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Aug 01 2018

Ergonomic kitchens – the model for success

In kitchen planning today, ergonomics, functionality and design are brought together and customised to avoid back problems and joint pain. Intelligently planned workflows save time and space.

Kitchens today are individually planned and tailored in line with their users’ needs. There is a variety of different ways in which the height of work surfaces can be adjusted to users’ physical proportions: the crucial factor is the dimensions of the person who does most of the work in the kitchen. Adjustable bases can also be integrated to adapt the height of the unit for adults or children, or for working sitting down.

Optimal work surface height for ergonomic kitchens

For an adult of an average size, work surfaces at a standard height of 72 centimetres are suitable for preparing meals. This will help to avoid back pain when chopping vegetables or kneading dough. There is also the option to adapt worktops and cupboards optimally to the kitchen user to make working in the kitchen a relaxing experience.

Optimal work surface height is the measure of all things when it comes to ergonomic kitchen planning. In the ideal scenario, the three key areas of work – preparation, cooking and washing-up – would each have different heights: a worktop should be roughly 15 centimetres below the height of the user’s elbow.

A distance of around 20 centimetres is recommended for the cooker, and the base should be roughly 10 centimetres below elbow height for washing-up. This significantly reduces the strain on the spinal discs and the back because there is no need to bend forwards when working in the kitchen.

Electrical appliances at an easily accessible height

The installation of electrical appliances should also be ergonomic, which means that they should be positioned at a comfortable, accessible height for use in the kitchen. This makes work easier – and easier on the back. It makes sense in any case to install fridges, ovens and dishwashers so that they are clearly visible. Small appliances, such as microwaves, toasters and coffee machines, should also be located at the right ergonomic height.

This can be in kitchen shelves or tambour cupboards. And finally, the organisation of the whole kitchen and all the appliances and equipment that go with it can be ergonomically designed: pull-outs are easier to operate than doors, and drawers with a mechanical opening system can be opened at a single touch. The lightest pressure is enough to shut them again – with soft closing that makes hardly any noise at all.

Making optimal use of the available space

Clever storage solutions make optimal use of the available space and offer comfortable, ergonomic access. Even kitchen supplies that are stored right in the back corner are easily reachable with full-extension pull-outs. A counter where you can both eat and prepare food sitting down provides additional comfort. Base units equipped with a sensor function can be opened without bending over with a simple foot action. This can be used for waste disposal, for example.

And those who want a really comfortable kitchen can opt for a kitchen island that is completely height-adjustable. Take Zeyko’s electric height adjustment for instance. The lowest height is ideal for breakfast with the kids, while the middle worktop height is perfect for cooking, and it can switch to bar height for cocktails with friends.

At a glance: what makes a kitchen ergonomic?

  • Electrical appliances – ovens, fridges and dishwashers – positioned at a height that is easily visible and accessible
  • Freedom of movement between different work zones
  • Height of the work surfaces for preparation, cooking and washing-up is adapted to the main user
  • Cooker and sink located close to each other
  • Full-extension pull-outs instead of pantries and base units with doors
  • Wall units with lift-up or swing-up fittings instead of standard doors
  • Easy-to-open drawers with mechanical opening systems and base units with sensor functions
  • Electrically operated height-adjustable surfaces such as worktops and kitchen islands that can be optimally adapted to different users
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