The three main work areas in a kitchen are stove, sink, and refrigerator. As per the theory, they should form a triangle. The kitchen work triangle draws imaginary lines between the three work areas of the kitchen.
If the distance between the three elements is too far, then a lot of steps are wasted. If they are very near, then the kitchen feels crowded.
Even a beautifully designed kitchen could be impractical to use. The layout should be convenient and efficient for the cook. Efficiency is the primary goal of the kitchen work triangle. The idea is to cut traffic. The cook should be able to work smoothly without any obstructions. There should be no need to walk with heavy pots around in the kitchen.
Kitchen Work Triangle
Kitchen Work Triangle Basics
- The triangles each leg should be between the range of 4 to 9 feet
- The sum of all sides of the triangle should be between the range of 12-26 feet
- No traffic should intervene in the work triangle
- The distance between the refrigerator and the sink should be 4 to 7 feet. The distance between the sink and stove should be 4 to 6 feet, 4 to 9 feet distance between the stove and refrigerator.
Based on your taste and style, several designs are possible with the kitchen triangle.
Is the kitchen triangle theory out-of-style or still popular?
The theory was developed to provide comfort, efficiency, and ease of movement between the three stations. But the kitchen triangle has its problems.
The theory applies one cook in one kitchen practice. The kitchen was a separate room in the house earlier. Earlier this might have been true. But in modern households cooking activity is shared between the family members. Kids play or do their homework around in the kitchen. Guests come in to chat with the cook. The concept of the kitchen is now more than just the three work stations.
Modern kitchens have a wide range of functions than just cooking and cleaning. We dine and also work there. Nowadays charging points of tablets or mobiles are part of kitchen design. A bar area with seating arrangement is also becoming a part of kitchen designs. Kitchen layouts also include smart tv’s. So we require multi-functional kitchens. A flexible layout of the kitchen is essential to accommodate all the needs.
All homes may not be fit to accommodate the kitchen triangle. It is also not as per the guidelines of feng shui. The cooks back should not be facing the door of the kitchen.
The kitchen triangle is losing is popularity with changing needs and preferences. The open-concept kitchen is trending. These kitchens provide a better solution.
To overcome these issues, the work zone concept has developed. The work zone approach is an extension of the kitchen triangle theory.
A better way of planning the kitchen layout is by the work zones. Every task in the kitchen has a separate zone. There are three main zones that every kitchen has is preparing food, cooking, and cleaning. Extra zones may be required based on your home requirements. These zones could be baking, bar, eating area, working, studying, or watching TV.
Some work zones overlap even though we have separate zones for each task. Like sink or trash can are part of multiple work zones.
The idea behind these work zones is to maximize the space and comfort to use. These layouts would work around your tastes and preferences.
Preparing food zone
Prep zone consumes most of our time in the kitchen. Peeling, washing, chopping, and mixing all take place here.
Ample counter space is essential for the prep zone. The fridge, utensil storage, ingredients, and trash can should all be accessible.
A good layout is essential to combine all this.
The cooking zone is all the appliances required to cook. It includes the stove, microwave, oven, coffee machine, toaster, and warming drawer.
For comfort and ease of use, the cooking zone should be next to the prep zone. There should be space for putting hot pans.
Drawers should have all the essentials.
Cleaning activity is no fun. A proper set up can help in quickly finishing off the cleaning task. The cleaning zone includes the sink, dishwasher, and waste bins. The prep zone also requires waste bins. The cleaning zone should be in close vicinity of the prep zone.
Placing the cabinets close to the dishwasher is a good idea. Loading and unloading the dishwasher becomes easy, especially when handling glassware.
The idea is to reduce the number of steps in the kitchen. Keeping the safety in mind, the cook should not be carrying hot pans around.
Placing the clean zone near a window is recommended. It provides a pleasant view.
The zones may overlap when the kitchen space is limited. It still works well if each task has enough workspace.
The logic is to have a smooth workflow. The theory can be customized. Like the fridge can be placed separately from the prep zone. This approach provides flexibility in designing.
The best kitchen layout or design for you
The shape, size, and dimensions will determine the best design of the kitchen. Assessing the space is essential for a layout that allows smooth flow.
Some designers still like the kitchen triangle theory. It works well in older kitchens in old homes. The approach suits most of the layouts. Considering the kitchen triangle theory is advisable. But one should use it as a guiding framework.
As per the changing times, the kitchen triangle has changed its form to adapt to the changing demands. The work zone approach is a more practical and modern version of the kitchen triangle.
In the end, it’s your kitchen. Customizing the design based on your needs is necessary. Considering your lifestyle while designing the kitchen is also crucial. Weigh the pros and cons of the location of all the appliances. The fittest design should consider your lifestyle, function, use, comfort, and aesthetic preferences. Design your kitchen based on what suits you best.