The Kitchen Work Triangle

by Sam Shaw

Back in the 1940s, when kitchens were small and appliances large, kitchen designers dictated that the work triangle was the best way to set up a kitchen. These days this idea is a little archaic, after all we need our kitchen to suit our individual purposes, but understanding this concept can be helpful.

The kitchen work triangle is a relatively simple idea with the aim of saving time and energy in the kitchen. Its goal is to place the three most common work elements; the fridge, the sink and the stove, in a position that is the most efficient distance apart and to minimise traffic through this work zone. Placing these elements too far away from each other will waste steps. Putting a rubbish bin, an island and other kitchen necessities in the wrong place can result in a cramped and awkward kitchen.

Modern kitchen design is much more likely to take our individual needs into consideration. How well do we get around in our current kitchen? What frustrates us in our kitchen? What causes problems while we’re working? How could we work more efficiently? We want our kitchen to work for us so we need to pay close attention to each and every measurement when setting up our kitchen workspace — a few inches can make a big difference, especially in small kitchens.

Because so many modern kitchens have become multipurpose rooms, it’s important we think about what functions we want our kitchen to serve. Do we want a large island? multiple sinks? where will the dishwasher be positioned in relation to the sink? and how close it is? how much clearance is there around the three work centres (oven tops and sinks in particular)? Do we want seating in the kitchen so that people can sit and chat or eat without interfering with busy cooks? Asking these questions can help us figure out exactly how to position our work triangle.

The work triangle is a ‘one size fits all’ way to design kitchens,

But if we want a kitchen that is going to meet our needs without any awkward compromises then it’s a good idea to have a chat with a professional designer. There’s a surprising amount of thought goes into a good kitchen, and for anyone planning on spending a good deal of time cooking, it’s well worth the investment.

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