Requirements for Kitchen Furniture

3.4.4.1 Dimensional Requirements

The kitchen in a home should be organised as a sterile workshop, where all the tools are at hand, and at the same time, they do not interfere in carrying out tasks. In order for work in the kitchen not to require overcoming significant distances, household appliances should be arranged in accordance with the order of work carried out when preparing a meal. For this, a layout is created which contains three zones:

• the zone of storing products, to the right of it,

• the zone of processing products and dishwashing, behind it to the right, and

• the zone of preparing meals and their thermal treatment.

The functional zones set out in this manner create an ergonomic triangle (Fig. 3.31a), the sides of which have a different length depending on the size and shape of the kitchen. This triangle is overlapped by a technical triangle, which vertices create three basic technical devices of the kitchen’s equipment:

• equipment for storing products (refrigerator, cooler), to the right of it,

• equipment for washing products and washing dishes (sink, dishwasher, dryer), behind it on the right, and

• equipment for the thermal treatment of dishes (stove, oven, hob).

This layout is suitable for right handers. Left-handed people should arrange the zones in the order corresponding to a mirror reflection of the zones described above.

Between the elements of a kitchen’s technical equipment, the following dis­tances should be ensured:

• from the refrigerator to the sink 120-210 cm,

• from the sink to the stove 120-210 cm (in small spaces not less than 80 cm), and

• from the refrigerator to the stove 120-270 cm.

There should not be any door on any of the three sides of the triangles. However, next to one of the appliances, preferably in front of the stove or hob, the main workstation for preparing meals can be planned. In order to ensure convenience of movements, the sides of the triangles determined by the zones or appliances cannot be shorter than 3 m and longer than 6 m.

In the zone of processing products and dishwashing, a place for a drawer with a tray for cutting tools should be designed, as well as a container for waste, which should be located under the worktop of the workstation, and not—what is a common design error, under the sink. This way, after preparing a meal, the waste can be thrown down directly into the container.

The hob and oven are usually separate devices, of which the oven, like the microwave, is usually placed in a block of cupboards, at arm’s height no less than 115 cm from the floor.

Figure 3.32 shows the preferred dimensions of kitchen furniture. It is recom­mended that the height of the worktop of bottom cupboards was adapted to the

Fig. 3.32 Recommended functional dimensions of kitchen furniture (cm)

height of the user, enabling the convenient preparation of meals. This is usually from 70 to 90 cm. The optimal height of bottom cupboards differs, however, depending on the type of work done. The height of the hob should not be less than 70 cm. Worktops for placing pots are placed slightly higher—80 cm, and the boards intended for preparing meals is the highest, even 100 cm. If in the kitchen the working zones are not clearly separated and the worktop serves not only for putting dishes aside, but also for preparing meals, all surfaces should be designed at the same height. According to the norm PN-EN 1116:2005, the working height of bottom cupboards should be in accordance with one of the following standard heights: 85 (+5) cm, 90 (+5) cm and 100 (+5) cm. However, regardless of the provided heights of fixed work surfaces, lower surfaces extended at a height of 70­80 cm are additionally desirable (Janiga 2000; Janow and Bielow 1971).

In this norm PN-EN 1116:2005, the height of wall furniture has not been specified. However, it is recommended that the distance between the worktop of the bottom cupboards and the bottoms of wall cupboards amounts to 50-60 cm. Only the distance between the hob and cooker hood should be greater. For an electric cooker, it is recommended 65 cm, for a gas cooker—75 cm. Depending on the height of the user of the kitchen, the suspension height should be adjusted in such a way that enables him to reach the cupboard effortlessly. In practice, the height from

Fig. 3.33 The availability of wall cupboards, depending on the height of their suspension and depth of bottom cupboards (cm)

the ground to the top edge of the wall cupboard should amount to 200-240 cm. Shelves, which we reach on a daily basis, are placed at a height of 170-190 cm, and others no higher than 230 cm. In order to ensure good visibility of worktop of bottom cupboards, the height of suspending wall cupboards should be increased. However, ensuring availability of higher shelves cannot be forgotten. In the event of increasing the depth of worktops of bottom cupboards, despite maintaining sufficient visibility of them, it significantly limits availability to the items in wall cupboards (Fig. 3.33).

The depth of hanging cupboards according to the recommendations of the standard should not exceed 40 cm, while the depth of the worktop, together with finishing narrow planes and wall-fixing elements, should not be less than 60 cm. This dimension is significantly affected by the depth and suspension height of wall cupboards. Figure 3.34 illustrates the availability of the worktop depending on the depth of the bottom and top cupboards.

As it can be seen, reducing the depth of bottom cupboards causes that in order to ensure identical availability of the worktop, the height of suspending wall cup­boards should be significantly increased. This is particularly important for wall cupboards with a maximum width of 40 cm. For this furniture, the suspension height increases more than cupboards with a depth of 20 cm.

The provided inconveniences can be corrected by adjusting the shape of the side walls of the cupboards to the requirements of functional kitchen furniture. Figure 3.35 shows an example of increasing availability of bottom cupboards, as well as the availability of the worktop. Through simple technological treatments, correcting the functionality of a set of kitchen furniture can be beneficial. The user can stand closer to the furniture and easily reach into a space that is further away, in which products or items are stored. Another option is to replace bottom cupboards with shelves, cupboards with many systems of drawers and containers.