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All About the Kitchen Work Triangle

Kitchen Geometry Blends Food Preparation Efficiency with Storage Space and Safety

© 2010 by Charlotte Cook; All rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without written permission.

A modern kitchen with a granite countertop island



When redesigning your kitchen, practicality is one of the most important things to consider. You need to create a functional space which makes cooking a pleasure, while the issue of safety should never be far from your mind. This is why the Kitchen Work Triangle (KWT) needs to be at the forefront of your plans.

If you are planning a renovation and are consulting with an architect or general contractor, quiz him to be sure he is familiar with the concepts laid out in this article. This is a big investment and you only have one chance to get it right.

Making the Kitchen Efficient and Safe

The KWT connects the three distinct areas of the kitchen – the cooking space, the sink space and the cold storage space. When preparing food, all three of these areas will need to be used so they need to be close together to increase efficiency.

The general recommendation is that no side of the triangle should be greater than nine feet in length.

Safety is an important aspect of the KWT. Carrying hot pans from the cooker to the sink or leaving them unattended while you get food from the fridge is a potential safety hazard.

This means the less distance between fridge, sink, and cooker, the better.

However, if any side of the triangle is less than four feet in length, the kitchen can become too cramped and this can increase the potential for accidents. After all, things are far more easily knocked in tight surroundings.

Merge Storage Space and Food Preparation Areas

It goes without saying that you must ensure that there are no obstacles in or around your KWT. This can reduce efficiency and increase the possibility of an accident.

If you are adopting a kitchen island into your design, you must consider how this could affect accessibility to the kitchen, fridge and sink. One possible way around this is incorporating one or more of these into the island itself along with additional kitchen cabinets for storage.

The final aspect to consider regarding your KWT is the width of your kitchen aisles (or ‘Galley’). These should be at least 42 inches wide to allow people to easily pass you. Again, if it is too cramped and people barge past whilst you are carrying a pan of hot soup, this could lead to disaster.

The fundamental concepts behind the Kitchen Work Triangle are safety and efficiency. Both go hand-in-hand as an efficient and safe work environment and is guaranteed to be a happy one.

There seems to be no end to the number of possible kitchen layouts. Some are user-friendly while others leave a lot to be desired. Have you “been there; done that”? Why not take a moment to share your experiences in the comment section below?

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