How to Create a Kitchen Work Triangle

November 07, 2017

If you're about to undertake a kitchen remodel, odds are you've heard a lot about the kitchen work triangle. Although it's often hailed by designers as the best way to set up a kitchen, the concept of the kitchen work triangle can be tricky to achieve, especially if you are not changing your kitchen floorplan.  


1. What is a Kitchen Work Triangle?  

The kitchen work triangle connects the three main work areas in the kitchen — the sink, the range, and the refrigerator. As a general guideline, the distance between these areas should be no less than 4 feet and no larger than 9 feet. The sum of all three sides of the triangle should be between 13 feet and 26 feet. If the distance is too small, it can make a kitchen feel cramped and blocked. If it's too large, it makes cooking a hassle.

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2. Why Does the Work Triangle Matter? 

Think about how you use your kitchen and the flow in which you prep food and cook at the same time. If your stove and dishwasher are right next to each, but your sink is far away, it will mean more moving objects around to get to their desired location. If your stove and dishwasher are parallel to each other, you would not be able to open both at the same time. You may say, "Well, I won't be doing dishes while I'm cooking", but that's not necessarily true, especially if you entertain often or host large family gatherings. 


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3. How Do You Implement in an Existing Layout? 


A. First Think About What Doesn't Work

What frustrates you in your kitchen? What causes problems while you're working? What could be added or removed with few changes? Thinking about what bothers you the most will help you figure out how to organize your kitchen work spaces within the triangle format. 

If you're redesigning a kitchen, odds are you'll need to take entertaining, eating and doing homework into account. By keeping your main cooking areas confined to one part of the kitchen, you'll be able to make use of other spaces without any conflicts.


B. Have a Trained Design Professional Assist You
Designers are much more accustomed to implementing layouts that work cohesively with the flow of a kitchen. Having a designer help you plan your new kitchen design will save you time and money. 

Besides the recommended distance between the points of the work triangle, the most important thing to keep in mind is to make sure that the lines of the triangle aren't blocked by anything. Trash cans, islands and other kitchen necessities in the wrong place can end up making cooking harder. 


C. Don't Forget About Multipurpose Spaces

Because so many kitchens have become multipurpose rooms, it's important to really think about what functions you want your kitchen to serve. Determining whether you want a desk, homework place, bar, large island, multiple sinks and so on can help you figure out exactly how to position your work triangle. 

Adequate prep space is often forgotten because it's not explicitly included in the work triangle equation. It's usually a good idea to have one prep space near the sink and one near the stove. Put utensils, pots and spices near the stove for easy cooking — it'll save additional steps. 


4. Do What Works Best For The Long Term

Above all else, you want your kitchen to work for you. While the kitchen work triangle is a great guide, by no means is it set in stone. You may have to design a kitchen with everything on a single wall — in which case the work triangle would be impossible to set up.  

If you plan on being in the home for many years, it would be good to think about how you will be using the kitchen 10 years from now. Will there be children in the home? Will it need to be wheelchair accessible? Do you bake heavily during the holidays or need a large island to host canning parties? All of these things should be thought about before designing your new kitchen space to ensure it will meet your needs for many years to come. 




If you live in the Northern Virginia area and you’re interested in a free estimate, or would like to know how Lensis Builders, Inc. can make your home even better, give us a call at 703-367-8999 or fill out a short contact form. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next project, visit our Pinterest page.