Kitchen Ergonomics

Top tips for kitchen layouts that work

Getting your kitchen layout right is the most important factor in ensuring a functional and practical kitchen area. Whether your kitchen is small and cramped or large and expansive, a clever layout will make all the difference in helping you to get the most out of the space.

More than any other room – in the kitchen, there is a lot more to layout than just placing furniture and cabinetry: ergonomics has a huge role to play as well. Getting the heights right, ensuring efficient movement, and locating appliances correctly are going to factor in you getting the most from the Heart of the Home.
The floorplan of your home will determine the type of layout options that your kitchen will have, however you need to optimise the area to work efficiently.

These are some kitchen layout tips to help you do just that.

Kitchen Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the study of how equipment and furniture can be arranged in order that people can do work or other activities more efficiently and comfortably. Kitchen ergonomics, the basis of great kitchen design

The Kitchen Work Triangle

The work triangle was devised in the 1920’s as one of the first measures of efficiency in a residential kitchen. The triangle creates a clear path between the area for food preparation (stove top), the cleaning area (kitchen sink) and the food storage area (refrigerator).

The 4 Principles of the Kitchen Work Triangle:

  1. The length of each triangle leg is between 1.2 and 2.7m 
  2. The combined length of the three legs should be between 4m and 7.9m
  3. There should not be any appliances or cabinetry intersecting any of the legs of the triangle
  4. There should not be any major traffic through the triangle

Good design always involves some degree of compromise, but to give you an idea of the best-case scenario.

Guidelines for Kitchen Efficiency and usability 

  • • Entry doors to the kitchen should be at least 812mm wide
  • An entry door should not interfere with the safe operation of any appliances, cabinet and appliance doors should not interfere with one another
  • Walkways should be at least 915mm wide
  • Seating should be a minimum of 610mm wide for each person
  • Allow a 460mm leg clearance at a table that is 760mm high; 380mm clearance at a kitchen counter ( and 305mm at a bar counter or island 
  • If there is only one sink, it should be located next to or across from the stovetop and fridge 
  • Kitchen Sinks should be flanked by a minimum 610mm landing area
  • The work surface of at least 760mm wide and 600mm deep should be next to the sink
  • Dishwashers should be within 1m of the sink
  • There should be a landing space of at least 380mm next to the handle side of the fridge or one no further than 1200mm opposite the fridge
  • The cooking surface should have minimum landing areas of 300mm on the one side and 380mm on the other side
  • There should be a minimum of 600mm between the cooking surface and the non-combustible surface above it
  • Provide a cooking ventilation system above all cooking surface appliances
  • Do not locate the cooking surface under a window and provide a fire extinguisher near the kitchen’s exit, away from cooking equipment
  • Microwave ovens should be placed based on the user’s requirements, with 75mm below shoulder height being ideal
  • Provide a landing area of at least 380mm above, below or next to the microwave oven
  • Provide a landing area of at least 380mm next to the oven or one no more than 1200mm opposite the oven
  • In addition to general lighting, each work surface should be well lit by appropriate task lighting.

Guidelines as recommended by the National Kitchen and Bath Association