Whether you’re creating a new kitchen or organising your existing one, with everything stored in the right zone you’ll gain efficiency, save time and create a family friendly space. We spoke with Interior Architect and Howards Store Designer, Courtney Fletcher, on how zones maximise the efficiency of your kitchen.
To create the ideal kitchen workflow you need to…
Courtney explains that it helps to “understand the tasks you will be completing in the kitchen, what space you need for them and designate zones to each task. A functional kitchen will have a zone for prepping/cooking, cleaning, self-serve and pantry”.
“For example, your pantry should ideally be alongside or near to your fridge so that all food items are accessed from the one area, they’re easy to put it away when you bring your groceries home and just as easy to access when you’re preparing a meal. Likewise, in or near the prep zone you’re going to need a sink for rinsing off veggies or washing your hands between different food sources. Similarly your pots and pans should be located in the cooking zone so you can grab what you need quickly and easily”.
Zoning in the kitchen is important because…
“It helps to minimise accidents by not having to work on top of one another if there’s multiple people in the kitchen at once. They will also save you valuable time, will alleviate clutter and create enough space to get on with the task at hand. Think about how zones work with one another and how they can overlap in smaller spaces without compromising on function” explains Courtney.
Zoning makes the process of cooking easier because…
“It streamlines your workflow and creates a designated space for each function. This means that as you’re performing a task within a particular zone all you need should be within easy reach. The less distance you have to travel, the more time you save and the less chance there is for accidents to occur”.
Courtney’s tips to save time in your kitchen you should…
A. Allow ample space on either side of your cook top so you have room to put the food and tools you’re working with. Most accidents happen when carrying things from one area of the kitchen another so the more you can avoid moving around once you’re in the middle of a task the better.
B. Store plates and cutlery near the dishwasher to save time when unpacking a clean load.
C. If possible locate your garbage bins near to your preparation zone so that you can easily and efficiently clean as you go without carrying things across the kitchen. I like to use a pull out style located underneath the sink so that I can pull it out when needed for food prep or food scraps before stacking in the dishwasher then close it up when I’m finished and it gets hidden away behind the door. No mess, no fuss.
Courtney’s Top 3 interior designer tips for creating a highly functional kitchen are…
A. Use every inch of space you can. Double the amount of storage you think you need then double it again if you can. Utilise the space that usually collects dusts above wall cabinets by running your cabinets all the way to the ceiling. This will give you extra space and saves on cleaning.
B. Think about where you’re going to be using your major appliances and make sure you install power points where they will be, this helps to stop them from wandering across the kitchen counter and into other zones you need precious bench space for.
C. If you use your dishwasher quite regularly think about the flow of the space when the door is open too. Will it block traffic flow or make things inconvenient for others in the space?
Pantry cupboards or pantry drawers?
Drawers are a much more efficient use of space than shelving. Where possible I always try and include pull out pantry or drawer solutions. They eliminate the rifling around in the back of a shelf for a can of beans that you think you might have back there. Drawers allow you to pull the entire space out and see quickly what you do and don’t have. Saves on double ups when grocery shopping and saves on space.
Kitchen lighting is…
An integral part of kitchen design. You can have the best-designed kitchen in the world but if you can’t see what you’re doing you’ve already lost the battle. Identify the areas where you will be performing intensive tasks [prep zone] or dealing with heat sources [cooking zone] and make sure you place task lights above not behind these areas. Task lights above the area will help focus the light where you need it the most, if you place general lights in the centre of the space they will cast shadows and may impede your workflow.
Howards Top Organisation Solutions within each Zone:
Howards have lots of items to make cleaning up easier. It’s essential to have a good dish rack and bin. See online at www.hsw.com.au for an extensive range of both.
Like to know more?
Interested in more great organisers for your kitchen? See our full range online at hsw.com.au and also in-store. Store listing can be found at hsw.com.au.
© 2013 Howards Storage World Pty Ltd
Accurate as at December 2013.
Items and prices may change over time. Some stores may not stock all items however they can usually be ordered. We suggest that you check with your local store prior to visiting.