Making Your Kitchen Worktop Height Right For You
We spend a lot of our time in our kitchen. And if you cook, you spend a lot of time chopping, stirring, cooking and cleaning with your main stance being…stooped over the kitchen worktop.
Whilst we may all consider that sitting at a computer or driving for long periods of time is damaging to our health and posture, we rarely consider what the height of our kitchen worktop, where we often spend a substantial amount of time, might be doing to our bodies. That’s why, if you are redesigning your kitchen, getting this right is essential. Who cares if your kitchen looks beautiful if it is actually giving you a bad back? Below we provide some pointers that might help you design your perfect ergonomic kitchen which will feel, as well as look, incredible.
The Worktop Height
Most decent kitchen outlet stores have a variety of unit and worktop height options these days, so make sure you ask. Generally speaking, the standard worktop height of 900mm is often considered to cause back pain for taller bodies and it is not uncommon for people to consider 920mm or even 950mm to fit with how they actually work in their kitchen. Alternatively, 850mm might save you standing on tippy toes to chop those beans if you are on the smaller side.
And of course, if you are getting your kitchen bespoke, make it right for you: In German Kitchen design the right worktop height is calculated as 15 cm below a bent elbow – when the person is standing straight.
The Worktop Depth
It’s not just about the height, but the depth.
There is more to simply the surface height that can cause people to stoop or bow their heads whilst working in the kitchen. Consider the space between the worktop surfaces and the kitchen cupboards, the oven and oven hoods, the sink and overhead draining boards. Having these too close together creates less sense of space, and awkward stirring of casseroles, and reaching up and around a high up draining board can cause stresses and strains on the back, shoulders and neck.
Where traditionally this gap was between 600-700 mm, it can often be recommended at 400mm these days as space gets jeopardised in the hunt for extra storage. Consider how this space might affect you. if you are determined to add the additional storage, push the depth of your work surface out to give you more space to use the worktop freely. Push the draining board behind the sink rather than above it, making washing up less of a chore. It’s all about thinking about how you will use your kitchen, and making it work for you rather than the other way around.
If you are going the whole hog, consider getting a sprung floor and take out the stress on your knees and feet. Maximise your comfort and make your kitchen the dreamy place to be in that you picture in your head.
Make it Right for Users of Different Heights
“I’m 6ft 3 but my partner is 5ft – how can we create something that works for us both?”
Whilst the straight lines of one surface top can look sleek and beautiful, if it isn’t going to work practically for you all, then perhaps consider a space where people of differing heights can use certain spaces that will work for them.
You may be concerned about the longevity of a kitchen like this, perhaps you don’t envisage this home as your home for life and are concerned about how it would be used by future owners, but you don’t have to have these features as permanent fixtures, nor as items that will be used for the same thing by another user. For example you can add a butcher style chopping board to give height for someone taller, for example, or a lower step to an island for someone a little shorter.
These don’t have to be used the same way you do by future owners. You can also consider a sliding shelf or pull out worktop runner, something that for some might just be used for appliances, for others provides the perfect height to whisk up that creme brulee. There are endless ways that you can integrate different heights to your kitchen without ruining its aesthetics.
Worktops for Disabled Users
Whilst one can concern themselves with the possibility that a future owner of your home might want to make some changes, there is no point in kitting out your kitchen for that person if it won’t be useful to you. There is an increasing array of unit heights and sizes that are particularly useful for a wheelchair user. Consider flexi plumbing to make taps easier to use, pull down shelves for the spots difficult to reach and drawers rather than cupboards to save difficult access to cupboards.
If you’re sharing the kitchen, there are lots of versatile solutions, such as the and crank rise and fall worktop, which can also be applied to cooking and sink areas.
Think Beyond The Kitchen Worktop Height
If you consider the true ergonomics of your kitchen, think about how much time you spend bending down, kneeling, standing on tiptoes, reaching to the back of cupboards? All this creates extra, unnecessary, strain on your body. You can prevent this by considering the “Kitchen Triangle”. Think about where the cooker, fridge and sink are and put the items that you will need to be on hand for each area close to them. Once you’ve worked out where to store things, consider how you might store them to make them easy to access. Life has moved way beyond the average kitchen cupboard! Take a look at our article on pull out storage space to save on awkward bending and unnecessary heavy lifting in your kitchen.
If you are concerned about how your kitchen is affecting your health get in touch with one of our design experts who can help to make sure that your kitchen is perfectly made to suit you.