Consider the Kitchen Work Triangle

Sep 28, 2018 | Home Improvement

Are you familiar with this design term? It’s different for every cook in every house—in every kitchen. But, it should be a primary consideration in any renovation in this key room. The right kitchen work triangle will make your daily activities easier (without even thinking about it). While a poorly thought out space will do the exact opposite. Even basic acts can be cramped or frustrating without the right triangle in place. Today, we’ll expand a little more on this basic concept.
What exactly is the kitchen work triangle?
The concept is pretty simple, but the term didn’t exist before the 1940s. It refers to the space connecting your 3 primary work spaces/appliances: the sink, the fridge, and the stove. Between prepping your food, cooking it, and cleaning up, you spend most of your time in the kitchen walking to/from these 3 stations. When it was originally created, appliances tended to be large with little space in between. So, the idea was to create a flow that allowed you to move through the key areas without issue. Now, it’s still relevant—even in large kitchens—because you don’t want to spend too much running back and forth between your different stations. So, ideally, each “leg” or the distance between any two appliances shouldn’t be more than 9 feet. Nor should it be below the minimum of 4 feet. As far as designers go, that’s the sweet spot for the kitchen work triangle.
Okay, but what about islands?
Now, that’s where it gets tricky. Remember, back in the ‘40s, this feature wasn’t a common kitchen installation. They were more concerned with creating enough space for a workable triangle. Today, we also have to factor in potential obstructions. The measurements we provided previously are only good for straight lines—not curves or detours. To preserve the kitchen work triangle, you’ll have to ensure no cabinetry or household traffic interferes with your flow. This may involve rounded edges or slanted islands—whatever it takes to make it work.
Just imagine this: You’re busily preparing dinner when a pot boils over and you need to rush it to the sink. As you run over to that area carrying the steaming pan your hip smacks directly into the corner of your island, causing you to spill the food before you even make it to the sink. This is what we’re trying to prevent! With a clear kitchen work triangle, this mini crisis could’ve been averted.
Won’t this make all kitchens look the same?
Of course not! Do all triangles look the same? There are hundreds of possible combinations that fit virtually any kitchen. Whether you decide to include an island or not. Plus, you still have to insert you own style into the design! Two kitchens with the same exact work triangle can look completely different if one is French Country and the other is Industrial Chic. Furthermore, this isn’t a design feature you’re exactly meant to see. Have you ever really noticed a kitchen work triangle before? Probably not. You just see a space and decide whether or not you like the flow. You’re not measuring the distance between the appliances or checking for obstructions. It’s more a matter of function that you notice after consistent use. So, it can be seamlessly integrated into any good design.
Did you know we handle kitchen renovations? Our team can help you with design aspects and installations for any size space! Just give us a call today to talk more about the kitchen work triangle and, more importantly, how we can improve yours.