Whether it’s working in your home office or preparing dinner in the kitchen, it’s easy to fall into bad habits, such as bad posture. More than ever, designers and architects are paying specific attention to how we use and interact with our kitchens and workspaces, creating rooms designed to encourage comfort and efficiency. By fusing ergonomically efficient appliances and fixtures with room planning, you’ll have a highly functioning kitchen that’s a breeze to work in.
Kitchen counters, much like you keyboard or desk in an office, must be the right height. When remodeling your kitchen or simply getting new counters installed, a good rule of thumb is to keep spaces you’re going to be mixing, chopping, and generally preparing food about elbow height. This greatly reduces strain on your wrists, while keeping your body upright and in good posture. Shorter workspaces force us to work hunched over, making whatever task you’re completing that much harder. Consider two different heights for kitchen counters, one elbow height for working, and another, higher countertop for setting ingredients of finished meals, like in this Des Plaines remodel.
When it comes to flooring, material matters. While stone, terra cotta, and ceramic tile add style to bathrooms, when it comes to areas where you’re doing a lot of walking, the softer the better. Wood, rubber, and cork are much easier on the feet, and reduce strain when cooking for a long time. If you’re set on harder flooring, try placing some small rugs or stylish non-slip mats over key work areas, like cabinets, ranges, and sinks.
While kitchen cabinets are the common choice, drawers tend to beat out doors in terms of ergonomics. Big drawers for dishes and pans keep you from having reach up high for heavy things and from ducking under open cabinets when you’re in a hurry. When you need the space and shape of a cabinet, change how it opens! Cabinets that open upward instead of to the side are a recent trend, and save you from having to work around frustrating open doors, moving it up and away from your workspace. Getting rid of unnecessary bending and crouching helps prevent back strain, so consider drawers over cabinet doors for your next remodel. Note the amount of drawers near high traffic and activity areas, such as the range, in this Chicago kitchen.
There’s more to ergonomic storage than cabinets and drawers. Multi-tiered storage racks keep things from getting too cluttered, as do hooks above a sink or range for commonly used tools like strainers and spatulas. Remember, a key tenet of ergonomics is ease of use, so keeping things where they’re easy to find, use, and store is a top priority. This includes small things like outlet placement. Too often we think of outlets as an afterthought, resulting in a kitchen designed around where appliances need to be, not where you want them. Make sure to keep this in mind when you’re fixing up your kitchen.
As with any large scale home improvement venture, the contractors and architects of Airoom are more than qualified to help, and always just a phone call away.