The kitchen is one of the most frequently-used rooms in any home. Therefore, it's important that your kitchen is set up for maximum efficiency and ease of use. Having the right furniture, kitchen cabinets and accessories– and placing them in close proximity to each other- can change the entire workflow of your kitchen. This is commonly referred to as the “kitchen work triangle”.
The concept of the kitchen work triangle was established in the 1940s and is still used in many houses today. It focuses on the three main tasks performed in the kitchen (cooking, preparing and storage) and the appliances that help us get them done (the stove, sink and refrigerator). If these three items are in close proximity to one another, and form a triangle shape when connected with imaginary lines, it is easier to be more efficient in your kitchen.
There are a few others rules that the kitchen work triangle should have. These include each leg of the triangle being between 4 and 9 feet, no obstructions (including kitchen cabinets and islands) coming between a leg of the work triangle and that household foot traffic shouldn't interfere between the triangle. However, these don't need to be strictly enforced to have a successful kitchen working space.
Today's kitchens are fairly larger and more complex than those in the 1940s. Microwaves, coffee makers, dishwashers and other appliances all perform specific duties that take place in the kitchen. There are now spots in the kitchen for socializing, working on homework, watching TV and more. If you connected all of these new “areas”, you'd have more of a star shape than a triangle. Still, the main 3 functions listed earlier are crucial to a functioning kitchen, so the triangle concept still holds up to serve as a guideline. With all of your leftover space, you can focus more on decorations and extra appliances without everything being too crowded.
In larger kitchens, it's usually best to keep the work triangle to one section of the kitchen. From there on, you can use the rest of the space for seating or entertaining. This separates the kitchen into “work” and “play” sections, allowing everyone to make the most of the space.
If you're planning on remodeling your kitchen or starting from scratch, it is the
perfect time to try to incorporate the kitchen work triangle into your space. The extra planning and money you spend will save you time and energy in the long run. Placing your appliances too close together can make your kitchen feel cramped, while spacing them too far apart makes preparing food a hassle. Keeping the kitchen work triangle in mind when remodeling will make a large difference.
If you have a small kitchen, like a 1-wall kitchen in an apartment for example, the kitchen work triangle may not be feasible. In this case, it's best to do everything else you can to make your kitchen work for you. Keep important appliances and frequently-used accessories and utensils close to one another for easy reach and use. Make the most of your cabinets by maximizing their storage space with pull-outs or door racks.