The Three Zones Of Every Custom Home Kitchen

The Three Zones Of Every Custom Home Kitchen

When it comes to your custom home kitchen, you need something that combines aesthetics with function. Yes, you want your dream kitchen to look incredible, but you also need it to work for your family. Using the three zone method, you can customize the space to fit your style while still having an extremely high functioning kitchen that you won’t want to leave.

The Three Custom Home Kitchen Zones

Zone 1: The Refrigerator CenterThe refrigerator zone is all about meal prep.

While the fridge is definitely the center of this zone, it’s not the only crucial aspect to consider. Really, it’s all about food prep. From the minute you walk into your custom home kitchen with your groceries to the minute you start getting out all of the ingredients you need for dinner, the refrigerator center is your go to. The refrigerator center includes the fridge, countertop space, utensils, small appliances, and anything else you need to get dinner started.

The Refrigerator Placement

This is the most important part of zone 1. You’re going to want to talk about this with your Indianapolis custom home builder, but the refrigerator really needs to be as close to your kitchen access door as possible. If you can enter your kitchen directly from the garage, then you’ll want the fridge near that door because no one likes lugging grocery bags all over the house. And, to compliment the fridge, be sure the kitchen island or a counter is nearby, so you don’t have to put those grocery bags on the floor.

The Pantry

Yes, zone 1 is called the refrigerator center, but it also includes your pantry and any other dry food storage. Again, this zone is all about meal prep. You don’t want to run all around your custom home kitchen trying to gather up all of the ingredients you need for dinner. Instead, you’ll want them all nearby, so you can make as few trips as possible.

Small Appliances, Utensils, and Tools

When it comes time to prep tonight’s dinner, you might need a blender, tongs, and a serving tray. Having all of these items nearby is going to make your job easier. Other appliances to consider are microwaves, toasters, and juicers. Your custom home builder will be able to help you figure out the right placement for these appliances. In addition to those, you might find that having measuring cups, muffin tins, and salad spinners in similar locations is helpful. As you plan your custom home kitchen, consider how you use your current kitchen and what areas could be improved to make life easier.

Zone 2: The Sink Center

The sink zone should be in a central location in the kitchen design.To increase the efficiency of your kitchen, you’ll want the sink center to be somewhere between your refrigerator and the cooking center. This is also the area of the kitchen that can easily become messy as you’re cutting, chopping, and cleaning up your food prep, so it includes elements like trash and recycling, dishes, knives, cleaning supplies, cutting boards, and other daily items you need to eat and drink.

The Sink Placement

Visually speaking, the sink is the center of this zone. Everything else that is considered part of zone 2 radiates out from the sink. You’ll want to place the sink in a convenient, central location that can easily be accessed. Next to the sink, plan on having your dishwasher because it’ll be easier to load it right from the sink. Keep in mind that you’ll want to keep the nearby counters as clutter free as possible to allow for maximum usage as you prepare meals.

Everyday Dishes and Eating Utensils

Since the sink and dishwasher are in this zone, having your everyday dishes and eating utensils in this zone also makes the most sense. You can easily unload the dishwasher after cleaning your dishes. Consider using deep drawers for your plates, bowls, drinkware, and flatware. These drawers are designed to make finding what you need easier, can hold quite a bit of weight, and allow every member of your family to access the items they need.


Because you’ll actually be preparing a good portion of your meal in this area, you want cutlery, cutting boards, and some small appliances to be conveniently located to the sink zone. Placing your knives and cutting boards in between the refrigerator and the sink zone will really help you as you’re preparing meals. You can easily go from the fridge with your ingredients, to chopping on the countertop, and then place the cutlery in the sink for cleanup.

Zone 3: The Range Center

It doesn’t matter if you opt for a traditional range or a cooktop with wall ovens, the ranger centerThe range center should be positioned for easy access to posts, pans, and baking ware. needs to be as close to the dining room as possible. Why? Because you’ll want to take your meal out of the oven and move it to where you’ll enjoy it as quickly as possible. Another key feature of zone 3 is to include as much counter space as possible nearby. This counterspace will be used to set hot items down on, house pot holders, and store any serving items necessary to get a meal on the table.

Pots, Pans, and Baking Dishes

Whether you’re using the cooktop or the oven, your pots, pans, and baking dishes should be close at hand. No one wants to walk from one side of the kitchen to the other just to grab a pot. Using deep drawers on either side of the oven or range, you can store all of your pots, pans, and baking dishes to make cooking and baking easier on everyone.

Spice and Utensil Storage

Adding a dash of this and a dash of that to your meal is ten times easier when the spices are within an arm’s reach of your cooktop. The range center is all about focusing on cooking and baking, so keeping spices and cooking utensils handy makes the job easier, more efficient, and more delicious.

Serving Pieces

Moving a hot skillet or pan from the stove top to the dining room table isn’t always the best way to serve food. Instead, you’ll want to plate whatever it is you’re cooking, which is why your service pieces should be in cabinets near the range, cooktop, or ovens.

Are you ready to get started with your custom home kitchen plans? Maybe you’re just now thinking about building a custom home. Either way, our free e-book, “Tips For Building a Custom Home” is a great resource for getting started.

If you’re ready to talk details and specifics about your dream home, then the team at Michael and Associates would love to sit down and listen to your ideas. Contact us today to set up a meeting.

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