Who knew there was such a discipline, but when you stop to think about it- it makes perfect sense. How often have you run into poor design and noticed it by an awkwardly placed cabinet or appliance? The type of placement that requires one or the other to be closed?

There are indeed basic functions essential to every kitchen: food preparation, cooking, serving, cleaning and storage. Designers discovered that by applying the “working triangle” to the top 5 layouts resulted in free flowing functional kitchen design.

The top 5 layouts for kitchen design are:

  • U shape – allows for an uninterrupted workspace without cross traffic interference
  • L shape- allows for more of an open floor plan by taking advantage of a corner area
  • Island – allows for one of the 3 working points easing functions
  • Peninsula –along with the Island is found in larger homes and favored for entertaining purposes
  • One-wall layout works best and commonly found in smaller homes

These layouts typically take into consideration the working triangle, which is what allows for the needed flow. The triangle takes into consideration the equidistant placement of 3 major points- the refrigerator, sink and the stove.  There are also 5 guidelines typically followed when applying this theory and considering placement of each of the three major points.

  • Strategic placement of these three basic elements can increase kitchen efficiency
  • The stove is considered the nucleus of the kitchen. Counter space on each side is optima
  • To avoid feeling cramped the optimal distance for each side is between 4 to 9 feet
  • Ideally, the sink placement is beneath a window where there is lots of natural light
  • Installing a kitchen island helps detour traffic away from dangerous heated cooking areas

All these tips are great and make sense. But how to apply these in real life? An avid fan of science and challenging theories (ok, playing devil’s advocate), I put this triangle to the test.  Now, I’ve never really embraced cooking- until recently. There is something fun to figuring out the  the challenge of serving a servable meal. Discovering new strategies through many trials, (but mostly error) is where a huge credit is due in learning the differences of this “practical application”

It basically does come down to personal choice and styles when cooking-habits, if you will. I tend to be more methodical by gathering all of the necessary ingredients and placing the prepped ingredients near the area where they will ultimately be cooked. Others (ahem) in the household take more of a “jazz” approach, grabbing and prepping as they go. Working in tandem found other preferred systems (like leaving the kitchen) of the applied triangle.

But it’s a lesson worth learning and one that can be fun to explore. Understanding your and your family’s natural preferences to discover a functional living style is worth discussing with your contractor that takes these data points and applies them with their secret knowledge of the science involved behind good design.