What is kitchen zoning?

In modern homes where open plan living is ever more popular and kitchens are multi-function spaces, the traditional work triangle of hob, fridge, sink has evolved to a more comprehensive approach of kitchen zoning.

What are the different zones?

Kitchen zones define the activity that take pace in each part of the kitchen. These include things like the cooking zone with hob and oven, and prep zone where the majority of food preparation takes place. The wet zone is home to the sink and dishwasher and the eating zone is where you enjoy your meals. You may also need a work zone, a relaxing zone or a seating zone. Effective kitchen zoning makes life easier and creates a safer cooking environment.

Can zones overlap?

If you are short of space, you might need to overlap zones slightly. The prep zone and cooking zone could work together, but you’d want these to be apart from the wet zone where dirty dishes are waiting to be washed. Think about worktop space as well as working space where you will stand, especially if more than one person is involved in the cooking. The fridge is usually placed in a neutral zone to be easily accessed by everyone, whether reaching ingredients for cooking, drinks for entertaining or snacks for hungry family members.

Can zoning work with a kitchen island?

In a thoughtfully designed kitchen, the island can perform an important role in your zoning plan. If you like to socialise, think about one side of the island being an entertaining zone away from hot pans and sharp knives in the cooking zone, whilst keeping guests and host together in the same room. Kitchen islands also provide additional storage and can house a hob, sink or drink preparation area.

Can I have a kitchen island as well as a kitchen table?

Kitchen islands can be designed to complement the space available using shape, cutaways and height to meet your needs. Stools at a breakfast bar are ideal for a snack or coffee but family meals are more comfortable seated at a table. End of island tables combine the best of both worlds as they’re designed to nestle into the island for everyday use to seat two or three people comfortably, and then be pulled out into the room for additional seating when entertaining. People who love to cook often favour this kind of seating arrangement as it keeps guests and host together rather than the cook hidden away by themselves - and it’s great for entertaining kitchen theatre!

How to decide what zones work best for you.

Talk to your kitchen designer and discuss how your kitchen will be used. What functions does the kitchen need to perform for your family? How many people are involved in cooking on a daily basis and what appliances do you use? Where do you like to eat; grabbing a quick snack at an island or seated as a family? Who spends time in the kitchen and what are they doing? Do you regular entertain guests and is your kitchen a multi-use space; do you need space for homework or to sit and relax?

Don’t overlook the smaller details too; think about where you store your food and cooking ingredients and plan where your saucepans, crockery and dishes will live as they’ll need to be easily accessible. Also take into consideration the position of your kitchen in the home and, if there’s a busy through route, plan a safe path of travel.

If your kitchen is an open plan space, think about material colours and how these will combine with the furniture in your living space. Do you kitchen, dining area and lounge feel like one unified space? What view will you have of your kitchen when you’re sat on the sofa, and can you see your family and guests when you’re working in your kitchen?

Lighting can also play an important role in the zoning of your space. Bright LEDs make for safer working, a pendant light can create an exciting feature and dimmable side lights are both relaxing and inviting.

The key to successful zoning is creating a seamless space that enables the whole family to effortlessly cook, eat, work and live together.


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