The arrangement of counters in a Kitchen will vary according to the size and shape of space available for the Kitchen. It is important to keep the basic work area compact even if the kitchen is large so that it is easy for a person to access all the work centres. The relative location of Work Centres should permit a continuity of Kitchen activities such as:
- Gathering material needed for the preparation of food from the Storage spaces.
- Cleaning and Mixing for the initial preparation of food.
- Storing the prepared food for serving later, at meal time.
- Cleaning up.
If this continuity is interrupted by doors or with unnecessary appliances, thus forcing the person to take extra steps every time this gap is crossed, then the convenience and working efficiency are reduced.There are different arrangements for Kitchens. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. They are discussed here:
"U" ARRANGEMENT- This is the best arrangement because:
- This affords the most compact work area.
- This has a continuous worktop.
- Wasteful circulation is reduced.
- This allows for maximum storage space, both below and above the counter.
- It is the most efficient plan.
However, it is not always possible to get 3 walls for having the U shaped counter, because generally a kitchen has 2 doors and at least one of the 3 walls will have a door. However, even if it is a shortened U-arrangement, it is still preferrable to any other shape.
"L" ARRANGEMENT - This is ideally suited where space along 2 walls is sufficiently long enough to accomodate all the necessary work centres. It has the following advantages:
- This arrangement allows the work area to be concenterated in one corner, thus reducing travel.
- It allows for unobstructed overhead storage since the windows and doors can be located in the other 2 walls.
- However, this arrangement has the disadvantage of necessitating longer trips to the ends of the "L".
"CORRIDOR" OR "SINGLE LINE" ARRANGEMENT - This arrangement is acceptable when doors are necessary at each end of the Kitchen. It has the following advantages:
- Since the parallel counters along the corridor are close to each other, it is easy to access the work areas.
- However, the length of the corridor may necessitate longer trips to the ends.
A minimum working space should be provided around each Work Centre to enable efficient working. Overlapping of these spaces is permissible if work at adjacent work centres is not being carried out simultaneously. The 'critical dimensions' given here are based on research.
- The Sink - 2'8" on one side preferably the right side, because it is easier to wash utensils, vegetables etc and place them on the right side..
- The Mix - 2'4" is the minimum required for the initial preparation of the food.
- The Stove - 1'9" on either side to allow for some room for cooking.
- The Serve - 3'0" for keeping the cooked food. This space can also be used as a breakfast counter.
- The Refrigerator - 1'3" on the opening side to enable you to take out and put stuff into the refrigerator without much discomfort.
- The Oven or Microwave - 1'0" on the opening side to allow you to put and remove food without any difficulty.
MINIMUM CLEARANCES - The minimum clearances required for a person in a Kitchen are:
- 2'3" in front of the counter.
- 3'6" between 2 counters on opposite walls, but a minimum of 4'0" is needed between 2 opposite counters if 2 people are working in the Kitchen at the same time.
- 3'2" in front of a cooking range (with oven) to allow you to bend and put in something.
- 3'0" in front of a refrigerator to enable you to bend and take out stuff.
- 3'0" in front of the base cabinets, below the counter to allow you to bend and reach for something.
- 3'2" in front of the drawer to enable you to pull out the drawer.
- 3'6" in front of a front-opening dish washer.
MINIMUM SIZES OF WORK CENTRES:
Sink- The Minimum width of a sink varies from 1'3" to 1'8" depending on the occupancy (number of persons staying in the dwelling).
Refrigerator - 2'2" for a 2 person dwelling and 2'8" for more number of persons.
MINIMUM SIZES OF KITCHENS:The Minimum size of a Kitchen with a Refrigerator, a Stove (cooking range), a Sink, and basic minimum counter space for Mix and Serve for different occupancy dwellings is listed below:
- ONE BEDROOM UNIT -
- 10'0" x 5'6" in a Corridor arrangement where the counter runs along one long wall.
- 8'0" x 6'0" in a Corridor arrangement with counters on either side of the corridor.
- 7'6" x 6'0" with a 'L' shaped arrangement in the Kitchen.
- TWO BEDROOM UNIT OR THREE BEDROOM UNIT -
- 9'6" x 7'0" with a "L" shaped arrangement in the Kitchen.
- 9'6" x 8'6" with a "U" shaped arrangement in the Kitchen.
- FOUR BEDROOM UNIT -
- 11'0" x 7'0" with a "L" shaped arrangement in the Kitchen.
- 1'0" x 9'0" with a "U" shaped arrangement in the Kitchen.
The Kitchen is not a specialized room but has many uses. It is a space used for preparing meals, storage of food and utensils, eating, child care, entertaining etc. It is the most used space in a house and hence it should have a pleasant, attractive and cheerful atmosphere. It should also be well lit and well ventilated. The windows of the Kitchen should allow in sunlight which can kill the germs that thrive on kitchen counters and floors and also dry it up. The windows should also allow fresh air into the kitchen while the kitchen fumes and food odours are removed by an exhaust. For this, it is advisable to consider the orientation of the kitchen with respect to the sunlight and wind direction. To get some tips on the best location for a Kitchen, go to: