One does a lot of work in the kitchen, which is why ergonomics are highly required in this area. An ergonomic kitchen ensures your productivity, efficiency, and comfort while preparing and cooking your meals. You’ll enjoy working in your kitchen if you get this right. Get it wrong and you’ll be frustrated and in pain every time you use it.
Save yourself from back and body pain with these ergonomic kitchen design ideas:
Keep the path between appliances unobstructed
When designing and building kitchens, consider following the traditional work triangle. It’s a path that connects the range, fridge, and sink. Keep this clear. There should be no obstruction in between the storage, food preparation, and cooking areas.
However, you should know that the work triangle is not a design law. It’s merely a suggestion for efficient space planning. There are kitchen configurations where following a work triangle is impossible such as the Pullman layout (one wall). Plus, there are other important appliances that you regularly use in the kitchen such as the dishwasher, oven, microwaves, etc. In this case, try your best to keep the path in between the appliances and storage areas passable.
Ensure the correct distance between benches and fixtures
You will feel cramped in the kitchen if there’s too little space in between workspaces. Maintain 1050-1200mm of space in between facing benches and fixtures. You can extend up to 1400mm but anything more than that could be inefficient and might be wasted.
Do not store the dishes above the dishwasher
Store them on the nearest possible storage on either side of the dishwasher. This lets you smoothly empty the dishwasher. You’ll move faster and you won’t strain your spine and back muscles when reaching up to put away the clean dishes.
Superdraft tip: Position the dishwasher in an island bench and store the plates, bowls, glasses, and other food containers in drawers and cupboards near it.
Increase your bench height
Believe us, the 900mm bench height will give a long-legged person a serious back pain. Consider raising your minimum bench height to 920mm. If you or the cook of the house is tall, you might find a 950-1000mm bench more comfortable. If you’re short, you can also reduce your bench height to 850mm.
Position wall-mounted appliances above your head height
Have you ever bumped your forehead on the range hood while cooking? If you did, perhaps the distance between your stove and the range hood is not right. Our building codes suggest that you maintain at least 600mm for an electric stove and at least 650mm for a gas stove. Most range hood manufacturers recommend a 700-750mm distance between the stove and the range. Work with the measurements that fit you.
Feel free to apply the same logic to your wall-mounted cabinets. Don’t let the doors open too far beyond the bench. Install retractable hinge systems on each cabinet so it stays closed.
Swap the lower cupboard for drawers
Ferreting on the lower cabinets looking for a lost item is hard on your back. So, instead of building lower cabinets, why not build a set of drawers? A drawer is easier to use. Simply open it and you will see all of its contents. Consider having drawers with two or three different depths for easy organisation. It’ll be a great way to install kitchen items of different sizes, from cutlery, plates, pans, pots, and food. If you’re thinking of ageing in place, this will be a good investment.
Install clever cabinet inserts and organisers
Cabinet inserts and organisers such as the LeMans system or a lazy susan will save you from reaching far into your lower cupboards. These additions can spike the costs of building your kitchen, but it will be worth it.
Match your water pressure with your sink and tap
The water splashes every time you open the tap is an issue you should address in the kitchen. It’s not ok to be sprayed with water all the time!
There is no standard distance between the tap and the sink bottom on the building codes of Australia. You need to think twice about pairing a shallow sink and a long tap or a deep sink with a high-arched spout. You also need to match your water pressure with your sink depth and tap height. Work out what’s the best for you.
Illuminate your work zones properly
Install task lighting on your cooktop and food preparation zones. LED downlights or strip lights under the wall-mounted cabinets will brighten up the bench space.
Consider a sprung floor
A sprung floor absorbs shocks and is soft to touch. It will support your legs and feet while you’re standing and moving around the kitchen. You won’t feel the foot or leg pain after prolonged standing in the kitchen.
With careful planning and use of ergonomic kitchen appliances, your kitchen becomes pleasing to work in. Are you building a new kitchen? We can help create a design that’s good for you! Leave a message and we’ll get back to you ASAP.
Talk to a Brisbane architect about your kitchen project.Liked this article? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.