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How to Set Up a Kitchen Work Triangle

If you’re about to undertake a kitchen remodel, odds are you’ve heard a lot about the kitchen work triangle. Although it’s often hailed by designers as the best way to set up a kitchen, the concept of the kitchen work triangle can be intimidating.In reality, it’s a relatively simple idea that can save time and energy. In simple terms, the kitchen work triangle connects the three main work areas in the kitchen: the sink, the range and the refrigerator. But even though understanding this concept can be incredibly helpful, you can allow your design to bend the rules to suit your purposes.

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What is the kitchen work triangle?

The concept for the kitchen work triangle was developed in the 1940s, a time when kitchens were very small and appliances were generally very large. The kitchen was looked at as a space where only cooking took place.

The kitchen work triangle connects the three main work areas in the kitchen — the sink, the range, and the refrigerator. As a general guideline, the distance between these areas should be no less than 4 feet and no larger than 9 feet. The sum of all three sides of the triangle should be between 13 feet and 26 feet. If the distance is too small, it can make a kitchen feel cramped and blocked. If it’s too large, it makes cooking a hassle.

Why should you think about it?

Even though it’s a 70-year-old rule, the work triangle is still something to keep in mind when you’re redesigning a kitchen. Keeping a certain amount of space between the main working areas makes cooking much easier and helps keep traffic in the workspace to a minimum.

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How will this work in your kitchen?

1. Think about how well you get around in your current kitchen.
What frustrates you in your kitchen? What causes problems while you’re working? What could be added or removed with few changes and a limited budget? Thinking about what bothers you the most will help you figure out how to organize your kitchen workspaces within the triangle format.At the time the kitchen work triangle was created there was no space for decoration or entertaining in the kitchen. Now, kitchens are much larger. They’ve become the hub of the home and often share space with dining and living rooms for easy entertaining.If you’re redesigning a kitchen, odds are you’ll need to take entertaining, eating and doing homework into account. By keeping your main cooking areas confined to one part of the kitchen, you’ll be able to make use of other spaces without any conflicts.

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2. Measure your current kitchen work triangle (if you have one), and think about how much you’d need to add or take away for it to work more efficiently.
Keep in mind that the lengths of the triangle don’t have to be completely even. The shape of your triangle will differ depending on what kind of kitchen shape you have.Besides the recommended distance between the points of the work triangle, the most important thing to keep in mind is to make sure that the lines of the triangle aren’t blocked by anything. Trash cans, islands and other kitchen necessities in the wrong place can end up making cooking harder.

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3. Take additional functions into account when determining your work triangle.
Because so many modern kitchens have become multipurpose rooms, it’s important to really think about what functions you want your kitchen to serve. Determining whether you want a desk, homework place, bar, large island, multiple sinks and so on can help you figure out exactly how to position your work triangle.Adequate prep space is often forgotten because it’s not explicitly included in the work triangle equation. It’s usually a good idea to have one prep space near the sink and one near the stove. Put utensils, pots and spices near the stove for easy cooking — it’ll save additional steps.

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4. Make adjustments and design decisions that fit your kitchen best — there are no set rules.
Above all else, you want your kitchen to work for you. While the kitchen work triangle is a great guide, by no means is it set in stone. You may have to design a kitchen with everything on a single wall — in which case the work triangle would be impossible to set up. Just be sure to pay close attention to each and every measurement when setting up your kitchen workspace— a few inches can make a big difference, especially in small kitchens.