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5 Things to Know About Kitchen Work Triangles

Aug 13, 2014 2 min read

5 Things to Know About Kitchen Work Triangles

1. The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) defines a “work triangle” as an invisible line that runs from the center of the sink to the cook top surface, to the refrigerator, and back to the sink center. The NBKA also suggests that all three sides of the triangle be no longer than 26 feet, or that the distance between any two points be between 4 and 9 feet.  If the distances between points are too small it can feel cramped. However, if the distances are too long, cooking can get exhausting.

2. The work triangle was developed in the 1940’s when kitchens were only used for cooking and appliances were quite large in comparison to the workspace.  Decorating and entertaining were for other rooms in the home.  Now, kitchens are larger and serve a variety of purpose,s including entertaining.  If possible, confine your cooking area to one part of the kitchen to avoid conflicting spaces.

3. The work triangle should not be interrupted by an island or a peninsula if avoidable.  If an island or a peninsula crosses over a work triangle, it should not be for more than 12 inches.  Also keep in mind that if an island or a peninsula is to provide more prep/work space, it should be kept close to the triangle.

4. No major traffic patterns should cross over the work triangle.  If this makes it difficult to access the refrigerator, try to place the refrigerator on the outside corner of the triangle.  The sink is the second most-accessed item, and should be located in the next accessible corner.  The cooking unit should always be in the most remote corner.

5. While the work triangle has its merits, it is only a suggestion and is not foolproof for every kitchen.  Keep the work triangle in mind when designing your kitchen, but think of it as a guide.  Discuss your lifestyle and the day-to-day uses of your kitchen with your designer to ensure that you get the most functionality possible.


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