When it comes to kitchen design, most people spend months hunting down the perfect backsplash tiles, scour home renovation stores for gorgeous cabinet doors and give up their weekends to antagonize over the grain patterns of hardwood floors. If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then designing one can be akin to surviving a mild heart attack!
However, besides the obstacles you may face in your quest for the most aesthetically-pleasing space, there is another very important aspect that some people forget altogether and that is the concept of the “working triangle.”
Take a moment and visualize your kitchen. In what area do you keep most of your food? Where do you house the dishwasher or head to when it’s time to wash the dishes? Finally, what space do you use to do most of your food preparation and cooking? Now visualize imaginary lines running from each area to the next—do you see a triangle forming?
The working triangle is a design concept that emphasizes the distance between the 3 major work zones in any kitchen or simply put the space between the stove, fridge and sink, and in a perfect world these spaces would be equal distances. If you want to get technical about it, the space from the sink to the stove to the refrigerator and back again should not be less than 12 feet or more than 27 feet. Each part of the triangle should measure between 4 and 9 feet in length. And, if you have a kitchen island, there should be at least a 42 to 48” wide aisle on every side to make it easy to walk around and to give appliances enough breathing room so the doors don’t collide with the island when opened.
Of course, few kitchens can actually achieve a perfect working triangle and some spaces make it impossible to achieve any at all. If you have a single-wall kitchen try to make sure the sink is placed between the refrigerator and the stove and that the door opens away from the sink. A galley kitchen can benefit from placing the kitchen cabinets on the opposite side of the appliances for a better work flow. Also, try closing off one entrance with a decorative screen to avoid traffic issues or simply place the fridge near one entrance so it is easy to access without bothering the cook.
For the most part, the working triangle’s main objective is to minimize the number of steps it takes you to get to each one of the work zones, thereby making your space easier to manoeuvre and in turn making you more efficient. It’s something important to keep in mind as it will make for a much more enjoyable kitchen experience—even if the backsplash ends up clashing with the hardwood…