One of the primary interests that people have when it comes to kitchen design can be summed up in one word: storage. While there are countless countertop appliances available to us that help make cooking convenient, there are a growing number of innovative storage cabinets to help house and store them.
But we find that it’s not just the plug-in appliances that people are looking to tuck away, they’re also interested in keeping their glassware safe, their spices hidden, and their recycling separate. At the same time, it’s important for everything to be in its proper space to make cooking and cleaning as efficient as possible
To make the most of kitchen cabinet storage, it helps to think of it in three distinct zones. Let’s take a look at how each of them work in your kitchen cabinet design.
The Food Storage Zone
The Food Storage Zone represents the beginning of the cooking process. It all starts with the groceries, so there should always be a spot near the refrigerator where cold groceries can be set down and then put away immediately. If possible, the new kitchen design will place the refrigerator as close as possible to the door the groceries come in through, to make it easy to get your cold items stored away. The same goes for your pantry, which should be located near your refrigerator to help with the flow of both putting away groceries and taking out ingredients to begin cooking.
The Prep Zone
The main element in The Prep Zone is your kitchen sink. Sinks get so much use in the kitchen because they’re essential in hand-washing, meal prep, and washing dishes, so the ideal placement for the Prep Zone is between The Food Storage Zone and The Cooking Zone.
The Prep Zone should also include the area with the most countertops, which is where the meal prep takes place. That means items such as colanders, cutting boards, and knives often live in this area. The Prep Zone storage often contains space for flatware, dishes, and glassware — items that often move straight from the dishwasher or drying rack and into their dedicated kitchen storage cabinets. This is also usually where space for coffee machines and mugs would be considered in your kitchen remodel design.
The Prep Zone is also an excellent location for trash, recycling, and composting. Once you’ve mixed together your ingredients, it’s good to have a place within easy reach to discard cans, boxes, and food waste.
The Cooking Zone
Now that the food has been removed from the refrigerator / pantry and prepped, it’s time to cook! Since cooking often involves going back and forth from The Prep Zone to The Cooking Zone, it’s important to keep a good flow between them when designing the kitchen.
The Cooking Zone is another location that should have adequate counter space surrounding it since you may need to add some ingredients to the pot at the last moment, quickly move items off the stove, transfer hot items into serving dishes, and comfortably performs final steps like slicing meat before bringing it to the table.
The storage cabinets in the Cooking Zone should include deep drawers or cabinets with roll-out trays for pots and pans, as well as baking sheets. You should also have a drawers to keep stirring spoons, ladles, spatulas, and pot holders near the oven to grab quickly as you need them.
More Than One Right Answer
Every kitchen’s dimensions and layout are different, as are the needs of the people in them. When we come up with a design, not everything will necessarily fit perfectly into the zones we’ve been discussing. For example, should spice storage be in the Cooking Zone for when you need to “add a little something” to the pot, or should it be in the Prep Zone when you’re mixing things together? Will there be space for the microwave in the Cooking Zone, or will the layout require it to be in another location?
Designing there storage solutions is a process or a journey, and sometimes there’s more than one way to reach that destination. Working with a designer will help you to discover the best design for you based on how you plan to use your kitchen.
Work With Us
Everything we’ve detailed above comes from our commitment of making your design as efficient as possible. But our kitchen designers also recognize that not everyone cooks in same way, and not every kitchen space will accommodate the three separate zones as discussed. That’s why we like to think of ourselves as your collaborators who can discover the way to make the space flow for you and kitchen needs.
No matter where you are in the kitchen design process, we’d love to discuss your dream kitchen with you. Contact us or schedule an appointment to work with our designers today!