The “Kitchen Work Triangle” concept has been around for quite some time.  There are many ways to explain it, but in basic terms, it’s a design concept that dictates placement of the three main work areas of a kitchen (stove, sink, refrigerator).  It also helps define their relative positions and how much space should be between them for optimal function of a kitchen.

Kitchen Work Triangle


Many designers feel the triangle concept still serves a function, while others think the concept is dated and does not allow for multiple people to move around the kitchen together. We see both sides and land somewhere in the middle—it can be good to keep in mind, but it can also be stretched or even ignored if you have other ideas in mind with good reason.

Here are three factors to keep in mind when trying to decide if the Kitchen Triangle is right for your new kitchen.

1. Which Appliances and Kitchen Elements are Most Important to You?

First, which appliances or items do you use most when prepping and cooking? Most likely, the refrigerator, sink and stove still do play large roles in your time spent in the kitchen. Nowadays though, the oven is often separate from the stovetop. And specialized appliances are more important now than in the past. The location of microwave could be relevant to some families, too. Pay attention to what you cook with, and how you often move between elements and appliances within your kitchen. This will help you when it is time to do the layout of your new kitchen.

2. Does Your Space have Physical Limitations?

Secondly, and this applies more to re-models than new builds—what’s already set in your space? If your current kitchen was built around the kitchen work triangle theory, the plumbing and gas lines may already be set in places that create the triangle. Or if you have a galley kitchen and/or limited space, you may have less options to work with when it comes to functional design. If you’re looking to do simple update to the kitchen, major changes may not be feasible. However, if you’re starting fresh by doing a complete renovation, you may be able to move existing hook-ups, if the cost is worth it to you. Think it over and then talk with your designer and installers to confirm what’s possible.

3. How Do You and Your Family Move in the Kitchen?

Third, how do you and your family prepare meals? Is there usually more than one person cooking at a time? Or are you someone who loves to spend time in the kitchen alone, possibly baking or trying new recipes? Do you like to look out a window, possibly over the sink, or do you want to look into your main living space while using the sink? (Side note: if you choose the latter, consider how a pile of dishes could look in your sink if it’s front and center when entering the kitchen space!) Thinking about habits and the numbers of cooks in the kitchen will help you to envision what will work best for your individual needs.

Our Verdict on the Kitchen Work Triangle: Yes and No

So is the kitchen work triangle still a big part of kitchen design? We say yes and no!

At Mariotti Building Products, we’re more focused on helping you design a kitchen that works for YOU. We’ll ask how you move about the kitchen, what appliances or spaces you use most often, and any possibilities or limitations of the kitchen space. Then we’ll help you design a layout and flow that works for you and your family, no matter what the shape.

Want to talk to a designer about the options for your kitchen? Stop by our showroom in Old Forge, or use our Kitchen Wishlist to start recording your preferences and set an appointment with a designer.

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