Cornerstone Blog

Kitchen Layouts: Essential Work Triangle


What is the Essential Work Triangle?

An efficient kitchen layout centers on a good work triangle. An essential work triangle has one underlying goal that is built around efficiency. This has always been an important element of a kitchen’s design and functionality. Many kitchen designers point out the effective “work triangle” which keeps the three key appliances-fridge, oven, and sink/dishwasher within handy, unobstructed reach of each other and also allows for an efficient functional kitchen. Simply put, you should be able to draw an “imaginary” triangle between these three workstations:

  • Oven
  • Fridge
  • Sink/dishwasher

Designing an Effective Kitchen Work Triangle

We did some research and found online that the model was developed in the 1940’s to address kitchen efficiency between major kitchen workstations. “The work triangle was developed by the University of Illinois School of Architecture to emphasize cost reduction by standardizing construction.” In the article supplied by the National Kitchen and Bath Association it stated a few important key points:

  1. No leg of the triangle should be less than 4 feet or more than 9 feet.
  2. The sum of all three sides of the triangle should be between 13 feet and 26 feet.
  3. Cabinets or other obstacles should not intersect any leg of the triangle by more than 12 inches.
  4. If possible, there should be no major traffic flow through the triangle – Nothing is more irritating than having people in your way when you’re trying to cook.
  5. A full-height obstacle, such as a tall cabinet, should not come between any two points of the triangle.

There is an illustration from Kohler that lays out the different kitchen floor plans and work triangles for ideas on how you can improve a kitchen’s efficiency. Check it out! Of course there are going to be flaws with the work triangle in todays day and time. Kitchen’s today have more than three major workstations and typically there is more than one person cooking in the kitchen. An example of why this is has been explained by Households are placing a greater emphasis on kitchens; more upscale features and products are being exploited. Kitchen now have a multitude of functions; designed to accommodate everyone in the household.

We want you to remember one thing; your lifestyle should determine the functionality of your kitchen, period. The work triangle is simply a suggestion not a law to abide by. Our designers at Cornerstone will be sure to design your kitchen with functionality and efficiency in mind, while focusing on what works best for you.

Contact us today!