What is the Kitchen Work Triangle?

August 24, 2018

Welcome to our design blog!

Today, we will be talking about the importance of the work triangle in your kitchen.


Have you ever felt that your kitchen is cramped or difficult to work in? Kitchens can be a difficult space to design because functional kitchens require a delicate balance of proximity and mobility. Within kitchen design, the work triangle is an essential standard we use to ensure we design the best kitchen for our clients. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, the work triangle is an set of imaginary lines drawn from the center of the sink, to the center of the range, to the center of the fridge, and back to the center of the sink. This standard is widely used by designers as a guide for creating the most efficient kitchen for their clients.

 

The National Kitchen and Bath Association also has a set of criteria the triangle must follow: 

  1.  The sum of the work triangle's three sides should not exceed 26 feet. With that, each side of the triangle should measure between 4 and 9 feet long.

  2. The work triangle should not cut through an island or peninsula by more than 1 foot. 

  3. If the kitchen has one sink, it should be placed between or across from the cooking surface, prep area, or fridge. 

  4. No major traffic areas should cross through the triangle. 

 

Let's see how these criteria apply to a few example kitchen designs!

 

 

 

Example A

  1. The sum of the triangle sides is just over 20', fitting in the 26' limit recommendation. However, the line from the sink to the fridge (10') exceeds the recommended distance.

  2. The work triangle does not intersect an island or peninsula.

  3. The sink is across from the island which is used as a prep area.

  4. The triangle does not come into contact with any major traffic path.

 

Example B

  1. The sum of the triangle sides fits very comfortably within 26'. The distance from the fridge to the range does not meet the 4' minimum distance suggestion. 

  2. The work triangle does not intersect an island or peninsula.

  3. The sink is across from the peninsula which is used as a prep area.

  4. The triangle does not come into contact with any major traffic path.

 

Example C

  1. The sum of the triangle sides is about 18', which is under 26'. Also, each individual side fits within the 4'-9' range. 

  2. The work triangle does not intersect an island or peninsula.

  3. A prep area is not directly across from the sink.

  4. The triangle does intersect the path from the sliding deck doors to the rest of the house, which is a major traffic area. 

 

Within the three example kitchens we examined, we did not find one that successfully met every criteria suggested by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Since the majority of our projects are remodels, we often encounter more constraints than you would typically find in a new build. Although our designs might not meet every suggested criteria in the work triangle standard, we enjoy the challenge of bending new spaces with older ones in order to create better living experiences for our clients.

 

Test the work triangle standards in your own kitchen and comment below what you find!

 

 

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