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Kitchen Work Triangle

Kitchen Planning Using The Work Triangle

Continued from Planning a Kitchen

How do you use the work triangle in kitchen planning?

The main working zones in the kitchen are generally recognized as being – food preparation, cooking and serving, and finally washing up.

Each activity zone needs to include the work top(s) and appliances required for that activity, also the zone will require the storage space for the utensils, ingredients etc. required for it.

In addition to the three zones, it is important to arrange the appliances and work tops in the correct order i.e. work top – appliance – work top.

A work triangle is formed between the three zones (as shown in the diagrams below). For the greatest efficiency the total length of the three sides of the triangle should be between 3600mm and 6600mm, and as far as possible, the work triangle should be uninterrupted by through traffic.

1. Corridor Kitchen Layout – Galley Kitchen Layout

The galley kitchen name came from the ship’s galley – a space of very small porportions. This type of kitchen is common in modern apartments where space is limited and is often used in an open plan room with one side against a wall and the other as a long kitchen island essentially.

In long narrow kitchen spaces with doors or openings at each end, the best design solution is to have two rows of kitchen cabinetry housing the appliances and providing storage and work tops.

There should be a minimum space allowance of 1200mm between the cabinetry to allow for a safe passage through and the ability to open and shut cupboards and load dishwashers etc. Some spaces don’t allow for this minimum luxury of space between the cabinetry, so in this case, place all opening appliances and cabinetry along one side.

Corridor Kitchen Layout or Galley Kitchen Layout.

2. L-shaped Kitchen Layout

This is often the best solution where the kitchen can fit into a corner.

kitchen work triangle

3. U-shaped Kitchen Layout

This layout is convenient as all working areas are within easy reach. It may be the only choice for small rooms although it can also be used with effect where a kitchen area needs to be fitted at one end of a larger room. Try to allow for 1200mm between the parallel sides of the U.

kitchen work triangle U shaped kitchen layout

4. Kitchen Island Layout

Often thought of as a luxury, the island layout needs a fairly large room, however in such a room, it does reduce the amount of walking you need to do. Try to allow for 1200mm between the island and any other cupboard/obstruction etc. Although the design shown has the cooking hob on the island, the island could be used for the food preparation area. Remember that services will need to be taken to the island.

kitchen work triangle Kitchen Island Layout

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About the Author – Lee Brown

Lee Brown is the co founder of, she has worked in the Interior Design Industry for over 24 years, specializing in commercial, hospitality, high end architectural homes and retail design. Over the past 14 years Lee and Chris Brown have been collating their wealth of design knowledge to provide free interior decorating education to the world. Make sure you register for your free ecourse today. Free Interior Decorating eCourse