The first three-year study into the use of kitchens in real UK households has been completed, with the key findings set to be presented at a seminar in September.

The project aimed to establish how drawers, doors and lift systems in UK kitchens are used over time through the installation of monitors and sensors in 20 households. The results of the study will influence the design, manufacture and installation of kitchen furniture fittings in the future.

“This study is the first three-year study of its kind in the UK and will help us gain an in-depth understanding of how kitchens are used in comparison with the rest of the Europe," says Dr. Peter Beele, FIRA International’s technical development manager.

"Information about how a family treats a kitchen is of vital importance to design, manufacture and installation. This data will help identify trends in the way family life is changing and enable us to look at areas that would benefit from improvement and innovation.”

The project was funded by the Furniture Industry Research Association and carried out in collaboration with Blum UK, an Austrian fittings manufacturer, which has been conducting worldwide studies of kitchens for the past twenty-five years.

The findings of the project will be presented by the Furniture Industry Research Association at a seminar on 12th September at The kbbreview Kitchen Conference - the only networking and seminar event dedicated solely to the UK kitchen industry. 

“The results of the study will be of particular interest to kitchen and kitchen component designers and manufacturers. We are really excited to find out what impact this will have on future kitchen planning and manufacture," Peter continues.

A geographical spread of kitchens incorporating all parts of the UK was chosen. FIRA service technicians, trained by Blum, fitted the designated kitchens with monitoring equipment, including sensors and 6-digit counters to determine:

Loads applied to doors and drawers

  • - Cycles of doors, drawers and lift systems throughout a kitchen’s lifetime
  • - Changes in use over time (i.e. moves towards full extension, changing storage options etc.)

The results will be focused primarily on the following cabinet areas of the kitchens:

  • 1. Cutlery - main
  • 2. Daily used crockery
  • 3. Daily used glassware
  • 4. Daily used mugs/cups
  • 5. Pots and pans
  • 6. Waste disposal (if fitted)
  • 7. Consumables - tins/jars/packets
  • 8. Utensils - spatulas/whisks/fish slicers/ can openers etc.
  • 9. Cling film, foil, bags etc
  • 10. Pet food

The study is the outcome of the 60th Anniversary Design and Innovation Competition held in 2009 by the Furniture Industry Research Association. Blum UK won the competition and received support for a £20,000 project, the results of which would enhance the competitiveness of the industry as a whole.