Flatpack kitchen design has moved on from the traditional kitchen triangle. Whether you’re building new or considering a Flatpack project; it’s time to forget Kitchen Triangles. Designing with work zones is where it at now but let’s look at this in a practical way. The traditional triangle is giving way to task-specific kitchen zones for maximum efficiency.
The work triangle evolved when kitchens had a single purpose to prepare meals; there was in no interest in seeing this work, and with only three basic stations the kitchens could be small and very functional.
It made sense that these most used stations in the kitchen were close enough in proximity to access quickly. Take the Fridge, Oven, and the Sink and you just created any kitchen from 1970! The triangle is formed. The idea is that when these three elements are in close (but not too close) proximity to one other, the kitchen will be easy and efficient to use, cutting down on wasted steps.
The triangle was designed to maximise the efficiency of a one-cook kitchen – and that’s the problem…
Work zones are really just the natural evolution of the kitchen work triangle. As our Flatpack kitchens have grown in size and opened up to other rooms in the house, it became more of a challenge to place appliances in a neat triangular layout.
Of course, now we also have more appliances than ever before – dishwashers, extra sinks, warming ovens, steamers, microwaves, separate cooktops and wall ovens – not to mention more people working, snacking and socialising in the space.
By dividing up your kitchen design into work zones, you’ll maximise efficiency in a larger space; and all your cooks, as well as your housemates and guests, will be better accommodated. We can create areas of focus where all the necessary tools & equipment for accomplishing a specific type of task are conveniently located within easy reach of one another.
But I am planning a simple Flatpack renovation – do work zones really matter for my project? This is a common question but regardless of your budget or intended use, any renovation offers the opportunity for smart design. Any kitchen renovation is a big investment, so a flatpack solution is a smart way to save money.
The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s the place where the whole family comes together and it’s one of the most-used areas of any household, so it’s important that the entire kitchen is designed as well as possible. This will ensure that you receive the best possible outcome for your investment.
Don’t limit this concept to the kitchen only. With the popularity in Flatpack renovation across Australia – smart design is based around understanding your desired work zones. Try this short article on Laundry design ideas.
When planning work zones in your new kitchen:
1. Identify the different types of work that you do in your kitchen (mixing, cooking, storing, cleaning, baking, entertaining or just serious snacking).
2. Figure out what appliances, accessories and tools are needed for each type of task.
3. For each type of activity, sketch out a micro kitchen design – room for prep, actual work (like kneading dough), etc…
4. Then designate the different areas, or zones, within the kitchen for doing the different tasks you’ve identified. Include making allowance to store associated equipment and food in adjacent and or near areas for easy access…
Thinking of your kitchen in these terms and organising the design around several simple zones will help you to establish an orderly, functional, clutter-free work space.
To set up work zones in your kitchen, think of the tasks you perform regularly: storing food, prep, cooking, baking, serving, eating, cleaning, making coffee, chilling wine, etc. A work zone contains everything you use to perform each task. Group appliances and fixtures according to use:
For instance, you should place your dishwasher next to your sink, with a compost bin and a garbage bin nearby to streamline kitchen clean up.
Store what you need where you need it most, In addition to grouping appliances and fixtures according to use, give yourself enough storage in each zone for what you need to perform the task.
A different height timber benchtop slab making the perfect baking zone is great for kneading bread or rolling out pizza dough. All the bread-making and baking tools can be stored in the cabinets below – think drawers here. Someone can easily work at this station while another person prepares food in another part of the kitchen.
Provide ample benchtop space next to major appliances. For safety and efficiency, consider placing a benchtop landing area next to your major kitchen appliances, especially the cooktop, microwave and wall ovens.
You want to be able to quickly set down something hot without having to trek halfway across your kitchen. This will also give you a cooking work zone; you can store items such as knives, cutting boards and pots and pans in the adjacent cabinets and use benchtops for chopping and cooking prep (look for hard and hygienic surfaces)
If you have children and a good-sized space, set up an area in the kitchen where the kids can hang out, do homework and eat snacks. This will allow you to all be in the kitchen together without the little ones getting underfoot.
If you have an open kitchen and like to entertain often, you know how important it is to have an area where guests can hang out and chat while you prepare food and drinks.
Smart Laundry ideas!
A large island or peninsula works well for this, since it can act as a barrier that keeps visitors from getting in your way while also giving them a place to perch while you work.
Again, think about the items you use for serving and entertaining, and store them in the cabinets below so you can easily access them. A larger island with cabinets on both sides can assist in storing all your entertainers’ ware.
The most important point is that you can access all parts of your kitchen easily, do complete your routine tasks in a simple and efficient manner… Assuming that your kitchen will only have three major work stations is a very limiting approach to your design.
It’s a really interesting idea that can pay off big in any kitchen re-design…
Next time your planning a flatpack project be sure to think about your layout and design first…
Remember, in any household there are always people who are not involved in cooking who will come and go from your kitchen so designing for the different activities and tasks in your household is a very practical approach to kitchen design…
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