How Work Triangles Work

Even if you’re an exercise fanatic, the place to be running marathons is not in your kitchen. That’s why the classic work triangle can be a key component to any well functioning kitchen layout. The goal of the work triangle is to place the three most common work sites:  the refrigerator, sink, and stove, the most efficient distance apart from each other.  When it’s time to prepare meals the distance you walk to grab veggies from the fridge to washing them in the sink to stir frying them on the stove should be several steps, not several yards. When you are done preparing a meal you shouldn’t be too exhausted to enjoy it

Proper placement is critical because if the three essential areas are too far apart you’ll be wasting steps and energy but if they are too close to each other you’ll have a cramped kitchen without any place to work.  Some basic rules of thumb for an optimal triangle are:
  • Each leg of the triangle should be between 4 and 9 feet
  • The total of all three legs should be between 12 and 26 feet
  • No obstructions (cabinets, islands, etc.) should intersect a leg of the work triangle
  • Household traffic should not flow through the work triangle 
An example of a work-triangle. Notice how the island is designed to give family and friends a place to visit without getting in the way of the cook.