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Kitchen Zones: How to Create an Ergonomic Kitchen

A good kitchen layout is one that enables you to move around it effortlessly as you prepare or cook meals, with everything in easy reach. The more ergonomic and easy to use it is, the more joy it will give you over the course of its lifetime. There is no point in striving for a kitchen that looks beautiful if the functionality and physical enjoyment of it is lacking. One of the most effective solutions to ensure your kitchen is practical as well as beautiful is to incorporate kitchen zones by creating clear areas for the different activities you expect to use the room for, in turn creating a far more ergonomic kitchen.


Zoning a kitchen is essentially breaking the space up and allocating different areas to different functions so that there is an allotted ‘zone’ for each task. When we design kitchens we design them with day to day use in mind, and most kitchens will usually have three clear zones; food preparation, cooking, and clearing up. Larger kitchens may also have spaces to socialise, entertain dinner guests, help children with homework or even catch up with your own work, so we frequently design kitchens with drinks, socialising, television and lounging zones, amongst others.


In creating zones we give purpose to the kitchen space, which creates design direction and ensures that the every aspect of the layout is maximised. The real key to zoning is working out how to position the different areas in relation to one another within the constraints of the room. For example a food preparation zone should always have easy access to the cooking zone so that transferring ingredients to a dish is easy and hassle free.

Below are two examples of past projects that demonstrate particularly good uses of kitchen zones, illustrating that whether your dream kitchen is classic or contemporary, efficient zones are always worth factoring into design.


The kitchen island is the dominant feature in this room; it constitutes the main food preparation zone, positioned within easy reach of the pantry within the dark grey cupboards on the right of the image and the cooking zone (hob and ovens behind the island). As part of the brief for this project was to create a space that was enjoyable to bake in, the pantry was designed to store all necessary baking ingredients and appliances only a few steps from the island which provides copious work space. This is a prime example of kitchen storage, preparation and cooking zones working in unison.

The clearing up area is situated on the far left of the main image. The sink benefits from views over the garden with the dishwasher located immediately next to it, which eliminates food and water spillages when clearing up. The dining table position was also factored into the zoning of the kitchen – the route between the clearing zone and dining area is uninhibited, making it hassle free to clear the table. In addition the fridge is with the pantry in the tall cupboards, making it easily accessible from the dining/seating area without infringing upon the busier parts of the kitchen such as the cooking zone.

To view more images of the Orford kitchen in order to further understand its layout please visit the Orford collection page.

By factoring into the design how our client envisaged using their kitchen we were able to create zones and a layout most effective for their specific brief. For example, the brief for this project was centred on forming a sociable kitchen for when our clients’ grown up children visit, therefore informal socialising and dining areas were required. A multifunctional island with breakfast bar provides a sociable space, and situating the cooking and food preparation areas on the far side of the island keeps the zones separate. In line with this. along the back wall and within a couple of steps of the hob is the sink area. This enables the homeowner to rinse vegetables at the sink then simply turn around and add them to the meal, and easily transfer used pots and pans to be rinsed after use, without having to intrude on the sociable zone.

Also factored into the design of the room are two further socialising spaces; a dining table for casual family meals, and a comfortable, informal sitting area consisting of two armchairs positioned underneath the vaulted ceiling. By locating these sociable areas on the other side of the room to the sink and prep/cooking areas it keeps all the potential mess and clutter away from where people are most likely to congregate.

To enhance the social areas, cabinets line the exterior wall to form a drinks zone. Incorporated into this area is a coffee machine, wine cooler and drinking tap as well as ample cupboard space for storing glassware. Away from the food prep and cooking zones, the drinks area is easily reached without getting in the way of the chef. Designing the kitchen to have related zones alongside one another means that the kitchen can be used for several different activities simultaneously – perfect for adult households like this one where the focus is on socialising. Other examples of our modern kitchen projects are available on our Modern collections page.


If you have a large kitchen and feel zoning would help make the most of your space, please contact usto begin the design process.

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