Ergonomics is engaged in the optimization of jobs in order to ensure maximum efficiency of labor. If taken broader, is responsible for convenience and comfort. An ergonomic kitchen should allow the owners to cook food with minimal time, not physically tired. And, of course, without the risk of injury. We have to take into account the technology of cooking, to understand the particular physiology and psychology of man. Universal ergonomics of the kitchen and the creation of an individual comfort environment for a specific person or the whole family is the topic of our article.
Universal and individual ergonomics ↑
There are generally accepted rules for designing furniture, with their help, you can create an environment in which any person will feel more or less
Ergonomic kitchen is comfortable, allows you to cook faster and not get tired
All in mind: a rational kitchen layout ↑
The basis of the ergonomic kitchen is a comfortable layout and placement of furniture, taking into account the technology of preparation
It does not matter in what configuration the furniture will be placed. In one line, L-shaped or letter P. The main thing is to observe the technologically determined sequence in the arrangement of equipment
As for the size of the zones: the more the better. A large fridge, a sink in two compartments with a “wing”, a preparation area (cutting) for products with a length of 90-120 cm and a full-sized stove are the perfect solution. Alas, in domestic conditions the size of the room limits the flight of imagination. The inhabitants of the “Khrushchev” do not have a choice: the fridge, provided the table is placed, often has to be carried out into the corridor or hallway, because there is simply no room for it in the 6-square-meter kitchen.
The functional layout of kitchen furniture must comply with the technology of cooking.
Options for arranging furniture and appliances in a standard kitchen of 12 m2
When planning a kitchen, it is necessary to take into account recommendations both on the height of individual furniture elements and on the width of aisles.
The optimal working area length ↑
We calculate what should be, in our opinion, a convenient length of the kitchen front. It will consist of the following elements:
- Standard fridge – 60 cm.
- Wash – 80 cm. Smaller (60 cm) will not be so convenient. The “trough” will take about 35-40 cm, and the remaining 20-25 cm for the “wing” will be too small. Wing wing is used not only for storing unwashed dishes, but also for the preliminary preparation of products. You should not have a sink close to the refrigerator, it is desirable to retreat at least 10 cm.
- The area of preparation (cutting) of products – from 90 cm.
- Standard size plate – 60 cm.
As a result, we scored 300 cm. This almost corresponds to the capabilities of modern apartments or “brezhnevok” of superior comfort, if the furniture is arranged in a L-shape. You can “tighten up” by reducing the width of the cutting zone, the distance from the plate to
One of the possible options for the distribution of elements of the working area of the kitchen. For those who cook at home a lot, we recommend making the product preparation area much wider than in the diagram. It is better to abandon a separate zone for additional household appliances, putting a kettle and coffee maker between the sink and stove. If necessary, the equipment can be rearranged, making room for “big” cooking.
The role of an additional or main place for cooking can be played by the “island”, if, of course, there is a place for it. The island should have the same height as the main working area. With sufficient dimensions, it is extremely convenient to cook on it, but when transferring products from the island to the sink or stove, something must fall or be spilled on the floor.
A kitchen island can simultaneously serve as a worktop, dining table and bar counter. Its height should be the same as that of the countertop.
If there is not enough space ↑
What should owners of small-sized apartments do, where there is a catastrophic shortage of space for high-grade kitchen furniture and equipment, and it does not work to improve redevelopment? We offer the following solutions:
- Place the refrigerator outside the kitchen: in the hallway or corridor. If there is, of course, a place for him. This will allow you to install a full sized stove and sink, there will be enough space for preparation and cutting and a kitchen table for two or three people. True, in a large family, the hostess, who is actively engaged in cooking, may, in time, regret their choice, making their way with the pots along a narrow corridor past the husband, children and dogs to the refrigerator.
Arrangement of furniture in a tiny apartment is always a search for a compromise. In this case, when planning the kitchen, they “donated” a wardrobe in the hallway, placing a refrigerator there. This allowed at least a little to expand the working surface of the kitchen and put the dining table not for two, but for three people.
- Use the kitchen table for a large
The room is small, there was not enough space for a full-fledged dinner table. Instead, a semi-bar table was installed, which is a continuation of the table top.
For a table that is identical in height to the tabletop, neither the usual low nor the bar stools too high will work. We’ll have to pick up a chair of intermediate height – they are on sale, but in a smaller range. Bar stools with a height-adjustable seat will do.
- "Bachelor kitchen" implies freer planning and distribution of work area elements. Usually, there are one or two people at a time at the same time; in the process of cooking, numerous households do not scurry around. In the “bachelor kitchen” you can generally donate a standard dining table in favor of a stylish bar counter, which will serve as an additional working area. A table or a desk-stand can be installed under the window, this will free up the center of the small-sized kitchen.
Table-sill allows you to have a normal breakfast, but almost does not take place
- Transformable furniture will help to get more functionality in a small area. In addition to the sliding tables, there are sliding and folding.
In this small and very narrow kitchen, only a retractable dining table is placed, which, after eating, is completely hidden under the worktop.
Inside the table-transformer (length varies from 20 to 150 cm) a full set of folding chairs fits
Folding table in the folded state does not occupy space in the room at all.
Many kitchen manufacturers offer retractable chopping boards.
There is not enough space for large cooking – increase the working surface of the kitchen, putting forward an additional chopping board
- Drawers can also be built into the base, putting infrequently used things there.
Usually unused storage capacity for utensils is a base, where drawers can also be embedded. They should be deepened relative to the main facade of the kitchen by 6-10 cm
How tall should the tabletop be ↑
Optimum worktop height ↑
Wrong choice of the height of the table top is fraught with overstrain of the back muscles and, as a result, excessive fatigue and constant back pain. The height of the working surface of the kitchen should be determined individually, in accordance with the growth of the owners of the apartment or house.
In accordance with the domestic standards, which are still producing typical furniture, the height of the kitchen countertops should be 85 cm. But the GOST was developed in the 60s of the last century, when the average height of Soviet women was 157 cm. Today’s ladies have grown up 10 cm, and the younger generation continues to pull even higher. Nowadays, men, whose average growth is 175 cm, are not averse to cooking. Low "grandmother’s" kitchen is no longer suitable for most contemporaries.
When determining the convenient height of the kitchen working surface, it is necessary to take into account differences in people’s height.
Fortunately, the architecture of modern kitchen modular furniture makes it possible to set the working surface of the kitchen at a comfortable height for a particular family. Most European manufacturers make lockers of the lower tier with a height of 72 cm. Tabletop thickness is 3-4 cm. The height of the working area is set by proper selection of supports, the height of which varies from 10 to 18 cm. At the same time, the supports have an adjustable design that allows you to increase the height 2 cm. We get the minimum height of 85 and the maximum height of 96 cm with the ability to set any value within these parameters.
Standard legs for kitchen furniture have an adjustment range of 2 cm
How to choose the height of the kitchen counter for a particular person? We recommend to make a simple anthropometric measurement. Standing, bend the arm at the elbow at a right angle. The shoulder is vertical, the forearm is strictly horizontal. Open palm and send it down. Measure the distance from the floor to the palm. Take away from the resulting value of 10-15 cm. This will be the height range of the kitchen worktop, on which this person will be comfortable to cook.
The ergonomic height of the working surface is better determined not so much by height as by distance from the floor to the elbow. The optimum is in the range of 10-15 cm below the elbow bend
Above the tabletop – more space for utensils ↑
Not enough storage space for kitchen utensils? With a high tabletop, extra space can be found by making lower cabinets above the standard size. For example, with a work area height of 94 cm and a tabletop 4 cm, you can install low 10-centimeter legs. There remains 80 cm, which is 8 cm more than the standard value. If the furniture is not typical, but is made to order, it is easy to make cabinets of increased height and this will slightly affect their value. The only restriction is that you cannot use standard panel doors with atypical cabinets. It must be remembered that the base should fall about 8 cm relative to the front in order not to rest on it with its feet.
Rough work surface ↑
When determining the height of the working surface can be faced with two problems:
- The working surface, the height of which is best suited for cutting and washing dishes, will be inconvenient to manipulate the pan on the built-in plate. Especially if the cooking surface is gas. Taking into account the height of the pan and the grill above the burner (6-10 cm in total), the home cook will have to raise his elbow too high to stir and turn the contents. If you cook in this way often, you may experience pain in your arm and spine. Exit – lower by about 8 cm the level of the table top in the zone where the hob is located. Or install standing alone plate at the appropriate height. Unfortunately, such a solution is possible only on condition of a sufficiently spacious kitchen.
From the point of view of ergonomics, it is correct when the section of the tabletop with the built-in cooking surface is located below the main working area. This solution can only be implemented in a large kitchen with a long front.
- It will not be possible to find the ideally convenient height of the table top, suitable for all family members who are fond of cooking, if they are markedly different in height. We’ll have to compromise, resulting in low people will be tall, and high –
It is difficult (it is possible, but, again, expensive) to make the contiguity of the height-adjustable worktop against the wall tightly connected, therefore kitchen “islands” are more often installed on supports with lifting mechanisms. For built-in gas stoves and sinks, special flexible connections are produced.
The working surface adjustable in height with the help of servo drives is no longer a wonder, such mechanisms are sold in Russia
The worktop convertible in height is also good because it is equally convenient to study baking recipes on it (you need to raise the table higher), knead the dough (set in the middle position) and roll it out with a rolling pin (lower below)
Ergonomics lower cabinets ↑
A few recommendations on how to make the lower cabinets ergonomic:
- To store relatively small things, it is more convenient to use not the shelves, but drawers – you do not have to go down on all fours to remove things from far corners. On the shelves, it makes sense to store large kitchen appliances, such as aerogrill, and, possibly, heavy stacks of plates. The more often objects are used, the higher they should be placed.
It is more convenient to store small things in drawers. Bulk products placed in transparent containers will take up less space and will be easily accessible.
Pots-pans too practical to place in the drawers
- Bottles and things similar in size are most conveniently stored in a narrow pull-out basket close to the plate.
In a narrow pull-out basket, bottles and tall cans are always on hand.
- It is desirable that the width of the door of the hinged cabinet, especially located under the sink, was not less than 40 cm. Otherwise, it would be inconvenient to get something, especially difficult to maintain the sink drain. The width of the cabinet (and door) under the sink with the filter under it should not be less than 60 cm.
The wider the door in the cabinet under the sink, the easier it is to maintain the equipment installed in it
- Forward-looking fashionable minimalist furniture handles look spectacular, but on the lower cabinets they are not very convenient, especially in the cutting and washing area. An adult during cooking will rest his hips on their edges, and a naughty child can get a bump on his forehead.
Handles-rails are extraordinarily beautiful, but they will abut the hostess in the stomach and thighs while washing dishes. A child who plays can knock his head on the edge of such a pen.
Hidden kitchen handles, which are horizontal slits in the doors, are safety
Modern solutions for the upper cabinets ↑
The standard distance at which it was recommended to place the upper cabinets above the table top is 50 cm. However, today, for many, a half-meter clearance seems to be insufficient and the cabinets are hung higher, 60-65 cm from the working surface. Undoubtedly, it is more convenient, especially when the following equipment is on the worktop: an electric kettle, a food processor and
Hinged doors of top cabinets with standard hinges that open at an angle of 90º or slightly more are potentially dangerous. Inspired by the process of cooking, it is easy not to notice the open door and knock on its corner, getting a bump or, even worse, a fingal under the eye. Safe if used correctly, hinged doors, equipped with full opening hinges, allowing to open the door at an angle of up to 180º. The fully open door does not stick forward, it is parallel to the front. True, it overlaps adjacent cabinets, so it is impossible to open nearby doors. However, the need for this occurs infrequently. Our advice: if the upper cabinets provide for opening doors to the side, at least it is necessary to equip with special hinges for drying – they use it most often.
A special hinge allows you to open the door at an angle of 180º, so that it is located parallel to the cabinets, and does not stick out perpendicular to the furniture front
Another safe way to open the door – up. They can swing open or move. Slidables almost do not protrude relative to the plane of the facades; it is impossible to knock on them. Swing should be positioned so that they are above the head of the home cook.
Upper cabinets equipped with hinged doors (1) are potentially traumatic. It is also possible to fill the knob on the swing door (2) that opens upwards, if it is located below the crown. Sliding (3), folding (4) and folding (5) opening doors are safe
If the height of the upper cabinets exceeds 60 cm, it is better to make the door opening upwards foldable. The disadvantage of the door opening upwards: in order to close it, you have to drag high behind the handle, which is inconvenient for a short person.
Folding upward doors of the upper cabinets are the most practical and safe type of opening. If you do not spare the money and order a mechanism with an electric drive, the cabinet can be made arbitrarily high, because we close and open it by simply pressing the button
Height of upper cabinets ↑
Top cabinets of three sizes are distributed:
- Low cabinet – 60 cm.
- Standard – 72 cm, which is equal to the height of the lower cabinets.
- High – 92 cm.
Many manufacturers offer cabinets and other dimensions. In the manufacture of furniture on an individual order house with high ceilings, you can make the upper cabinets even higher. However, if heavy dishes are stored in them, it is more rational to hang two rows of lockers. So safer. The bottom row of cabinets with the doors opening upwards must be of such a height that a person can easily reach the handle.
Nomenclature of common standard doors to cabinets. If there is space, it makes sense to use the upper cabinets 92 cm high.
Happy owners of apartments with high ceilings can hang the top cabinets in two rows
Open shelves against cabinets ↑
From the point of view of ergonomics, the cook while cooking all that is necessary should be at hand. The list of necessary tools, dishes and ingredients for cooking can be great. Some spices, packaged in small jars, can get a dozen. Salt, pepper, chopping board, all kinds of paddles, scrapers, tea and coffee are needed with almost every cooking and eating, if the owners do not eat frozen junk food warmed in the microwave. Several times a day, getting it all out of the closed cabinet and hiding it back is a dubious pleasure. In our opinion, it is much more convenient to keep frequently used utensils on the open shelves. Everything is in front of the eyes, and even if the thing is not put in its place, it is easy to find.
Open shelves, roof rails and hooks provide quick and easy access to frequently used items.
Adherents of the refined minimalist style in the interior will, after each washing of dishes, wipe dry the sink and hide the detergent, sponge and napkins in the closet, not to mention other things. But for most people it will be more comfortable to use open shelves and shelves for small items. Two reasons interfere with the wider distribution of the “open top”. First: the contents of the shelves will have to keep in order and periodically wipe. However, infrequently, provided that a good hood is installed in the room. The second reason: the lack of tradition, "Soviet" kitchens were equipped with deaf lockers.
In the kitchen of famous designer Artemy Lebedev there are no closed cupboards on top, only open shelves
Sink and bin: practical upgrade ↑
We advise you to choose a sink with a large bowl so that the largest saucepan in the house can be freely placed there.
The dimensions of the sink should allow you to wash the largest dishes available in your home.
The side “wing” and the second, small bowl are very convenient. If there is enough space for them.
The side wing will serve as an additional cutting surface. Additional bowl – optional, but convenient equipment
If you have a water filtration system, you should make sure that the sink allows you to install a second tap for purified water, if you do not want to purchase an expensive mixer with a switch. It is inconvenient to wash large-sized dishes under a tap with a low spout, and sprays fly away from the high mixer when washing small dishes. The optimal, but not cheap option – a mixer with pull-out spout.
Pull-out spout on the kitchen faucet not only makes washing dishes more comfortable, but also reduces water consumption
We recommend to buy a sink with a bottom valve that allows you to block the drain by turning the handle. The valve is more convenient than the plug, and due to the increase in the cost of housing and communal services, it is more economical to wash the dishes before soaking. Yes, and faster.
Trash bucket is usually stored under our sink. Opened the door of the lower cabinet, got a bucket, threw garbage, closed. It will be easier if the bucket is hung on the door – less movement.
Inexpensive, but convenient trash bin mounted on the cabinet door. Open the door – the bucket lid rises, close – falls. No smell
The best placement option "trash" – built, under the working surface. A hole is made in the tabletop, a container for garbage is placed under it. The hole and the container is closed with a flat lid. You can purchase a sink with a built-in trash can, it is even more convenient. The presence of a shredder on the sewage drainage will significantly reduce the volume of waste and almost eliminate the “flavor” of the waste. Alas, advanced garbage collection and disposal systems are not cheap.
The most convenient "trashcan" – built into the tabletop. Removed easily – up.
Convenient and safe placement of equipment ↑
We told about the arrangement of the main elements of the equipment on the floor plan. A few tips for choosing and placing kitchen appliances:
- If the kitchen front has an L-shaped configuration, household appliances located on the worktop (microwave, electric kettle, coffee maker), it is more rational to put in the inner corner, which is difficult to use for cooking.
- A very convenient solution is to place the oven in a high column cabinet at a height of 65-80 cm from the floor. Watching the cooking process, loading and unloading trays without bending is much more convenient. Unfortunately, in a small room is difficult to find a place for the "column".
Using the oven, installed in a high cabinet at a height of 65-80 cm, is much more convenient than under the worktop in the standard version
- The traditional chimney type hood does a good job of removing the kitchen fumes, but it comes forward dangerously. You can fill a lump, trying to look into the pot. The same drawback also affects exhaust devices built into furniture. But the inclined hood is absolutely safe, it does not stick over the stove at head level. By the way, the minimum height of the suspension above the electric stove is 65 cm, above the gas one – 75 cm.
Ergonomic oblique hood removes kitchen chad as well as traditional “caps”, but almost does not protrude above the stove
- The process of cooking or heating food in a microwave oven is easier to control when its transparent door is installed slightly (about 20 cm) below eye level. The best places for the microwave are in the “column” above the oven or on the lower shelf of the upper cabinet. And the owners of close Khrushchev can find a place for the stove on the windowsill.
It is desirable to place the microwave so that, while standing, you can see the process of cooking through a glass window.
Dining tables and chairs for the dining area ↑
In Soviet times, the dinner table had to have a height of 70 cm, this corresponded to the physical characteristics of a person of the 60s. And today, many enterprises produce furniture according to these standards. But for people taller than 160 cm, such a height is too small. Today, dining tables in the EU mainly have a height of 72-76 cm, and in the US already 74-78 cm. Various furniture can be found on the domestic market.
In the private kitchen you can find two more types of tables: a semi bar and a bar. We have already mentioned the first one, it is made to the level with a table top (85-95 cm) and used both for eating and as an additional working area. The high bar (as in public bars) has a height of 120-125 cm, but at home it can be a little lower.
The width of one person sitting at the table, it is recommended to allocate a space of 60 cm. Accordingly, for two people – 120 cm. Less than 50 cm per person makes no sense, is too crowded. The recommended minimum depth of the table, on both sides of which people sit is 80 cm.
Recommended dining table dimensions
Chairs must be selected according to the table. Provided that the thickness of the table top together with the stiffener does not exceed 10 cm, the seat of the chair should be about 30-35 cm below the top of the table for a standard dining table, 28-33 cm for a semi-bar and 23-27 cm for a bar table. A chair for a high bar counter must have a leg support bar.
Recommendations for choosing a chair for various types of kitchen islands and bar counters
Height-adjustable dining and bar stools are easy to set to a comfortable position for a particular person and table type.
A look into a bright future: lighting and sockets ↑
Light does not happen much. In addition to the general lighting of the kitchen, you need a bright illumination of the working area and good lighting above the dining table.
Moderate general light and bright illumination of the working area is the key to comfortable work and keeping your home cook’s view.
Sockets: how many them make, all the same is not enough. We recommend counting the number of electrical appliances that you plan to install in the kitchen and make a couple more outlets. You should also not forget about the TV and the telephone handset, if they are planned in the kitchen. Putting the TV on the fridge, as is often done, is not worth it: you can roll your neck, looking at it from the chair. Televisions are now flat, better hang on the wall or place on the table.
Recommended layout of outlets in the kitchen. Sockets of equipment located on the tabletop – above the zones for cooking and cutting. Sockets for built-in equipment should be done in the sink cabinet or in the base, so they will be accessible
Once again about safety: how to protect children from injury ↑
We have already mentioned safety, an integral part of ergonomics. If there are small children in the house, care should be taken to ensure that the little ones are not injured. If possible, avoid sharp corners when designing or selecting
A soft overlay on the corner of the table will save the naughty child from injury
We should not forget that children are curious and will surely climb where they are not allowed:
The “children’s” pad on the doors (on the left) will not allow the child to enter the “secret” locker, and the stopper-brake (on the right) will not allow a finger to be pinched by the door
Do not leave accessible electrical wires; insert blocking plugs in low-lying sockets
Special protective screens for cookers that prevent a child from getting to hot pots are not sold in every store, but parents should look for this useful thing. Magnetic lock on the fridge (right) is also useful.
Many models of modern household appliances are equipped with the inclusion lock function, in which children can press buttons and twist the knobs — nothing will happen.
We hope our recommendations will be useful to you. Within the framework of the article, many questions on ergonomics and kitchen organization remained unaffected. We recommend at the design stage of furniture to seek advice from experts. An experienced furniture or interior designer will be able to suggest a lot of useful things and save you from mistakes. Good luck.