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The Kitchen Triangle vs Working Zones




There are some rules that we should follow when embarking on the kitchen renovation process. One of these rules is to follow the kitchen work triangle. But what happens if our habits have evolved? Do we still follow the rules or apply something new, like working zones?


Kitchen renovation rules are there to make our lives easier. Whether we hire a designer or do the work ourselves, there are some rules to follow so we don’t lose the forest for the trees. One of those rules is the kitchen triangle.


This concept emerged in the 1940s and a lot of professionals find it outdated. Meanwhile, the working zones concept gets used frequently, and quite frankly it sounds more contemporary but is it for everyone? Let’s find out some basics about both before making a verdict.



The kitchen triangle


gallery style kitchen triangle
Image Source: Pinterest


The concept of the kitchen work triangle didn’t just come about naturally. It was developed in the 1940s by researchers at the University of Illinois School of Architecture.


According to guidelines from the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), no leg of the triangle should be less than 4 feet or more than 9 feet. The sum of the three triangle sides should not exceed 26 feet. Also, no major traffic patterns should flow through the triangle. 


Its main goal is to connect the cooktop, refrigerator, and sink, thereby forming a kitchen triangle. Having the three main areas so close to each other allows the cook to move with relative ease.


Cooking, cleaning, and food storage are all easily within reach –just a few steps away. The guidelines also ensure that there’s enough counter space between the three, giving the cook ample space to prepare.




Working zones


Image Source: Pinterest


With so many innovations in every industry, designers have offered a new and modern approach when planning a kitchen. The focus isn’t on the three specific appliances anymore. As the name suggests, this approach groups things by function. The most common zones are:



  • Preparation – Often this zone has a long stretch of counter space, giving the cook ample room. It’s usually situated close to the cleaning zone where the sink would be. In larger kitchens, this could even have a dedicated prep sink with kitchen cabinet corner storage.


  • Cleaning – This zone has a sink, dishwasher, and drying area. Here is where you’d also place kitchen cabinets to keep all your clean and dry utensils.


  • Cooking – Here is where you put anything related to cooking. Here you’d find the stove, the double oven cabinet, and areas for ingredients that are ready to go.



The beauty of this concept is that you don’t have to limit yourself to just these four common zones. Depending on your family’s needs, you can add zones as needed. If your family regularly bakes, you can have a dedicated baking zone separate from the cooking zone. Some kitchens also have a dining area which sometimes doubles as an entertainment area. There’s more you can add such as a hot beverage zone, small appliances zone, work zone, bar zone, etc.






shaker kitchenOur habits have changed in a way that we have a lot of people participating in cooking. The kitchen is the place where family members do work and socialize and this causes a lot of intersecting traffic within the kitchen. Organizing space according to your needs is the best option for people who own big kitchens. Opting for working zones could be your best option.


On the other hand, setups in a studio, or with a small kitchen should not look away from the kitchen triangle rule. Applying this can make your life easier in so many ways and yes, this rule is still relevant even today.





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