Kitchen Work Triangle FAQs
What is the kitchen work triangle?
The kitchen work triangle is a term created to define the efficiency of the kitchen. Traditionally, it measures and suggests the relationship between the sink, the stove and the refrigerator which are the primary work centers in the kitchen. The work triangle consists of three imaginary straight lines drawn between these work centers to form the shape of a triangle. The legs of the triangle should measure no longer than 9 feet and no shorter than 4 feet. In today’s kitchen, the addition of other commonly used appliances (dishwasher, microwave, etc.) presents the opportunity for secondary work triangles.
When was the kitchen triangle invented and by whom?
The idea of a more efficient kitchen, surprisingly, began in the 1920’s. Not surprising, it was a woman by the name of Lillian Moller Gilbreth who first thought to pay some attention to the workhorse room of the house. Lillian is considered by many to be the first “superwoman,” filling both the role of mother and having a full-time career outside of the house. Despite being the mother of 12, she admittedly didn’t cook. An industrial psychologist and engineer, she spent most of her time in the lab studying time to perform tasks, motion associated with those tasks, and the human factors also known as ergonomics.
How does the kitchen triangle work?
It can be used determine the efficiency of a kitchen by mapping out the three main appliances; in most cases the sink, stove, and refrigerator, suggesting you should be able to draw an uninterrupted triangle between the three. Each leg of the triangle must fall between 4 and 9 feet making for the most efficient amount of steps when cooking. The triangle theory can be used with any 3 commonly used appliances to create sub-triangles. For instance, the prep sink – microwave – refrigerator, or the main sink- wall oven- refrigerator etc.
When considering the design of a kitchen it is important to consider how people will use the kitchen (their traffic patterns) and when possible avoid having any significant traffic cross through the work triangles. In other words, avoid interrupting the cook while at work, unless you want to get slapped with a spatula.
How big should the kitchen work triangle be?
The idea behind the usefulness of the kitchen triangle is that the fewer steps you take the quicker you can accomplish your task. If you think about how many steps it takes to get to the refrigerator every time you need an ingredient it starts to make sense. Depending on your size, (taller people can cover larger distances faster) it is suggested that the legs(sides) of the triangle should fall between 4 and 9 feet.
Read more about kitchen work triangle considerations for homeowners that are remodeling their kitchens.