a lot or a design concept requires it. You need to understand that the lower the casing, the cleaner the air, but at the same time - the louder the sound and more fat in the bends of the corrugation. In fact, in most cases, a compact hood with a charcoal filter is sufficient to fight odors. At the same time, it eats up much less space.


In terms of ergonomics, closed cabinets are much more convenient than open ones. Yes, they look heavier, but they don't give the mess to take root and save a lot of cleaning time. A kitchen is a kitchen - both open shelves and everything on them will have to be regularly cleaned of sticky deposits and dust. Much easier to wipe the facade.

Therefore, and also from the point of view of saving space, it makes sense to make cabinets for the ceiling. Just define the dishes and equipment on the upper floor that you rarely use - a cauldron for pilaf, a deep fryer, herringbone shapes for New Year's cookies, etc. Climbing a ladder a couple of times a year is not a big problem.

Special fittings will help you get into the upper cabinets. Doors that open upward are more convenient than conventional hinged doors. It makes sense to make open storage systems only for things that you use often - just to miss the front handles with greasy and wet hands.

It is better to equip the bottom line with drawers - they are more convenient than cabinets with hinged doors: the contents are immediately visible and you do not need to squat down to get something from the depths. If the cabinets are not already replaced, pull-out baskets can be used.


One of the most problematic areas in the lower kitchen line is the corner where communications are hidden. A lot of tricks have been invented to access this sector, especially popular mechanisms of the "carousel" type. It is important to understand that carousels do not give any space savings, it is rather a matter of convenience and status. You should not overpay for them - it is better to place a technical corner under the sink: filters, pipes, household chemicals, a bucket for food waste.

The "push-to-open" system (clicked open) at one time seemed fantastic - he poked his knee into the facade, and loaded heavy pots into the drawer or threw out the cleanings without touching the door with his hands. In fact, everything is not so convenient - the drawers do not open completely, and it does not work at all "without hands". In addition, this system is unhurried, so you have to wait a few seconds for the top drawer to close to get to the bottom one.

This system is justified if equipped with electric drives or used selectively, on some cabinets - for example, only the upper ones, or the lower ones in the aisle, so as not to cling to the usual handles. And you certainly shouldn't use it on glossy black facades - you will have to wash your fingerprints on them every day.

But the dampers, which ensure the smooth closing of the doors, will save your ears from an unpleasant knock, and your forehead from bruises.


The number of outlets and their locations also affect the ergonomics of the kitchen. There are more equipment from year to year: steamers, multicooker, toasters, blenders, mixers, bread makers, meat grinders, kettles, TVs. When designing outlets, it is better to lay a "margin" in a couple of points.

The sockets must be divided into groups and connected to their own machines. There should be easy access to the equipment connection points, so you should not place sockets behind the built-in equipment. The correct option is from the bottom or from the side, behind the drawers. So that you can quickly turn off the device.

Sockets that pop out of the countertop look impressive, but they are expensive and often break.

Multifunctional equipment allows you to fit on a minimum of sockets and greatly saves space - be it a food processor or a microwave oven with an oven function. But if such an oven breaks down, you will be left without two devices at once. Therefore, it is better to buy a specialized one for basic equipment.

One of the most common questions is where to hang the TV in the kitchen. In fact, the one who cooks does not watch him, but listens, so you need to focus on those who eat.

Storage: what and how to place

The kitchen is divided into three zones horizontally and vertically: near, middle and far. Things are arranged according to the frequency of use. Everything that is used on a daily basis is in the central, near-field quick access zone. Along the edges of the central horizontal are things that are needed from time to time. What is rarely used goes to the "mezzanine" and "basement".

The ergonomics of things in kitchen cabinets and drawers is as important as the layout of the kitchen itself. It needs to be thought over and you need to get used to it.

Some of the items are tied to the vertices of the kitchen triangle. So, under the sink there are usually buckets for waste, a disposer, household chemicals, above the sink - a drying cabinet, next to it - paper towels. Place the drawer for forks, spoons and knives correctly at the sink, as well as the plate dryer.

Next to the stove are pots, lids, ladles, potholders, spices. Next to the work area are knives and cutting boards.

The lowermost sections are for heavy items. It is convenient when the refrigerator and cabinets with various cereals, non-perishable products, with napkins are collected in one storage area. Bags from the store are unloaded in one place, and there is no need to run around the kitchen shoving bags.

All kinds of drawers - side and basement drawers, organizers for knives, spoons and spices, bread bins, hot coasters built into the worktop - everything should have its place, not be conspicuous and be at hand.

The same is with cleaning: natural wood, although it looks impressive, is worse cleaned than composite or MDF. Super-glossy panels, while reflecting light, add volume to the room, but flaunt all the prints.

Ergonomics of the kitchen and a sense of happiness

When thinking about how to make a kitchen comfortable and functional, it is important not to forget about joy. Everyone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen has their own idea of ​​its ideal. For one it is a sink with two bowls, for another - the presence of an island in the kitchen, for the third - a sink by the window. Yes, these dreams often contradict the rational approach to kitchen planning, but it's worth it.

When a person feels good in the kitchen, it doesn't matter how many centimeters from the stove to the sink.

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