Ergonomics is seen as the science of getting a given environment designed in such a way that it will adapt to the movement of the person staying in that environment. The science is often applied in the workplace, and in the home setting, the kitchen is seen as a workplace area since a number of activities like cooking and dish washing are done. Based on this, the idea of an ergonomic kitchen came to be developed.
Ergonomics has long been an accepted concept, although an ergonomic kitchen is hardly given thorough discussion. This is a sad note given the fact that the kitchen is one part of the house abuzz with activity all year round. As such, an ergonomic kitchen is something that homeowners should seriously consider if only to make kitchen work safer and more convenient.
The solutions for designing a kitchen that is ergonomic can vary as this will depend on several factors. For starters though, provide for storage cabinets that are completely flexible. This can be achieved by installing pullouts on the cabinet, the ones that can be conveniently pulled up or down depending on where the user is positioned.
The knee space built under the kitchen sink is another good solution found in many ergonomic kitchen designs. Both wheelchair-bound and able-bodied people can benefit from this as getting to wash dirty dishes becomes a lot easier and more convenient.
The kitchen counter, meanwhile, should be of the correct height. Arm movement is critical when doing kitchen work on the counter like cutting vegetables or mixing ingredients. For this reason, there is a need to determine the appropriate counter height, and this will depend on how close the elbow will be from the surface. In this regard, many expert cooks recommend a counter height ranging from 37 to 39 inches.
In cases where re-designing the kitchen area is seen as too costly, a common ergonomic kitchen solution is to come up with designated storage zones. Ideally, there should be one primary storage area in the kitchen. This is where kitchen items that are frequently used should be placed, Normally, this can be a cabinet about 30 to 60 inches high and composed of three different drawers, chief of which is the counter top shelf where common utensils can be stored.
When it comes to appliances, the idea of having an ergonomic kitchen can be a bit difficult to achieve. This is because many kitchen appliances like ovens and refrigerators are manufactured in such a way that people often have to bend just to make use of them. The refrigerator, for instance, usually has its freezer on top which is a hassle for some people especially in the case of very large refs.
A common solution is to settle for refrigerators with bottom freezers which can be found somewhere between the shoulder and the waist area. These models though are more expensive; thus as part of an ergonomic kitchen design, they are sparingly recommended.
A cabinet installed on the kitchen wall is one other thing that should be looked into when designing an ergonomic kitchen. Traditional kitchen cabinets with swing-out doors have long been the cause of many home accidents. An option is to settle for cabinets with sliding doors. Previously, these are more common in Asia and certain European countries but in recent years, they have experienced significantly greater demand. In time, they should become an ideal solution when it comes to ergonomics in the kitchen area.