Ergonomics Kitchen Design

A good ergonomics kitchen design must put physical, cognitive and organizational ergonomics into consideration. It is defined by the 'kitchen work triangle' and must also remember the ergonomics of good lighting.

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Whether you are designing a new kitchen or thinking of where to put your new refrigerator, here are some kitchen ergonomics principles to help you decide the best layout.

These principles do not vary much according to the size of your kitchen.

Ergonomics Kitchen Design

In Ergonomics Kitchen design, the interior designer must have a solid knowledge of ergonomics.

Most people think that ergonomics just refer to office ergonomics, but there are different types of ergonomics which can be applied to the home and in this case, the kitchen.

Physical Ergonomics is applied to kitchen design because it considers how the body interacts with the stove, the sink, the oven etc

Cognitive Ergonomics applied to kitchen design because it studies how the mind thinks and organizes workflows when using the kitchen. This way we cook and prepare food (and wash up later) is affected by the layout of the kitchen design.

Organizational Ergonomics is applied here where it is concerned with optimizing the workplace of the kitchen.

Familiar Scenarios in Ergonomics Kitchen Layout

Do you sometimes feel frustrated while cooking in your kitchen?

Do you have an area in the kitchen where you spill things more often than you should, or find yourself knocking or bumping into things?

Do you wish the sink was closer or that you did not have to walk around to the other side to get to the fridge?

Then, you know what I'm talking about. These things that you need can be solved by applying ergonomic principles to make us all more productive and efficient despite the kitchen size (too big or too small).

Kitchen Work Triangle

An efficient kitchen is said to have a good work triangle.

The goals of a good work triangle is to set up the kitchen in such a way that the three most common 'working areas' - the refrigerator, sink and stove - at the most efficient distance apart. Travelling distance between this areas are also minimized as much as possible.

From excerpt about.com

In the traditional kitchen the three main work sites are:
    1. Refrigerator - the cold storage work site

    2. Sink - the cleaning/preparation work site

    3. Stove - the cooking work site

These represent the three points of the kitchen work triangle. If you place these too far away from each other you waste a lot of steps while preparing a meal. If they are too close to each other you have a cramped kitchen with out any place to work.

Kitchen Work Triangle Basics

Each leg of the triangle should be between 4 and 9 feet

The total of all three legs should be between 12 and 26 feet

No obstructions (cabinets, islands, etc.) should intersect a leg of the work triangle

Household traffic should not flow through the work triangle

See more ergonomic kitchen design layouts.

Ergonomics Lighting for the Kitchen

General 300 lux

Counter top 750 lux

The most important lighting is ones under the kitchen cabinets where you prepare your food and when you are cooking.

When you are using a knife and chopping food, you'll need sufficient light all around, because you are in a potentially hazardous situation. A spotlight, a lamp is not enough.

When you are cooking, you need that extra burst of light above the stove. Sometimes when you are cooking with a low fire, it is almost translucent and you may leave the stove on overnight or burn yourself.

More Useful Kitchen Ergonomics Articles

Useful articles for ergonomics kitchen design.

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