Ergonomics of the Kitchen: What Should You Know

Below you will find concepts involved in designing the kitchen.

Choosing the layout of the main zones

Before delving into the numbers, let's decide how to arrange equipment and furniture so that it is convenient to move.

The first step is to select three main areas. They are different for each person. Someone goes along the chain refrigerator-microwave-sink, while someone needs a work area for preparing food, a stove, an oven, and a sink.

When developing the layout of the kitchen, we take into account how it will be used and which zones are important and which ones fade into the background.

the kitchen

It was invented in 1920 by German scientists. They decided to position the refrigerator, stove and sink at the apices of an equilateral triangle. It turned out that this layout saves the housewife's time and effort better than any other.

There are several ways to get a working triangle in the kitchen:

  • single row kitchen;
  • two-row kitchen;
  • kitchen in the form of the letter P;
  • kitchen in the form of the letter U;
  • island kitchen;
  • peninsular kitchen

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Ergonomics in numbers

Now that it is clear how to position the key zones, let's talk about heights, latitudes, and depths.


The correct counter top height is 15 cm below the bend of the elbow. This means that if you are taller than 165 cm, standard countertops 85-90 cm high will force you to bend over while cooking, and your back will become numb.


The optimal height for the oven is 10 cm below the shoulder. You do not need to bend over to check the dish and easily reach the baking sheet. Therefore, it makes sense to think about placing a separate oven and a separate hob.

To avoid running to the other end of the kitchen with a hot baking sheet in hand, place the beginning of the work surface next to the oven. As in a western: pulled it out, lowered it slowly without sudden movements, and no one was hurt.


When choosing a refrigerator, think about the ratio of refrigerator and freezer parts. It can be different: 60:40, 70:30, and 50:50.

Perhaps you will like the idea of purchasing a freezer separately and installing a compact refrigerator without it closer to the work area.

By the way, if you are in the habit of taking out all the food before cooking, the refrigerator is not your key area. This means that it is not necessary to fit it into the working triangle. You can even take it outside the kitchen.

If you are lucky and the kitchen area is really spacious, it makes sense to think about a kitchen island.

The easiest way is to use it as an additional work surface, because:

  • installing a stove or sink on the island will require an additional hood or water supply to it;
  • splashes of hot oil or soapy water will scatter through the kitchen.

But rolling out the dough or chopping vegetables on the kitchen island is very comfortable. Don't forget that this is also an extra storage space for your kitchen utensils.

The height of the island is the same as for any work surface - 15 cm from the bend of the elbow.

Module sizes


Let's divide the kitchen vertically into five zones:

  • the lowest one - the bottom drawers with heavy and rarely used items;
  • lower - at this level we store cutlery and various frequently used small items in drawers;
  • the middle is the apron zone, here we cook and try not to use it for keeping things;
  • the higher is the area at eye level, here we store dishes and frequently used utensils;
  • the highest is an area under the ceiling, where it is difficult to reach, for storing light, rarely used utensils.

To begin with, it is worth determining whether all five zones are really needed. Most of the time we use those where we can reach with our hand without standing on a chair or bending over. Something is stored under the ceiling and near the floor that is practically not used. Is it worth it to purchase a larger kitchen set?

Kitchen Cabinets

Speaking of volumes: most manufacturers adhere to the typical parameters of kitchen cabinets.

  • width 25-80 cm;
  • depth - 50-58 cm (upper - from 30);
  • the height of the lower modules - 85-90, upper - 45-100;
  • countertop depth - 60-90 cm.

We select our size based on habits and physical parameters.

The bottom of the top cabinet should be 5-10 cm below the shoulder. And the top ends at a height that you can reach without getting up on tiptoe.

Between the forehead and the closet - at least 25 cm. This is very important, just take my word for it.

When choosing the width of the lower cabinets, we think about what is more priority for us. For a narrow kitchen, it makes sense to order a 50 cm deep worktop and corresponding cabinets. The saved centimeters will visually expand the room.

But if you want to end the game of Tetris once and for all with the help of pots and pans, it makes sense to increase the depth of the cabinets, up to 80 cm.

Passage width

If you are setting up a kitchen island or using a two-row kitchen layout, be sure to consider the distance between large pieces of furniture.

Two people will need a whole 110-120 cm, so that you can easily separate without hitting each other.

Height differences

We are used to making the work area at one same height. So it is more convenient to clean and this solution looks more familiar.

But if you think about it, the hob should be 10 cm below the countertop - it's more convenient to cook this way. An ideal sink, on the other hand, is 10 cm higher than the countertop - then you can lean your elbows against its sides.

This idea seems strange, but now you will return to it many times.


If the kitchen has a dishwasher, the size of the sink can be sacrificed in favor of a work surface.

The most important thing is not to place the stove and sink closer than 60 cm from each other, so that splashes of water do not fly into the boiling oil.

If you want a watermelon to fit into the sink in hot summer, make it deep, 18-25 cm, and the mixer high.

Another little trick is to consider the width of the oven so that the baking sheet will fit into the sink entirely if needed.


Usually, the hood is hung 60-65 cm from the electric stove and 75 cm from the gas one. These are the minimum numbers, so do not forget to take into account your height and do not risk with your forehead.

A large powerful hood is needed if you cook a lot when you have everything on fire all the time. The lower the hood, the cleaner the air, but the louder the sound and the more grease in the bends of the corrugation.

In fact, in most cases, a compact hood with a charcoal filter is sufficient to fight odors. Moreover, it takes up much less space.

Useful little things

When choosing a kitchen set, don't forget to complement your favorite kitchen with a couple of handy tools like a blender. And yet, the most important thing is for the kitchen to be functional, beautiful, and cozy.