Any discussion on Kitchen Design will center on the ‘Kitchen Work Triangle’ or the ‘Kitchen Work Triangle Theory’. The former refers to the design and latter refers to the principles behind the design and the importance of the kitchen work triangle for optimally functional kitchens.

Kitchen Work Triangle –  the 3 things you need in it and the design dimensions:

  • The 3 points of the work triangle are the stove top/oven, the refrigerator and the sink. This is all you need in it. Placement of these appliances and fittings should be within triangle dimensions that allow for variations in the triangle size, but that still promotes easy and minimal movement between the 3 points of the triangle.
  • The length of each side should be a minimum of 4 feet on two sides and 5 feet on the last side, up to a maximum of 9 feet on two sides and 8 feet on the 3rd side. (The total length of all 3 sides added together should be a minimum of 13 feet and a maximum of 26 feet.)
  • Other appliances and preparation areas should ideally placed a minimum of four feet from closest point in the kitchen triangle.

Benefits of the Kitchen Work Triangle:

Applying the above principles ensures:

  • You don’t need to work around impediments in the kitchen
  • Minimal walking required between sink, stove and fridge
  • Aesthetically pleasing kitchen with optimal use of floor space
  • An optimally functional kitchen
  • Higher value on your home

The work triangle was originally created in the 1940s to optimize space usage and reduce the costs of new kitchens and kitchen remodels. This foundational principle still applies, but it ‘s relevance to the principles behind Kitchen Work Triangles has since been superseded by the main benefit of making your kitchen user-friendly – and truly functional.

Applying the work triangle principles also ensures that you don’t end up with silly design mistakes such as a refrigerator door that opens onto the stove, where you will be standing while cooking.

The principles of Kitchen Work Triangles make the triangle ideal as a central design feature for the layout of any size kitchen – no matter how big or small.  If you have space for nothing else, you can still opt for a correctly sized work triangle – with the correct balance of dimensions and the same user-friendly, efficiency and aesthetic benefits.

Incorporating kitchen islands into the Kitchen Work Triangle

Unless the stove top is incorporated into the island (as many are), kitchen islands can get in the way – protruding into the triangle area. According to best kitchen design principles, this protrusion is allowed up to 12 inches on one side of the triangle. Any more of an intrusion and the island will impede movement while you are cooking.

Kitchen Work Triangles add value to your home

Your kitchen is not only the most used room in the house, it’s also the most valuable. Kitchens can add huge value to your home, or detract significantly from it. If you don’t already have a correctly sized and placed kitchen work triangle in your old kitchen, you can be sure that a professional kitchen remodel will always include a work triangle.

If you are planning on a do-it-yourself kitchen remodel, ensure that you start your design with the kitchen work triangle.  It will save you money, ensure valuable functionality and – as a bonus – you’ll enjoy every minute you spend cooking! And all you need in it besides the 3 appliances and fittings that make up the 3 points are your what you need to cook.