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Introducing The Five-Zone Kitchen

One of the oldest design principles in the book is the ‘kitchen work triangle,’ which has underpinned many a kitchen in Sydney over the years. 

But as our kitchens have become bigger and taken on the role of ‘hub of the home,’ design experts suggest that the traditional three-zone kitchen is outdated. No longer meeting the needs of the modern homeowner, the decades-old principle of the kitchen triangle is being ditched in favour of a new ‘five zone’ approach. 

What exactly are these five zones, and should you design your upcoming kitchen renovation around this principle?


What is a three-zone kitchen?

The three-zone kitchen is the design you’re most likely to be familiar with. Also known as the kitchen work triangle, this rule stipulates there should be no more than three steps between the refrigerator, stove/oven and sink, and no physical interruptions between these key kitchen design elements. 

Initially created in the 1940s as a cost-saving measure for construction companies, the kitchen work triangle was adopted by kitchen designers and homeowners alike for its perceived efficiency. 

However, with the advent of the open plan layout, kitchens have transformed in recent years to become a place where families cook, eat, work and socialise. There’s less likely to be one person in the kitchen at a time, and the way we cook is a lot more varied today than it was at the peak of the work triangle glory days. 

As such, the way that our kitchen, dining and living areas are connected has evolved; and designers are experimenting more with joinery, colours, lighting and textures to create the ideal kitchen in Sydney that ticks both the form and function boxes.


So what is the five-zone kitchen?

If a three-zone kitchen comprises a cooking, cleaning and consumables zone, a five-zone kitchen makes allowances for storage and food prep, with a non-consumables and a preparation zone. 

Let’s look at each zone in more detail. 

  • Cooking zone: The oven and stove top. These might be two separate appliances or contained within a single unit. Make sure you consider the utensils you need within arm’s reach of this zone and allow for plenty of storage around it. 
  • Cleaning zone: Nowadays thanks to dishwashers, it’s not just one area. The cleaning zone in your kitchen in Sydney will often be positioned in a left-to-right movement from dirty to clean, moving from the bin, to sink and dishwasher. You’ll also likely use this zone for access to water, so keeping it by your preparation area and stovetop is usually a good idea.
  • Consumables zone: Where you house your food, usually your pantry and fridge. Keep these elements next to each other for easy access, and to save you from having to travel back and forth while cooking. The consumables zone should also include bench space for unpacking your groceries after shopping. 
  • Non-consumables zone: Storage for pots, pans and plates. This is usually best placed in between the cooking zone and your dining area to make for easier serving once your dish is ready. Open shelving or glass-front cabinets can turn this zone into a style statement, too. 
  • Preparation zone: Generally an island bench, with plenty of uninterrupted space. Wherever it’s placed, make sure there is lots of storage nearby – consider that you’ll want easy access to things like mixing bowls, chef’s knives, utensils and herbs and spices while preparing food. 

As you can see, the modern kitchen design principles are much more reflective of how we use our kitchens – not just their basic purposes. Incorporating these five zones into your kitchen in Sydney will ensure you end up with a space that you’ll enjoy spending time in. 


Is your kitchen lacking the functionality your family needs? Get in touch with us to find out how we can transform your space into one you’ll love for years to come. 
Need more inspiration? Download our eBook, full of design trends to inspire your renovation.
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