Kitchen Work Triangle

Is the Work Triangle in Your Kitchen Outdated?

The work triangle

The work triangle

If you ever thought of renovating or redesigning your kitchen, I am sure you heard of the “Work triangle”.

What is it really? According to the Universal Design Principles, it should adhere to the following:

  • No leg of the triangle should be less than 4 feet or more than 9 feet.
  • The sum of all three sides of the triangle should be between 13 feet and 26 feet.
  • Cabinets or other obstacles should not intersect any leg of the triangle by more than 12 inches
  • There should be no major traffic flow through the triangle.
  • A tall cabinet should not come between any two points of the triangle.

Check these parameters and see how it applies to your own kitchen today. Kitchen designers in the United States used this kitchen triangle for the last 60 to 70 years. You may remember the days of affordable housing, when only one person cooked, cleaned, ironed and served the family meals. This many years ago, the kitchen was considered a working area only. At this time we could not afford larger kitchens as we can now.

Today, the kitchen has a multitude of additional functions. It is not only the place to prepare meals, it very often doubles as an eating place and a gathering place as well. With both spouses working a job outside the house, the kitchen very often has more than one cook to prepare and serve meals. This means the 42 inches normally required for working between cabinets has to be larger to accommodate two persons multitasking in the kitchen. This is possible by modern technology, which has invaded the kitchen environment.

That is why our beloved work triangle in the kitchen comes into question nowadays. It still can work as a basis of design to reduce unnecessary steps, but other factors, not available and not even thought of in the 1940s have, to be considered:

An island has come into focus several years ago, which can be incorporated, if space allows and if it does not interfere with the flow of traffic, considering the triangle.

A raised area along the back of the kitchen cabinets is the way to go nowadays, to get a quick bite to eat before rushing out to work or to play.

Today we can buy semi prepared or fully prepared food in the grocery store, which was not possible 60 years ago. Because of this fact we can come up with different areas in the kitchen: one zone is to prepare the food for cooking and another to prepare and wash raw food and vegetables. We may incorporate an addional refrigerator into the island and part of the island could have a drawer unit, which could be stocked with items for socializing purposes.

Contrary to the past, an open kitchen design is the norm today. The gathering place, where family and guests just “hang around”, is simply the area where the food is in reach. The modern person in the kitchen wants to be participating and interact with the folks around him or her. The idea of the cook being isolated in the kitchen is long history. An intermediate solution in the past few decades was an opening in the kitchen wall, where food could be handed through to the dining area. Both the opening in the kitchen wall and the formal dining room are a thing of the past as well. An open environment, from where the folks in the kitchen area can overlook and interact with the folks in the dining area, which can also be multi functional, is the way to go nowadays.

Are you ready for a remodeling project?

About Wolfgang

I love to design residential homes, and for that matter, any building. Creating a structure, putting the thoughts on paper, generate a construction drawing any builder can work from, following the building process and seeing the finished physical product - that excites me over and over again. I did project work and site management for all sizes of industrial manufacturing plants, working with people of all backgrounds and languages in Europe, Africa and Asia. Now I am downsizing, working as a solo entrepreneur in an active resort community in western North Carolina, designing easy living homes for customers looking forward to their later years in life. See their many testimonials how they like my work.
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