wellness kitchen layout

An Architect’s Tips For Getting Your Wellness Kitchen Layout Right

I know that healthy eating can sometimes be a challenge, especially as a busy parent.  It can be so frustrating to come home after a long day and feel the dread of hiding away in the kitchen to prepare a healthy meal for your family.  I have certainly been there.  And I know that this dread and frustration is often alleviated by eating quick, unhealthy meals instead.  

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If this is you, and if you are planning a kitchen renovation or new home, I have good news.  You now have the perfect opportunity to create a kitchen that will make healthy meal prep easier AND give you more time with your family.  You will be creating a kitchen designed for wellness.  A wellness kitchen is designed specifically to:

  • Encourage healthy eating habits
  • Draw you in and make you want to be there
  • Encourage family time
  • Keep your body healthy and toxin-free
  • Keep you safe

Read more about the importance of a kitchen designed for wellness here.

The Layout:

Getting the layout of your kitchen right is the first step in creating a kitchen that will make your life easier and less stressful and your family's lives healthier.  A functional, wellness-focused kitchen layout:

  • Allows multiple people to work in the kitchen at one time, speeding up food prep, increasing family time and teaching kids how to eat healthfully
  • Makes batch prepping meals easy and even enjoyable!
  • Keeps everyone in the kitchen safe by minimizing the risk of accidents

Alright, so let's get into how to design the proper wellness kitchen layout.

Wellness Kitchen Layout: Work Zones

A functional wellness kitchen layout starts with creating work zones.  Work zones are taking the place of the work triangle and give direction on how to lay out a kitchen.  Blum created the Work Zones Diagram above to illustrate the main zones of a kitchen.

  • The gray zone to the left is for food storage.  This includes both fresh, refrigerated food and dry food.  Keeping the food storage zone on the periphery is helpful since it is not where the main action is happening.
  • The orange zone is the dish storage zone conveniently placed next to the sink and dishwasher.  The orange zone is also the secondary food prep zone.
  • The blue zone is the cleaning station.  Within the blue zone there will be the sink, dishwasher and trash/compost/recycle bin.
  • The yellow zone is the main prep zone.  This is purposely placed between the sink and the stove to provide easy access to both areas while food is being washed, prepped, and cooked.
  • The red zone is the cooking zone.  Ensure counter space is provided next to the wall oven to rest items that are going in and out of the oven.  Just like food storage, the oven can be on the periphery of the kitchen because it does not need constant attention.

The main focus for our wellness kitchen layout discussion is going to be on the prep zones.  Here are various kitchen layouts that utilize proper kitchen work zones.

Wellness Kitchen Layout: L-Shaped Kitchens

This L-shaped kitchen is similar in layout to the work zones diagram above.  There are two prep zones:

  • The main prep zone is between the sink and the stove
  • The secondary prep zone is to the left of the sink

The main prep zone is where the primary food preparations will be happening.  The counter space for this zone should be at least 3 feet long but 4 feet is better.  This should be placed between the sink and the stove for easy access to both areas while veggies are being prepped.

The secondary prep zone is used for a second person helping in the meal prep or for an assembly area when batch prepping meals.  Placing the secondary prep zone on the opposite side of the sink to the main prep area is perfect for allowing two people to easily access the sink without running into each other.  The secondary prep zone should be at least 3 feet long.

Here is a smaller L-shaped kitchen layout.  Again, the main prep zone is between the sink and stove, but this time the secondary prep zone is to the right of the stove.  

The high-top table / island in the center of the kitchen can act as another prep or assembly area when batch prepping meals.  An island should be at least 3'-6" away from the counter to ensure that there is plenty of room to move about the kitchen.  

Wellness Kitchen Layout: Straight Run Kitchens

Straight run kitchens with an island are a very common layout when designing an open concept floor plan.  It is fine to put the sink in the island and still have a functional prep zone.  In fact, putting the sink in the island allows for easy conversation while you are cooking, so I encourage it!

If your sink is in the island, you will also want your main prep zone to be at the island.  When prepping, the connection to the sink is usually more important and more frequently used than the connection to the stove.  

The stove should be right behind the island prep zone, so when you turn around you can easily place your prepped ingredients directly next to the stove and begin cooking.

An island with a sink and prep zone will be at least 8 feet long.  This allows for 3 feet of prep counter space (the minimum amount of space you want), 3 feet of sink area and 2 feet for the dishwasher.  

This straight run kitchen has a more compact layout than the previous example, but maintains its functionality.  

I love the amount of counter space on the island next to the sink.  This is perfect for the main prep zone.  You can see how easy it will be to turn and access the stove when ready to begin cooking.

The secondary prep zone is to the right of the stove.  This is a great location because it is staggered from the main prep zone.  This means that two people working in the kitchen, back-to-back, will not continuously bump into each other.  This is important for maintaining an easy to use, pleasant kitchen.

Final Thoughts:

When you design your kitchen for wellness, you are setting yourself and your family up for easy healthy eating.  You also get to spend more time with you family since your new kitchen will be set up for multiple chefs.  Following these wellness kitchen layout strategies will ensure that you are setting up your new kitchen for healthy eating success.  

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