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Kitchen Layout and the “Work Triangle”

The kitchen is the heart of the home and is often bustling with family and friends. As anyone who has prepared a meal in a kitchen that is poorly designed knows, it is frustrating to bump into people and obstacles or to have to move from one area of the kitchen to another when you are trying to get dinner on the table. Kitchens that are designed properly have placed the necessary elements of a kitchen in the right place, referred to as the work triangle, to provide the benefits of safety, proximity, and efficiency. This is an important consideration during the planning phase of any kitchen renovation.

What is the kitchen work triangle?

Think of the kitchen as having three primary stations or work zones: the cleaning area consisting of the dishwasher and sink, the cooking area containing the cooktop and oven, and cold storage in the refrigerator and freezer. As defined by the National Kitchen and Bath Association, the work triangle is an imaginary line drawn from the center of the sink, to the center of the cooktop, to the center of the refrigerator, and back to the sink. The sum of the triangle’s three sides should not exceed 26 feet, and each side should be between 4 and 9 feet. This triangle should be considering when selecting appliances and designing cabinetry which provides the necessary storage and design elements to the kitchen.

What is the purpose of the kitchen work triangle?

The work triangle is intended to improve safety, proximity, and efficiency in the kitchen. With regards to safety, it is important to place the sink close enough to the cooking area in the event you need to remove over-boiling pots or hot utensils, but far enough away to prevent splashing that can cause fires. Proximity is important because it allows food preparation tasks to be completed without traveling from one end of the kitchen to another. The refrigerator should be accessible to the food prep area, the food prep area should be accessible to the sink and the stove, and the sink and dishwasher should be near one another to aid in clean up. By utilizing the work triangle, the meals can be efficiently prepared in a dedicated space that makes it easier to perform specific task with all materials close at hand.

Once the kitchen work triangle is established, what is next?

Now that the practicality of kitchen design in your remodeling project has been handled, it is time to select appliances and cabinets that improve the functionality and design of your kitchen. Whether you want high tech appliances or just the basics, appliances should be selected based on your budget and your style selections within the parameters of your kitchen triangle.

Cabinetry is not just about storage – it is an essential element to your kitchen’s style and the overall appeal and value of your home. To design the perfect kitchen, it is important to know what is important to you with regard to storage needs, wood selections, colors and finishes, and lighting options to ensure that you build the kitchen of your dreams. Serving the San Francisco Bay area, the experts at C3 Cabinetry offer competitive prices on installation of high-quality solid wood cabinetry to meet the needs of any kitchen renovation.

Jeni C. Powell is a freelance writer who specializes in blog posts, website content, summary and analysis, and editing. Her industry related strengths include Marketing, Education, Home Living, Construction, Legal, and Parenting. Please visit her website at

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