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Thinking Outside (or Inside) the Work Triangle

The work triangle consists of an arrangement of three work areas—the refrigerator, the stove, and the sink—that are intended to make kitchen work easier. How can you utilize the work triangle idea in your modern kitchen? Here are some suggestions from the designers of the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

Consider work triangle spacing

The work triangle concept has inspired kitchen design since the 1940s. Placing the sink, stove, and refrigerator at opposite points saved on building materials and allowed the cook to move from cooking to cleaning to storage with a simple step-and-turn. If the three work areas are too close to each other, multiple people working in the kitchen together can get in each other’s way.

At the same time, placing these three zones too far away from each other and your work becomes a bit more tiring and time-consuming. Each leg of the work triangle should measure between 4 and 9 feet in length.

Double up your work areas

Have the luxury of a larger kitchen? Consider including two complimentary work triangles in different parts of the kitchen, so multiple cooks can work together simultaneously. Initially, the kitchen triangle was built around a single cook, but cooking has become more of a communal activity; having two distinct work areas might make more sense for your family.

One growing trend is multiple refrigerators: having the traditional standup model and one in a bar or island.

Clear paths within the triangle

Trash bins, cabinets, and dishwashers shouldn’t block the path from one part of the triangle to another. Help keep the pathways clear by opting for smaller paired doors for cabinetry, rather than larger single doors that can swing out to create obstacles.

Avoid major traffic flow through the triangle. Some kitchens double as pass-throughs from one room of the house to another. Make sure that you preserve a dedicated path that keeps your triangle reserved for cooking.

Kohler presents several floor plan ideas in the work triangle examples below.

Improve Your Kitchen’s Efficiency with Help From Our Showroom Consultants

As kitchens have continued to evolve, whether your floor plan is straight, U-shaped, or L-shaped, chances are there is still a triangle at its heart. Save time and energy by implementing work triangles in your kitchen. Get help from our showroom consultants by calling 610-409-8500.

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