The Kitchen Work Triangle and its application


A kitchen work triangle is a tried-and-true guideline of kitchen design that helps plan out efficient space with clear traffic lanes. Let’s have a more compressive look at the kitchen work triangle and its applications.

 The work triangle connects to the cooktop, the sink, and the refrigerator. Each side of the triangle should technically measure between 4 and 9 feet.

This allows the chef to reach the cooking, cleaning, and food storage areas with ease while providing enough space between them and avoiding crowding at the same time.

What Is the Kitchen Work Triangle?

The concept kitchen work triangle is a design notion that is used to determine the optimal layout of a kitchen that addresses both aesthetics and efficiency.

The triangle references three points: the refrigerator, the sink, and the stove/oven.

It promotes an efficient design and limits the steps the cook needs to take to reach each area of the Kitchen.

However, kitchen work triangle guidelines are not laws and not rules that should not be broken.

The work triangle concept originated in the 1940s when kitchens were much smaller and designed as a utilitarian work areas for the housewife to create family meals.

Today, most kitchens are large, and in many families, there is more than one cook. Kitchens today have a broader range of functions than just cooking, we dine, get entertained, hang out and work in our kitchens.

How to create an effective kitchen work Triangle?

The kitchen work triangle concept has substantial application in the design and layout of a kitchen, most modern kitchen designs aim to make sure to install an effective work triangle in their design.

Below are the steps of how to create an effective kitchen work triangle

  1. When you total up the distance between the three sides of the kitchen triangle, they should not exceed 26 feet.
  2. All the segment sides of the work triangle should measure between 4 and 9 feet.
  3. Make sure that no side of the triangle should cut across an island or peninsula by more than 12 inches.
  4. Ensure that no major traffic patterns should cross through the triangle in your design.
  5. You can create a second work triangle by adding a second sink to an island or fourth-wall peninsula. This is also a way to create a special workstation for baking or vegetable prep.

 Note that modern kitchen designers do not design kitchens based exclusively around the work triangle approach, but have also adopted the kitchen work zone approach to cater for large spaced kitchens and more than one cook.

How to apply Kitchen Work Zones?

Due to the multipurpose nature of kitchens today, kitchen designers have taken on creating kitchen layout spaces based on the particular activities that will take place in each particular kitchen.

There are four basic zones that are applied to kitchen designs. Each particular zone defines a certain activity in the kitchen, lets’s learn more below;

The Pantry Storage

Pantry storage has everything to do with your consumable and non-consumable items. Kitchen items like Fresh food, frozen food, as well as dry goods, cans, and other non-perishables are stored here.

  In this zone, you place your main pantry and refrigerator. A lot of storage must be dedicated to non-consumable items like silverware, tableware, utensils, pots and pans, baking trays, and more. 

Most non-consumables items are located in drawers and upper kitchen cabinets.

The Sink Storage

In this work zone, everything rotates around the Kitchen sink, it also includes the dishwasher, garbage, recycling, household cleaning items, and a broom or mop.

 You should consider installing a waste cabinet near the sink to create a convenient space to store all your cleaning equipment and detergents.

The Prep Storage

During Food preparation, one requires easy access to utensils, cutting boards, and mixing bowls, as well as plenty of countertop space.

 Consider what you need for food preparation when planning storage options like base drawers, or roll-out cabinet shelves.

The Cooking Storage

For cooking storage, you will have the following, the cooktop; microwave and/or built-in oven.

You need to plan the touchdown spaces for hot dishes, as well as storage space for utensils, pots and pans, bake ware. Think of everything you need while cooking and place it in this zone.  

Other Zones

It is usual for kitchens to have other zones like the charging zone, the dining zone, the working zone and the entertainment zone. All you need to do is to tailor your kitchen to meet your needs.

What Are the Benefits of the Kitchen Triangle?

There are many benefits of having a kitchen triangle, such as:

  1. Kitchen optimization. The kitchen triangle can be greatly advantageous to your U-shaped or L-shaped kitchen design by creating selected main work areas and an optimized route between your major appliances.
  2. Create room to work. The kitchen work triangle can help keep your main cooking space free from obstacles or traffic, leaving you free and clear to move around the area.
  3. Prevent cross-contamination. One of the benefits of the work triangle is that it can help keep areas where there are more germs—the food prep and sink area—close enough to deter cross-contamination.

What Are the Disadvantages of the Kitchen Work Triangle?

There are a few disadvantages of the well sought after Kitchen Triangle to this concept’s structure:

  • They’re not perfect for many cooks in the kitchen at the same time. The original kitchen triangle design is beneficial for a single-cook household.
  • Kitchen work triangles are not applicable and don’t work with every kitchen layout. Kitchen designs that have scarce spacing, like the galley kitchen may not work with the triangle concept.

Open and large concept kitchens, may not be an efficient layout either, as many come with kitchen islands or independent food prep areas, increasing the number of dedicated workstations.

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