In the Zone

Kitchen zones are a tried-and-true method that allows homeowners to create their ideal cooking space. 

By Maya Brenningmeyer

Photography courtesy of Gegg Design & Company. 


When designing your kitchen, it can be difficult to determine how to optimize the space. The placement of pots, pans, utensils and pantry items can greatly affect your at-home cooking experience. Splitting your kitchen into designated work zones helps bypass some of the common frustrations faced by home cooks and can make clean-up even easier.

The Five Kitchen Zones

Splitting your kitchen into five zones is considered the most convenient route for families and modern homeowners. These five zones include: consumables, preparation, non-consumables, cooking and cleaning. Some zones are self-explanatory, the cooking zone includes the oven and cooking appliances while the cleaning zone includes the sink and dishwasher. Non-consumables cover items from utensils, plates, bowls and glassware and consumables encompass everything considered edible. Finally, preparation includes the surfaces you use to prepare meals and store the utensils you cook with.

Once you’ve organized your kitchen items to accommodate the five zones, you can map out your kitchen in the most efficient and convenient way. For example, in your preparation zone, you’ll want to ensure you have plenty of work space but also that you have all the tools you’ll need at hand. Maybe the cabinet above the work space holds the spices you use most often or the drawers directly underneath hold your cutting boards, mixing bowls and knives. Another example of this would be the placement of the cleaning zone to your preparation zone. Since preparation may include washing fruits or vegetables, it’s helpful to place it near your cleaning zone that includes the sink.

The Kitchen Triangle

An older method of organization is the kitchen triangle. This organizational tool was used when kitchens were much smaller and mainly consisted of a sink, fridge and stove. While technology has advanced and expanded past these three staple appliances, the kitchen triangle is great for those working with small kitchens. The triangle is made of imaginary lines connecting your stove, sink and fridge. Each length of the triangle should only measure between four and nine feet and the sum of all three sides should be no more than 26 feet. It’s also important that no heavy traffic is moving through the triangle. This means that eating areas and dry food storage would remain outside of the lines to ensure the least amount of interruptions to the cooking flow.

Overall, kitchen zones are a great starting point for anyone looking to organize their kitchen or redesign their space. Being highly customizable, you can add or subtract zones based on what works best for your lifestyle and kitchen size. With an unlimited amount of organizational opportunity, it’s easier than ever to create your dream kitchen.