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What Is the Kitchen Work Triangle? L.A. Kitchen Remodel Tips

Posted by Daniel Mizrahi on Friday, September 08, 2017

"If I ever remodel this kitchen, I'm going to..." Have you ever finished that sentence? What ideas did you express? What frustrations were you responding to? What would your new, imaginary design allow you to do?

Maybe these dreams are about to become a reality; you have calculated the costs and benefits, and you decided to remodel your kitchen! Now comes the fun part - designing a kitchen that suits your needs and preferences! But where do you start? Are there any kitchen design rules you need to work with?

The Kitchen Work Triangle

Kitchen work triangle - Los Angeles Kitchen Remodeling Company

Many studies were done in the first half of the 20th century to determine the most efficient and comfortable layout for a kitchen. The result of these studies was the idea of the kitchen work triangle. The idea is that the main points of action in a kitchen are the fridge, the stove and the sink. In order to have the most effective kitchen, these three items need to be positioned within certain perameters. 

Distance: Each of these items must be at least 4 feet from the other two, but may not be more than 9 feet from either.

Traffic flow: There should be no significant obstruction blocking movement from any of these items to another. If the corner of your kitchen island sticks a few inches into one of these paths, it's fine. But if your design requires you to walk  around the island each time you go from the fridge to the stove, you'll regret it! Also, if there is non-cooking traffic flow in the kitchen area (such as foot traffic to and from the garage), it should not pass through this triangle.

Countertop space: A stove or cooktop should have 12 to 15 inches of countertop space on both sides. The sink needs 18 to 24 inches of space on each side. The fridge needs about 16 inches of space either beside it, or directly across from it.

Other Kitchen Remodeling Considerations

The kitchen work triangle is designed with a single cook in mind. If your family regularly has multiple people working at once to prepare meals, you will want to think about how that will impact traffic flow, and how much countertop space you will need.

Another limitation to the work triangle idea is that it doesn't account for some more modern trends in cooking, such as a bake oven that is separate from the cook top, or a secondary sink for food preparation. Talk with your remodeling contractor about how extra fixtures or appliances will affect the design.

As you plan out your kitchen remodel, also remember that almost everything has a door on it, from the fridge to the oven to the cabinets to the dishwasher. All of these doors should be able to open in such a way that they won't strike each other. 

Express Your Individuality, but Trust the Experts

As you design the kitchen of your dreams, remember that the rules are there for a reason. For example, you may not think it matters that your dishwasher door and fridge door can't both open at once without hitting each other. You may be tempted to push for this layout because it suits your overall desires in other ways, maybe making room for the glass-fronted dispaly cabinet you dreamed of. You think to yourself, "I never open the dishwasher and fridge at the same time anyways. No big deal!"

While any good kitchen remodeler will bend over backwards to make your kitchen fit your dreams and goals, you need to trust their experience. If you break any of the basic design rules for kitchen layout, you are very likely to regret it. 

Kitchen Remodeling in the Los Angeles Area

Open Hand Remodeling is a respected kitchen remodeling company. We work in the Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, Burbank, Glendale, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks and the surrounding communities. 

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