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The Kitchen Work Triangle – What, where & how

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The Kitchen Work Triangle – What, Where & How?

In the backdrop of the ever-expanding demand for modern housing and the corresponding lack of space, it has become exceedingly important and relevant for architects and interior designers to make efficient use of the available space. The kitchen is one of the most often used rooms in our homes,, second sometimes only to our bedrooms, the need for efficient and optimal layout and design has become a key consideration in present times. And the most important aspect to keep in mind when doing this is intelligently planning out the KITCHEN WORK TRIANGLE.

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What is it you ask?

As we all know, the most often used interior components of a kitchen are the sink, cooktop or stove and the refrigerator. The theoretical lines between the spaces occupied by these components form the kitchen work triangle.

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Where?

Most modern residential kitchens are single user kitchens and therefore are planned accordingly. There are a number of layouts for a kitchen and the most commonly used layouts are as follows:-

One Wall/Pullman Kitchen – as the name suggests, all appliances in this type of kitchen layout are placed along the same wall and as such, it becomes impossible to form a kitchen work triangle.

Galley Kitchen – This kitchen type is the most efficient in terms of utilization of space. This layout is characterized by two countertops on either side of a walkway. Here, you will find that two components of the kitchen work triangle or along one wall and comprise part of the same countertop and the third is on the other. Most open kitchens use this layout as it provides for a very lean flow of movement.

L-shaped Kitchen – This layout also makes use of two countertops although, they are connected to each other in such a way that they form an L-shape or a right angle. Here, the corner spaces are also made use of and can sometimes become a little more complicated and expensive in trying to make the best use of space.

U-shaped/Horseshoe Kitchen – This type of kitchen layout is basically a galley kitchen which also has third countertop that connects the two other countertops on either side of the walkway. Here one countertop is always against a wall and the other two countertops can be enclosed by walls or be left open to more than one side and can thus accommodate more than one cook. This kitchen layout can accommodate the most number of different combinations for a kitchen work triangle and are generally used in larger spaces.

Kitchen Islands & Peninsulas – The use of kitchen islands & peninsulas in conjunction with any of the above layouts can also help in maximizing the efficiency of space and movement within the kitchen. They are generally used in larger kitchens and provide for more counter space and easier definition of multiple kitchen zones if planned and used effectively.

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How to best plan a kitchen work triangle?

There are many things to take into consideration when planning out your kitchen layout. And to best utilize the space available for any given requirement, there are certain factors to keep in mind. Some of them are listed below as follows:-

Measurements – As we have read above, the kitchen work triangle is made up of the imaginary lines drawn between the stove, refrigerator and sink. Keeping these three appliances as vertices of that triangle, there is an optimum range of measurements that determine the length of each side or in more accurate terms, the distance between each of these appliances. The distance between these three appliances should be within 4 to 9 feet and the total length of the path covered by these three appliances should be between 13 and 26 feet.

Space – Most kitchens in apartments range from 50sqft. to over 200 sqft., depending on the type of project and the appropriate square footage that has been designated for the kitchen area. Taking into account the measurement parameters given above the kitchen work triangle must be structured in such a way that the flow of movement should be unhindered.

Walls – The number of walls available within the space allocated for a kitchen plays a vital role in determining the layout of the kitchen and thereby, the kitchen work triangle.

Numbers of cooks – Most home kitchens are used by just one cook and thus have given rise for some interior designers that have optimized a handful of different layouts which make the best use of space.

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