Guide to the kitchen's 5 work zones.

A lot has happened since we invented the Sociable Kitchen® in 1999. The way we use our kitchens has changed and today we live even more of our lives there - not only cooking and eating, but entertaining and working and doing homework and playing and dancing (we could go on). But what hasn't changed are some of the principles behind how a kitchen should be laid out for optimal use.

A great kitchen should not just have a great design. It must be useful as well - easy to clean, durable and functional. Here we give you ideas and inspiration for setting your kitchen up in the best way to accommodate your everyday life

Maybe you have heard of the kitchen's "work triangle" - stove, refrigerator, sink? In the past, it served as a good starting point for laying out most kitchens. Today, the oven and stovetop are typically separated, and we have far more large and small appliances.

Many people want a dining area as part of their kitchen. And more and more want the kitchen to be an extension of their living space and become the space where we spend the vast majority of our daily lives at home.

Insight from 500 families

Our advice and recommendations for arranging your kitchen are based on many years of experience and the thousands of kitchens we have sold. In addition, we did a comprehensive study of no less than 500 families that gave us a great deal of insight into how people actually live their everyday lives in the kitchen - how they move, what appliances they use and when, as well as how they spend time together.

Our research tells us that we open and close the refrigerator on average 36 times a day. By comparison, we open the oven only 4-5 times a week.

What do you need to know -- the 5 work zones in a kitchen

Our research suggests that there are five closely connected work zones, which are defined by the location of the various kitchen elements. How the zones are located in relation to each other is of great importance for how efficiently you and your family can move and work in the kitchen.

Waste system

Instead of having the rubbish bin under the sink, we recommend a smart sorting system located between the cleaning zone and the preparation zone. That way, two people in the kitchen can work in the two zones at the same time and use the trash can without standing in one another's way. 

Laying out a small kitchen

Laying out a small kitchen can be an act of compromise, but it's about getting the most out of your options. It's not always possible to integrate all the work zones. With the right solutions you can even get plenty of storage space in top and bottom cabinets.

3 good tips for the small kitchen:

  • Choose XXL, and get more storage space in the cabinets without taking up much more floor space
  • Build to the ceiling and make the most of the space
  • Focus on the design of the cabinets so that you have room for the essentials
Get more from our small kitchen design guide

Laying out a large kitchen

You need to consider the layout as carefully when you have a large kitchen as you do with a small one. 

3 tips for a large kitchen:

  • Think about work zones to avoid long distances and unnecessary movements
  • Choose drawers instead of shelves tucked behind doors for the things you use on a daily basis, they provide easier access and a better overview
  • Be sure to save room for additional installations such as a Quooker or extra waste sorting bins.
Explore our kitchen designs

Compromises may be necessary!

Laying out your kitchen 100% according to the principles of the five work zones is not always possible. It depends on the size and shape of the room, placement of windows and doors, placement of plumbing and electrical outlets, as well as how the kitchen should be integrated with the other rooms of the house. So be prepared to compromise.

Our kitchen experts are here to help you make the most of the space in your kitchen.