We use shapes to design our kitchens. Our cabinets are rectangles; our stove is square, and the kitchen itself is a four-sided room. However, the workplace needs to be a triangle. Although an imagined one, it needs to be designed around functionality.
The “work triangle” is well-defined as a fictional line drawn from the midpoint of the sink to the middle of the cooktop, to the midpoint of the refrigerator and lastly back to the sink. Each leg of the triangle should be between four and nine feet. The sum of all three sides added together should never exceed twenty-six feet. The work triangle should not be inhibited by an island or a peninsula that is more than twelve inches. This can impede the workflow and cause issues with productivity. When a kitchen only has one sink, the sink should be placed across from the cooking surface or preparation area. This allows easy access to clean and fix meals. To increase flow and productivity, no traffic patterns should cross the triangle.
Your lifestyle determines the functionality of your kitchen. Some people like to put their stove and refrigerator right beside each other while others opt to put them on different ends of the kitchen. It’s how you cook, and there is no right or wrong answer. The theory behind the work triangle is to minimize traffic while someone is in the kitchen trying to cook. This is great for a restaurant too. When servers are coming in and out, and there is much activity, the cook needs to be able to cook without being inhibited by all the outside commotion. Commercial freezers, cutting tables, stoves and other equipment must have logical order in order to optimize the cooking process.
Even though the triangle space is supposed to be the best layout, it can have some flaws. In large areas, the triangle just isn’t possible. If there is more than one person sharing the cooking duties, designers don’t use the triangle rules because the traffic problem is already an issue. The standard triangle does create the most efficient kitchen space, but it isn’t always the only answer. This design idea is not a law for kitchens; it is only a suggestion of how to make the function flow better. It is a helpful tool, but don’t let that inhibit you from stepping outside the box to design an excellent kitchen area.