Lefties - any special considerations?

Carrie BFebruary 6, 2014

Several months ago, before I decided I'd hold off for a complete kitchen re-do, I'd thought of just getting a new kitchen faucet & putting it on the back left of the sink instead of the back right, where it currently is. I also was looking for a single-handle faucet where the handle was either on top or to the left - rather than to the right where most seem to be.

So, for the lefties out there who are sole (or primary) kitchen users - what, if any, accommodations have you made for your left-handedness. Have there been any particular challenges in this righty world? Do you do anything different in your kitchen because you are left handed?

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I didn't make any changes because of my left-handedness. Since DH is a righty, it made sense to have faucets centered. What side of the sink do righties typically want their dishwasher? That may be the only thing to consider, if you have the latitude to change it. (Mine is to the left of the sink. So, when I put things in the DW, I'm mostly using my left hand without crossing over my body. The dish storage is to the left of the DW, also It wouldn't be a big deal if it was on the other side, though. Aren't lefties especially used to a right-handed world?)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 10:34AM
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My mom is a lefty and placed her faucet and handle to accommodate that. My tendency is to turn on the faucet with my right hand (I'm a righty) which would mean my right arm would get wet unless I moved the faucet head first. So I understood why she swapped her faucent handle, because otherwise she'd be doing that manuevering (in the opposite direction) every time she used the faucet.

She had a Grohe faucet in her previous house (not sure what brand she has now; she and my dad are in a condo) and the plumber just switched the orientation of the handle. Since the handle assembly and the neck/head of the faucet are generally two different pieces, I think it's pretty straightforward to switch the side the handle is on. There are also options like the Kohler Karbon with separate handle.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 10:45AM
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Fori is not pleased

I'm not a lefty but I do always put my faucet handle on the left. Most of the single handed ones will install any ol' way.

I just like it better there. Maybe it makes my left hand feel more useful? :)

I don't think dishwashers have a handedness--people are used to whatever they have, but they switch pretty easily.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 11:54AM
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Carrie B

Thanks, folks. Right now, my faucet is single-handle, with the handle kind of behind/to the top of the faucet, which is fine, but it is on the right hand side of my sink, which means that I'm often leaning over my sink to work it with my left hand.

My dish-drain (built into my stainless sink, and here when I moved in) is on the right side of my sink. If I decide to go with a dish drain again, I may get one that's on the left (though many are designed to be on the right.) Haven't decided yet if I will get a DW (don't have one now) but it being on the left seems to make sense for me.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 12:02PM
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I'm a leftie, but prefer right side handles, as my left hand is usually either dirty or holding something.

As to DW, it used to make no difference, but I have a raised one now on the left and noticed that cutlery basket gets in the way. So with a raised DW, I think lefties should have it on their right.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 12:10PM
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If you are a strong leftie in a household of lefties and ambidextrous people it would make sense to set it up with controls set for ease of leftie use.

I'm ambidextrous enough that it really doesn't matter to me.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 12:17PM
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I'm a leftie. Perhaps a bit ambidextrous...okay, really, it's more that I'm equally as clumsy with either hand...but anyway....

I live with a right-handed man and have shared households with a mixed left/right all of my life.

In planning my kitchen, I did nothing different based on my hand dominance. Now, my knives and scissors, I prefer that others don't use those because while I don't get special "lefty" ones for that, over time, using them, the angle in which they wear is a bit different than if used by a righty...so, I try to keep my good knives and scissors away from non-lefties.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 2:50PM
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Carrie B

Thanks, everyone! I've been trying to pay attention to the way I use my sink, especially. I do tend to reach over to turn on my faucet with my left hand. When I'm washing dishes, I'll hold the dishes w/ my right hand & the sponge with my left. I'll often turn the water off with my right hand, and then pass my cleaned dishes from my left hand to my right to put on the dishdrain on the right. Hmmmm.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 3:01PM
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carrie - dare I say it........living in a 'right handed' world I think most lefties find a lot of righty things just as comfortable. So I am perfectly used to using my right hand to turn on the faucet as well as load the dishwasher to my right. New build - still dishwasher on the right as it flowed best and I don't think I'd notice a difference.

BUT, if you notice your tendancies lean left then I say go for it!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 4:34PM
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Another alternative for lefties, such as my DH, is to find a faucet handle in front so that a leftie does not have to reach across with left hand to turn it on. We put the dishwasher on left - more out of design issue than for his use; however, he now does the dishes!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 5:09PM
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Another lefty here who has adapted to a right-handed world. I opted for a faucet with the handle in the front so it works equally well for left and right handers. For the DW I followed the rule to keep it out of the path from sink to cooktop which for my kitchen put it to the right on the sink. To me that trumped any handed-ness issue since I wanted my kitchen to function well with one cooking and another unloading the DW. My sink (the Franke Orca) functions great for a left-hander; in fact I wonder if it works better for a lefty than a righty since the drain in on the left and the grid to stack dishes is on the right side on the sink.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 8:33PM
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I'm a leftie and had to have my dishwasher on the right side of the sink. I have one faucet so it's just centered. When I hand wash dishes I use the smaller side which is on the right to wash and then drain them to the left in the large sink. It's odd, but my last kitchen I did the same thing.
My longest counter is to the left of the sink and I never use that part, I use a way smaller section to the right of the sink.
I really don't like or feel comfortable with my counter space but I do my best to tolerate it. I prefer a full u shape work area and I had that in my last house so it's what I was use to.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 10:14PM
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I think most lefties are to some degree ambidexterous, because so many things are made to suit right-handed people that we've had to adapt more.

For the kitchen sink faucet, I'd center it and make the handle as easy/difficult for a rightie to use as a leftie. I'm a big fan of not making things left-handed or right-handed, but making them equal.

The main problems I've had as a leftie with the various kitchens I've used had nothing to do with the placement of the dishwasher. But instead with little or no counterspace to the left of the range and sink, which feels very, very awkward and causes some difficulties when first using the space, as I have to think about what I'm doing and where things will go, instead of just doing things. And there was that lovely kitchen with just a few inches between the range and the wall on the left--I kept whacking my elbow on the wall for the first few months I lived there.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 7:28AM
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After having lived in places where the dishwasher was either to the left or the right of the sink, I really prefer it on the left. If I'm moving things from the sink to the dishwasher it's already going to be in my left hand so I'm already halfway there.

Other than that I can't really think of anything...

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 10:35AM
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If you have a two-bowl sink, put the smaller sink to the left, and put your garbage disposal there. I saw a recent You-Tube video from a manufacturer of single bowl sinks. They make a "lefty: model with the garbage disposal drain on the left.

Here is a link that might be useful: Single bowl sinks - with compensation for

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 10:10PM
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Another lefty that has adapted to a right-handed world! Faucet is centred, dw is to the right of the sink, work area is to the right of the stove,etc. etc. Don't think (out of at least 10 homes) that I've ever had a dw to the left of the sink - probably would find it awkward!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 10:26PM
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Carrie B

Thanks so much, everyone. Chicago_Bob - I'm wondering what it says about me that I found that sink blog interesting... It was helpful. I knew I wanted a single bowl sink, but the drain being on the left never occurred to me, and the "8 inch depth - no more" statement was interesting, too.

We'll see if I end up getting a DW. Still undecided on that, but it would probably make sense for me to have either (or both) a dish drain or DW on the left since currently my drain is to the right and I pass my clean dishes from my left to my right hand, so, an extra step for me with every dish.

My kitchen designer is coming on Sunday to go over her first layout sketches for my new design. I'm so excited!

Here is a link that might be useful: Photobucket - kitchen, etc.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2014 at 11:06PM
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I hated my old kitchen because the cooktop was to the left of the sink but way too close. I love to cook now the way it is.

My left hand is doing the work, so I can grab stuff from the sink, go to the counter to prep and then throw it in the pan.

My right-hand is usually cleaner and using it to turn on the water and spray things works fine for me, as does putting stuff in the DW. You tend to do those a few at a time.

I also like that the DW is to the left of the dish drawer, because I pull the drawer out, and then stand there and grab all the dishes with my left hand and throw them in the drawer and I do tend to grab multiples at once, so am more comfortable using my left hand for that.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 9:48AM
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