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Short distance oriented planning: Ergonomically optimal arrangement of kitchen areas

Ergonomically Optimal Arrangement Of Kitchen Areas

How should you plan your kitchen so that the distances to work can be shortened and thus the work processes could be fastened? A sensible kitchen should be divided into different work areas or kitchen zones to ensure more comfort when working in the kitchen. In the rest of this article, we will show you how the individual functional areas, a total of 5 kitchen zones, can be optimally arranged. You can better understand the arrangement using ergonomic example plans.


You know your individual needs and usage habits and have communicated them to your kitchen specialist. Your new fitted kitchen now can be individually tailored to you.

kitchen cabinets video meeting

The work processes can be optimized if you think of the five kitchen zones and proceed systematically here.

The five kitchen zones are:

  • “Food storage” kitchen zone 
  • “Utensil storage” kitchen zone 
  • “Sink” kitchen zone 
  • “Preparation” kitchen zone
  • “Cooking and baking” kitchen zone 

Just go zone by zone because structured kitchen planning is the only way to shorten the paths between two kitchen zones and save time.


kitchen divisions of the working areas

Zone 1: “Food storage” kitchen zone

The kitchen area where food is stored should be planned with enough space and well-prepared to enable the kitchen users to easily get groceries and kitchen utensils—no wonder the refrigerator is also assigned to this kitchen zone.

How much food storage space should be planned here depends on individual requirements or factors such as the size of the household.

TIP: For optimal ergonomic storage, you should think of practical storage cupboards such as the apothecary cupboard or the SPACE TOWER.

Zone 2: “Utensil storage” kitchen zone

You can store glasses, crockery, and cutlery in the kitchen utensil storage area. The cupboards should be equipped with sufficiently large full extensions for frequently used tableware in ergonomics.

TIP: It is convenient if the dishwasher is not far from the dishes, making loading and unloading much more accessible.

Zone 3: “Sink” kitchen zone

In a well-planned kitchen, the sink is near the preparing zone. Wherever the food is prepared, cleanliness and hygiene are essential. Therefore, the dishwasher also belongs in the “sink” kitchen zone.

To maintain hygiene when rinsing or cleaning, you should think of a drawer for storing washing-up utensils right below the built-in sink when planning the kitchen.

TIP: Practical and well-thought-out waste sorting systems in the sink cabinet improve hygiene in the kitchen.

Zone 4: “Preparation” kitchen zone

Regardless of chopping boards, knives, or groceries such as flour, oil, and spices, everything needed for preparing food is stored in the “Preparation” zone. This zone represents the main work surface of the kitchen. Accordingly, it should be generously planned.

Ideally, the “preparation” kitchen zone should be planned between the cooking area and the washing-up area, guaranteeing short distances for the work process. Moreover, a workplace with a seat in the kitchen protects your back.

TIP: For sufficient room to move and storage options, plan the work surface to be at least 90 cm wide.

Zone 5: “Cooking and baking” kitchen zone

The cooking area is ideally placed right next to the preparation zone. Cooking utensils such as pots, pans, casserole dishes, and other baking accessories would find their places within the cooking zone.

A narrow base cabinet can also be placed next to the stove, so spices or the baking trays are always at hand.

TIP: Wide base cabinets and tall equipment cabinets with pull-outs provide sufficient storage space.


The arrangement of kitchen cabinets is best made according to the stages of work. For this purpose, the storage, rinsing, preparation, and cooking zones ought to be arranged clockwise for right-handed users and in the opposite direction for left-handed users.

The work triangle in kitchen planning

The five kitchen zones (functional areas) can be implemented in all kitchen shapes and sizes. Only the appropriate connections must be available. The distances between the zones mustn’t be too long. At the same time, there should still be enough room to move.

Planning an L-shaped kitchen

In particular, short distances between the three main areas in the kitchen are essential. This is the only way to work ergonomically in the work triangle.

The kitchen triangle consists of the following areas, the three main areas of the kitchen:

  • “Food storage” kitchen zone 
  • “Sink” kitchen zone 
  • “Cooking and baking” kitchen zone 

The distances among the three areas should not be more than 1.50 m. And the total distance between all points does not exceed 7 m.

However, the work areas are not equivalent. The refrigerator is used far less frequently in the kitchen work process than the stove and sink.

IMPORTANT: The sink area is of the utmost importance in ergonomic kitchen planning. The kitchen users do the dishes here, but they also prepare meals and dispose of any rubbish.

Plan the sink and stove close together to ensure a sensible workflow. However, the distance between the work centers should not be too short. There must be room for movement on the work surface between two work centers. The work surface between the sink and stove is used for preparation and should therefore be at least 90 cm, even in small kitchens.

good ergonomics in the kitchen

The triangle of paths is considered optimal for all kitchen floor plans, as it promotes a fluid workflow. Ergonomics in the so-called “magic triangle” is impossible in the kitchen unit alone. But in this case, a clear structure ensures comfort and cooking pleasure.


When planning the kitchen, please pay attention to the individual zones “Food storage” (grey), “Utensil storage” (orange), “Sink” (blue), “Preparation” (yellow), and “Cooking/Baking” (red). If they are correctly arranged, smooth work processes in the kitchen are possible and completely independent of the respective zones.

kitchen divisions of the working areas

Even if selecting the kitchen fronts and deciding on kitchen style are interesting, a structured arrangement of the kitchen areas would also bring much more pleasure, comfort, and convenience to your everyday kitchen life.

kitchen cabinets measurement

TIP: When purchasing a display kitchen, please check whether the individual zones are arranged so that you can work without disturbance.

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