Odds are you've heard about the kitchen work triangle before. It's often regarded by designers as the best way to set up a kitchen, and the idea has been around for over 70 years.

The goals of a good kitchen work triangle are to place the three most common work sites, the refrigerator (cold storage work site), the sink (cleaning/prep work site), and the stove (cooking work site) at the most efficient distance apart and to minimize traffic through the work zone to make cooking easier. If you place these too far away from each other you waste a lot of steps while preparing a meal. If they are too close to each other you have a cramped kitchen without any place to work.

The concept for the kitchen work triangle was developed in the 1940s, a time when kitchens were small and appliances were large. Now, kitchens are much larger and have become the mecca for entertaining in the home.

There are some basics to consider when planning your kitchen work triangle.

  • Each leg of the triangle should be between 4 and 9 feet
  • The total of all three legs should be between 12 and 26 feet
  • No obstructions (cabinets, islands, etc.) should intersect a leg of the work triangle
  • Household traffic should not flow through the work triangle

The kitchen work triangle is a simple idea that can save time and energy. If you’re looking for the most efficient kitchen design, consider an L-shaped kitchen. The two walls work naturally to form a kitchen work triangle that will offer maximum flexibility in the arrangement of appliances and work stations. If you’re limited on space, consider using a small cart or island for extra work space. If you have the extra space, place your sink, dishwasher, or cooktop on an island. The other side can create an eat-up bar. While some may view the kitchen work triangle as an outdated idea, it will be a long-standing concept of efficiency when cooking. Planning kitchen layout can be a challenge, but the rewards you’ll reap when creating your annual Thanksgiving feast will prove to be very much worth the time and effort.