The Work Triangle


Underrated, unloved and misunderstood
is the Kitchen Work Triangle

Much like the Bermuda Triangle, this area has been the location for untold accidents, communication failures and thousands of unreported mishaps. A simple shape, described as an imaginary straight line drawn from the center of the sink, to the center of the cooktop, to the center of the refrigerator and back to the sink.


Efficiency, of course, is the triangle’s purpose, keeping all the major work areas near the cook, without becoming cramped. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) lists the following as guidelines in achieving an efficient kitchen.

• The triangle’s three sides should should not exceed 26 ft total.
• It should not cut through an island or peninsula.
• No traffic pattern from out of kitchen within the triangle.

The idea is efficiency, but your kitchen is so much more than that. As you design and think about what’s important, consider all the jobs your kitchen does for your family, how many people might be in there at any given time and if the room will be a center for traffic. This triangle should never be in the path of anyone going from point A to point B.

And, if you entertain frequently, you really need to consider the kitchen triangle, as there’s nothing worse for gatherings than people constantly bumping into each other and tripping over other guests. If you are completely remodeling the kitchen, put this triangle in your plans. You’ll be glad you did.

The illustrations above assume a kitchen will have only three major work areas and one primary cook. In many houses today, however, two or even more people share cooking duties. Because of this and other issues, designers do not always play by the triangle’s rules when it comes to drafting kitchen plans. Its important to keep in mind the functionality of the triangle, but in the end, this idea shouldn’t be the priority in your kitchen plan. Adhere if you can.

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Updated: September 8, 2013 — 11:13 pm

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