How to Incorporate the Work Triangle into Your Kitchen Design
Do you always feel like something’s in your way when you’re working in the kitchen? Are you looking for a more efficient kitchen layout? If so, you may want to consider creating a kitchen work triangle in your home. This classic kitchen layout has been the key to kitchen efficiency and cooking success for decades.
What is the kitchen work triangle?
Developed in the 1940s, the kitchen work triangle refers to a kitchen layout where the sink, the cooktop, and the refrigerator are placed in such a way that the imaginary lines connecting them form a triangle. For the sake of efficiency, the goal has always been to keep comfortable distances-about four to nine feet—between these main components.
The general rule of thumb is that nothing should block or obstruct the work triangle’s clear path. You should be able to move from each area easily while cooking in the kitchen. For example, you should be able to grab some vegetables from the fridge, wash and prep them in sink, and then bring them to the cooktop as efficiently as possible.
In addition, general foot traffic shouldn’t interfere with the work triangle, as people not directly involved in cooking often need access to the kitchen, particularly the fridge.
What’s the best way to create a work triangle?
The absolute best way to create a work triangle will vary from kitchen to kitchen. However, there are a few basic guidelines that can be universally applied to all kitchens to improve efficiency and make it easier to prepare meals.
- Sink: Start by placing the sink in a central location, then lay out the rest of the work triangle from there.
- Cooktop: The optimum location for the cooktop is along a wall, rather than on an island or peninsula. With a stove on an exterior wall, it’s easy to install an effective hood and ventilation system.
- Refrigerator: Of the three components of the work triangle, the refrigerator should be located at the triangle’s outer corner for easy access. The refrigerator door needs a clear swing and, if possible, enough room for two people to reach in simultaneously.
What about the “non-triangle” elements of a kitchen?
Of course, there are several other elements of a kitchen that are not part of the work triangle but do play a role in maximizing kitchen efficiency. Here are some additional guidelines to keep in mind.
- The optimum position for a dishwasher is on either side of the sink. Minimum counter lengths at the sink are 36 inches on one side and 24 on the other.
- Glassware and dishes should be stored in upper cabinets or on shelves near the sink. Base cabinets should be designed to have pullout shelves and drawers. It’s also a good idea to install a tall pantry cabinet at the end of the cabinet run.
- Silverware drawers should be located close to the drying rack or dishwasher but out of the primary work triangle so that someone can set the table without interrupting the cook.
- Frequently used pots and cooking utensils should be stored near the stove. A shelf above the cooktop can transform the space into a cooking workshop, providing a handy resting place for timers and spices.
How can you determine the best layout for your kitchen?
If you are thinking about a new layout for your kitchen, start by asking yourself questions about how you use your kitchen. Are you a frequent cook? Is there usually more than one cook in the kitchen? How often do you use the oven or the stove? How much refrigeration do you need versus dry storage? Making a list of your priorities as well as every day habits can help you identify the traffic flow of your home.
If you want to redesign your kitchen to include a work triangle or other solutions to help increase kitchen efficiency, then contact Special Additions today. Our design staff will work with you every step of the way from the initial meeting to installation. Family owned and operated since 1978, we’re one of the largest and most reputable cabinetry dealers in the New Jersey/New York Area.