Seven tips for fewer steps in the kitchen

June 21KitchenErgonomics
We cover several kilometres walking back and forth between the sink, worktop surface and larder unit over the course of a year. To make this annual "kitchen marathon" as efficient and ergonomic as possible, Blum has developed seven tips according to the results of internal requirements research – turning it into a walk in a park.

The string study shows that when the many small trips around the kitchen are added together, they result in a significant distance over the course of the day.

The nifty method for identifying routes around the kitchen 

With the "String study", Blum uses a tried-and-tested way to precisely show daily routes around the kitchen. The study involves tying a piece of string to the leg of a virtual test subject and using this to track routes and activities in the kitchen. Seven different daily routines were observed in an L-shaped kitchen. Optimum conditions were established for the study – that is without forgetting the influence of other people or things in the kitchen.

On average...

  • ...the test subject covered a distance of 264 m every day, which equates to more than 96 km over a year!

  • ...the waste bin was opened up to 50 times a day.

  • ...the cabinets were opened up to 80 times a day.

We have therefore put together some helpful tips and tricks to make the kitchen layout as efficient as possible, so that unnecessary steps are avoided.

A few major factors and many minor details all of us may consider when planning an ergonomic kitchen.

Tip 1: Bear your cooking habits in mind

There are different ways of using a kitchen. Is the cooking usually done solo or do several people usually share the labour? Do the kitchen users love to bake or do they have the local takeaway on speed dial? How the kitchen is used in daily life is key when it comes to kitchen planning and ultimately what the kitchen has to be able to do. 

Do you prefer to cook solo or together? The answer has an impact on the kitchen planning.

Tip 2: Monitor your shopping behaviour

Monitor your shopping behaviour. Do you like to stock up meaning that you need plenty of storage or do you have the option of shopping for fresh food virtually every day? How someone shops has an impact on the kitchen design and the required quantity of central storage space, or in other words, the number of cabinets. 

Anyone who likes to ensure that they are well stocked up will enjoy the large amount of space available in the practical SPACE TOWER larder unit for all kinds of foods.

Tip 3: Put the things which belong together, together

Knives near the cutting board, cutlery near the dishwasher. Have a think about typical tasks like preparing breakfast and design your kitchen accordingly. Where is the worktop surface? Where is the hob? You should have everything stored in the area you intend to use it. This will save time and reduce the amount of time spent walking around. 

Is everything within easy reach? If you think about which items you need and where beforehand, and take this into consideration when planning your kitchen, you will have everything immediately to hand.

Tip 4: Plan in enough worktop surface

The ideal spot for food preparation is between the sink and hob; to avoid lack of working space you should plan at least 80 cm of worktop space between the two.

The ideal spot for the worktop surface is between the sink and hob.

Tip 5: Ergonomics thanks to optimal worktop height

The right worktop height is essential when it comes to ergonomic working – anything else can lead to back pain. The main kitchen user should be able to work in comfort and without restrictions. Simply measure the height from the floor to beneath your bent elbow – the height of the worktop area should be 10 to 15 cm below your elbow.. 

The ideal worktop height is 10-15 cm below the level of your bent elbow.

Tip 6: Future-proof cabinet solutions

The life of a kitchen is up to 20 years. Choosing well-designed cabinets means that you can be sure of easy and convenient work in the kitchen, regardless of changes in your personal needs:

  • Provide base cabinets with drawers and inner dividing systems such as or .

  • Choose tall cabinets with individual pull-outs for storing provisions – for example the larder unit from Blum. 

  • Plan wall cabinets with lift systems so the front moves up and out of the user's way. We recommend products from the

AVENTOS stay lifts ensure the fronts move up and out of the user's way and close again at the press of a button thanks to the SERVO-DRIVE opening support system.

Tip 7: Select the perfect kitchen shape

First and foremost, alongside personal preference, the right kitchen shape will depend on what the space dictates. Existing sockets, the room size, doors and windows are usually fundamental features when it comes to planning your kitchen. The good news is that every kitchen layout can be optimised for the user's personal needs. We've equipped a range of different kitchen shapes with the same cabinets and compared them with each other. 

The U-shaped kitchen is the most efficient layout because everything is just a few steps away.

A kitchen with an island is ideal for integration into an open-plan living space. In comparison to the U-shape, the distances are between 2% and 8% greater depending on the layout (sink on the island and sink at the back respectively).

A G-shaped kitchen is especially well-suited for more generous spaces. With just 6% more distance to cover, it is also highly efficient.

If you opt for a galley kitchen, the distance increases by 11%. This layout is usually selected if there are only two opposing walls available.

The L-shaped kitchen is the most common design because it can be implemented in almost every room. However, it does mean covering a significantly greater distance than in a U-shaped kitchen (roughly 23% more), making it significantly less efficient.

Piktogramm einer einzeiligen Küche

The single run kitchen is an economical and space-efficient alternative to galley kitchens, and is especially well suited for small households. The kitchen appliances are fitted next to each other along one side of the wall. This means a lot of walking back and forth, with users taking 40% more steps on average. This increases the annual distance travelled to more than three marathons!

Good planning is half the battle

If you take a step-by-step approach to determining furniture functionality and practicality when planning your kitchen, you'll be able to save a lot of walking in the long run. Talk to your kitchen planner. Tell them as much as you can about your cooking and shopping habits, your preferences and other wishes, so that the fabled "kitchen marathon" remains a myth in your home.

Seven more tips to turn your kitchen marathon into a walk in the park:

Stop items falling.

The combination of drawers with closed sides and high back panels prevents objects falling down the back of the cabinet.

Create good ergonomics.

Mechanical or electrical opening mechanisms are ideal when you've got your hands full.

Make items fully accessible.

Drawers with full extension guarantee the best possible access to all contents.

Remain flexible at all times.

The better the inner dividing system, the more practical the kitchen organisation can be. Flexible inner dividing systems bring order to every drawer.

Ensure everything is clearly visible and easily to hand.

Store frequently used items at eye level and within easy reach for accessibility.

Keep rarely used items up high.

High storage locations are best allocated to things you use only occasionally, as this frees up valuable space within ergonomic reach.

Keep heavy items down low.

Put heavy and bulky items on lower cabinet levels.

Bid farewell to hurdles and obstacles that hamper your daily route around your kitchen.

At a glance – seven tips for fewer steps in the kitchen

  • Bear your cooking habits in mind: Do you regularly cook from scratch or do you prefer to heat things up? How many people use the kitchen? Adapt your kitchen to these needs. 

  • Monitor your shopping behaviour – do you like to stock up or do you buy fresh food every day? Depending on your answer, you have to adapt the storage space in your kitchen. 

  • If possible, you should have everything stored in the area where you intend to use it.

  • Plan a large enough worktop surface – at least 80 cm.

  • Having the right worktop height prevents back pain.

  • Plan cabinet solutions for the future – ideally, your kitchen should last you 20 years. 

  • Select the right kitchen shape. The U-shape is the most efficient layout. 

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