Kitchen Trends: Work Zones vs Triangle

Detailed White Kitchen by Lori May Interiors
Detailed White Kitchen by Lori May Interiors

Kitchen work triangles has been the standard bearer for kitchen layouts for many years with the refrigerator, range and sink being placed 4 to 9 feet apart, forming a roughly equilateral triangle.

Back when kitchens were generally smaller and closed off, before it became the meeting hub of the home, the triangle was an efficient use of space.

Transitional Kitchen by RI Kitchen & Bath
Transitional Kitchen by RI Kitchen & Bath

Although still a useful layout today, it is not always practical now that kitchens can run the gamut from tiny single-wall galleys to large open-plans that are more suited to think in terms of work zones.

It makes sense that as kitchens have grown in size and favoring an open floor plan to other rooms in the house the traditional triangle has become more of a challenge. Also, large kitchens tend to have more appliances – from dishwashers strategically placed within work zones to extra sinks, microwaves, separate cooktops and/or wall ovens.

Kitchens by Ken Ryan
Kitchens by Ken Ryan

Work zones can create efficiency in larger kitchens especially if you have more than one cook or host activities that involve more than one participant in the kitchen.

Planning your work zones can bring huge benefits by incorporating some of the ideas below:

Group appliances and fixtures according to use. Every family has different priorities in the use of their kitchen space. Think about the tasks you perform everyday from how you prep and store food, cooking, baking, serving, eating, making coffee or tea, chilling wine and cleaning. I have a client who has provided a breakfast bar zone equipped with a refrigerated drawer that can store items for morning shakes.

Store what you need where you need it most. Instead of using your pantry, mudroom or garage as an extension of storage space group appliances and fixtures according to use by giving yourself enough storage in each work zone.

Transitional Kitchen by Crisp Architects
Transitional Kitchen by Crisp Architects

Provide landing areas next to major appliances. Counter top landing is essential for safety and efficiency. The area next to the range, cook top, microwave and wall ovens allow you to quickly set items down without having to walk across your kitchen.

Create a kid’s zone. Kids need their space in the kitchen where they can hang out, have snacks and do homework. When a zone is created for them you can complete your tasks without tripping over them.

Social and entertainment zone for guests. If you entertain often an area where the guests can hang out in the kitchen makes entertaining fun and light while you prepare or complete the food and drinks. A large island or peninsula works well for this as it acts as a natural barrier.

Kitchen by Kitchen Design Ideas
Kitchen by Kitchen Design Ideas

Widen the aisles. A wonderful and easy adjustment to make in the planning stages of building a new home or renovating an existing kitchen. The recommended minimum aisle width is 42 inches. If you have multiple cooks consider 48 inch aisles although you can go as wide as 54 inches if it doesn’t create inefficiency by making you spend more time walking than cooking!

Source: Houzz, Inc.

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Welcome to my design blog! I believe that great design begins with inspiration, creativity and knowledge all wrapped up in a passion for creating beautiful interiors that complement our lifestyles. From practical to functional luxury interiors my hope is that you will leave our site inspired to incorporate design trends into your own projects!

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