Is the Kitchen Triangle Layout Outdated?


About a century ago, a lady by the name of Lillian Moller Gilbreth, an industrial psychologist and engineer, made history when she invented the kitchen work triangle and made way for modern kitchen design. Finally, kitchens had their own designated room with an organized layout that allowed the home cook to work more efficiently. The basic design of the kitchen work triangle consisted of placing the fridge, range, and sink between four and nine feet apart. Her creation was ideal for the homemakers of that era.


Fast-forward to a hundred years later, or now as we like to call it. Although the kitchen work triangle is still in play, for now, today’s homeowners have very different needs than their ancestors. Today’s families often share cooking duties and many love to entertain guests. Plus, today’s kitchens serve as more than just a place to cook dinner. They are multifunctional, serving the family by wearing multiple hats. Kitchens are homework spaces and coffee bars. It makes sense that kitchen layout design would evolve to fit current needs and standards.


The New Kitchen Layout Design

As we said earlier, the kitchen triangle hasn’t gone away. Instead, it’s evolved from a single work triangle into work zones. By sectioning off work zones, today’s kitchens maximize efficiency and they are more accomodating for multiple people to use the kitchen at once.



To create each work zone, designers group appliances, and fixtures together according to their use. Kitchen work zones are organized by more than just the large appliance they serve, however. For example, the kitchen cleanup zone would consist of the dishwasher, sink, and trash and recycling bins.


Today’s kitchens consist of more than just work zones. Many families enjoy entertaining guests, creating the need for an entertainment zone, as well. A large kitchen island or peninsula is the perfect spot to place an entertainment zone. Your island or peninsula could consist of seating on one side with a wine cooler or small fridge built into the island on the other side, as well as wine glasses stored in the cabinets of the island. Families who don’t drink alcohol might consider a coffee bar at their entertainment zone, replacing the wine glasses and mini cooler with an awesome espresso maker and storage for coffee mugs. The opposite side of the island can serve as a prep area so you can cook and entertain at the same time.



New Rules for Today’s Kitchen Layout

Okay, so maybe they aren’t rules per se, but kitchen design experts do have a few guidelines they follow to create the perfect design for each of their clients. For instance, each work zone should come with plenty of storage space in order to run at maximum efficiency. When you are planning your work zone designs, make a list of everything you will use in each zone. Then, make sure you have sufficient storage space included in each zone’s design.


Another tip that helps kitchen work zones run smoothly is to provide a landing area next to each major appliance. This means that each large appliance will have a countertop space next to it to drop groceries and other items.



One final tip before we go. Consider widening the aisles of your kitchen from the traditional 42 inches to 48 or even 54 inches, if you have the space. This will keep the flow of traffic smooth.


Ready to bring your kitchen layout into the 21st century? Let us help you! Click here to get your free project quote.



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