Kitchen Designs - It Will Run You In Triangles

A well planned kitchen design makes even the least of chef's look good... at least in performing the task of meal preparation. The rule is that your kitchen should form a good work rotation between work stations. This is referred to as a "work triangle". If you draw a line between your range (stove), sink, and refrigerator, a triangle is or should be formed. This is where the "work triangle" term comes from.

The work triangle, as a rule of thumb, should be between 12 feet and 24 feet when you add up the three legs of the triangle. Kitchens can be designed in many fashions and are seen in varying layouts. Basic kitchen designs include the U-shaped, peninsula, L-shaped, one-wall, Corridor, and Island. Below are examples of U-shaped and L-shaped kitchen designs and work triangles.

work triangle.

Design your kitchen according to work stations

A well thought out kitchen design is efficient, inviting, and easily maintained. When preparing the layout, a designer must think in terms of function, traffic, and the location of equipment and appliances. In reference to function, we start with dividing the kitchen into three stations: 1) the storage and mixing station, 2) the preparation and cleaning station, and 3) the cooking station. The storage & mixing station houses the refrigerator as its major appliance. This is also a good area to locate your pantry near making easy access to gather the food items to prepare meals. The sink and dishwasher is included in the prep and cleaning station. This is where the food is prepared for cooking and requires generous counterspace for multi-tasking efforts. Lastly, the range or stove/oven configuration occupies the cooking station and complete the work spaces. Each area should have adequate counters for small appliances and work duties.

Keep traffic out of the kitchen work triangle

Traffic flow is an equally important factor to deal with when planning your home design and kitchen space. Nothing is worse than a kitchen that also acts as a hallway. If you have to travel through the kitchen's work space to get to another part of the house, you should consider another design option. The corridor designed kitchen which acts like a hallway, literally passing through the work space, is a good example of a bad kitchen. A Corridor kitchen is unsatisfactory, however, sometimes it is a necessary evil if space is limited in the home design. This is not to say that you cannot travel through the kitchen but, if traffic cuts through the area in which the work triangle exist, it disrupts the cooks work environment. Moving through the kitchen, away from the work area, is acceptable and good planning. Make sure your traffic lane is clear of the work area as much as possible.

Eliminate kitchen design flaws in the planning stages

Regardless of how a big or small a kitchen, top priority must be given to the planning phase so as to eliminate design flaws in the work stations and traffic pattern. Be sure that appliances are located in or at the proper work stations as stated earlier. If work stations are properly conceived, this makes for a good work triange and efficient meal executions. Remember, a good work triangle significantly reduce or eliminates normal house traffic within its domain.

Size and Shape

Small kitchens
Possible dimension arrangements: 7 to 10 feet in width, 8 to 12 feet in length (56 to 120 sf) Provides for basic food preparations with room for 1 to 2 persons to work comfortable. Ideal for Corridor, U-shaped, and L-shaped designs.

Midsized Kitchens
Possible dimension arrangements: 10 to 12 feet in width, 12 to 16 feet in length (120 to 192 sf) Offers a work environment for 1 to 3 people. With more room to work with, you are able to add an island for increased counter and work space on the upper end of the dimensions.

Large Family Kitchens
Possible dimension arrangements: 15 feet plus in width and 15 feet plus in length (225 sf or more) Room for a minimum 3 or more people as the kitchen size is increased. Allows for center islands, peninsula's, and other luxury arrangements.