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The Work Triangle Within Kitchen Design – what is a work triangle and how it should be utilised.

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The kitchen is one of the most important
rooms in a home and is the place where you do a fair amount of work on a
daily basis. Due to the amount of traffic and usage a kitchen entails it is
important that the design of your kitchen is perfect for you so it is wise
to be aware of the fundamental kitchen design principles and elements
involved; this is where the work triangle comes into play.

If you need some help there are companies
around who offer assistance and, in some cases, even provide a
free kitchen design service.

What is the work triangle?

When designing your new kitchen have you
stumbled across the term ‘The Work Triangle’? Many interior designers
use this phrase when they talk about the kitchen.

plan of work triangle

The work triangle
means the distance between the three important parts to a kitchen –
the fridge, sink and oven.

In order to obtain a
brilliant work triangle the distance between these three work
stations is kept fairly small to ensure that you don’t have to walk
far when you’re cooking e.g. from the sink/work surface to the oven
and back to the fridge.

The work triangle is one of the fundamental
principles to have in mind when designing your new kitchen and the three
sides of the triangle should be between 3600mm and 6600mm.

Kitchen storage

Wall and floor kitchen cabinets usually
come in the same widths, for example a single cupboard can start at 20cm and
increase to 60cm and a double kitchen cabinet will measure 120cm.

Wall kitchen cabinets are normally 30cm
deep, it is a good idea to place your wall cabinets 45cm above the
work surface otherwise you won’t be able to utilise the space underneath or,
if placed higher, you won’t be able to reach anything inside your kitchen

It is really important to think about the
measurements and placement of your storage area first as the other integral
pieces to your work triangle will fit in around your storage area. 
Most appliances are made to the same dimensions as floor cabinets which
makes it easier to integrate them within your design.

Where does everything go?

When designing your new kitchen with the
work triangle in mind it may be confusing when you have to decide where to
put your appliances.

  • Dishwashers should be placed near the
    sink and as close to the plumbing of the kitchen as possible. When
    siting a dishwasher it is imperative to ensure that it will be possible
    to open the door once installed e.g. it isn’t a good idea to place the
    dishwasher in a corner.
  • The oven shouldn’t be placed near windows or curtains and you should
    make sure that there are plenty of work surfaces available around it.
    Make sure you don’t place the hob under any kitchen cabinets unless you
    install an extractor fan underneath the storage area. The oven should be
    placed at least 30cm away from a corner to allow the door to open easily
    although many oven doors now have a hinge along the bottom allowing the
    door to drop down, it just depends on which type of oven appliance you
    choose for your kitchen.

  • The fridge and freezer should adhere to the work triangle rule
    although there aren’t any special places for them to be placed within
    the kitchen, just make sure that there is enough space so that the door
    is easy to open and close. It is also important to remember that the
    fridge and freezer door needs to be able to open wide enough to allow
    the removal of drawers.

  • When placing your sink, make sure it is near the plumbing of the
    kitchen and that there is a minimum of 1 meter space for it. Most people
    place the sink under the kitchen window to make washing pots and pans a
    more enjoyable chore.

Hints and tips

  • It is important to place your work triangle where there
    isn’t a traffic flow as this would disrupt the efficiency of the
    work triangle.

  • The work triangle shouldn’t cut through a kitchen island by
    more than 12 inches.

  • It is possible to have more than one work triangle if you
    have a large kitchen.
  • overhead view of work triangle

    The work triangle is a design secret that
    enables efficiency and a better flow for the busiest room in the house. It
    makes cooking a more enjoyable task and you won’t be wasting energy on
    traipsing around the kitchen or parlour for your herbs and spices.

    Turning your kitchen into an ergonomically
    correct space enhances the productivity in the kitchen and keeps it a
    cleaner and tidier space too.