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The Basics of Home Ergonomics

Last Updated Jun 25, 2013 · Written by Craig Gibson


Ergonomics is the art of using furniture, workplace tools and the environment in a way that reduces the risk of discomfort or injury. Read on to learn more about how ergonomics can help you in your home.

Basics of Ergonomics in the Home

Basically speaking, ergonomic in the home encompasses the following components:

  • Designing equipment and systems so that they are as easy to use as possible and less likely to cause damage to the homeowner when used.
  • Designing equipment and organizing the layout of the home so that the body’s posture is improved and the loads on the body are reduced.
  • Designing the environment so that lighting and temperature are at optimal levels.

Ergonomics in the Kitchen

When it comes to ergonomics, the kitchen is the most important area of the home as it is the area where most of the work is done. In fact, the kitchen work triangle is the most researched and applied of all the ergonomic principles. A good kitchen work triangle will have the three most used work sites the most efficient distance from one another and minimise traffic through the work zone. The three main sites are the refrigerator, the sink, and the stove/oven. Placed too far apart, you will waste a lot of steps, while placed too close together, you will feel cramped.

The best height for the kitchen cabinet is 36 inches or 3 feet. It may not be the best height for a specific task but it is the best overall compromise for all of the tasks performed in the kitchen. The toe kick may be the second most important component of kitchen ergonomics. It is vital for any cabinet that sits on the floor. The toe kick is a recess at the bottom of a base cabinet and provides a recess for your feet so that you can get close to the countertop without losing your balance. The ideal depth for a toe kick is three inches and the ideal height is 3 ½ inches.

Many ergonomic kitchen utensils are designed with longer, larger handles so that the pressure is distributed over a wider area of the hand and the wrist is kept straight. Many kitchenware brands have ergonomic varieties of many common tools used in the kitchen.

Ergonomics and the Home Office

The home office is a major area of the home that you need to look at when considering ergonomics. If your home office sees you hunched over with no spinal support, your arms and wrists at an awkward position or unsupported by armrests or the desk, you will find yourself suffering from back pain, headaches, and problems in the hands and wrists. Ensure that you have an adjustable chair and that your computer is placed correctly in front of you – so that you do not have to lean to see it.

You might also like: Ergonomic Chairs, Home Office

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