What is a Work Triangle and why is it so important when it comes to designing your kitchen?

So you've decided to get a new kitchen. Great! Now you can have the modern kitchen you've always wanted and make the most of the space you have. But every kitchen is different, so how do you decide what kitchen layout best suits your space?

Well, thats where the work triangle comes in. Basically, the work triangle shows us the distance between the different work zones and how they relate to each other. Now that might sound complicated but in reality its very simple and its the best way to know how to use your space most efficiently. First, lets find out a little more about the different work zones and what they include.

Work Zones

Cooking Zone

The first work zone we'll look at is the cooking zone. This is the area where your oven/ hob will be. To avoid crossing the kitchen you should try to place your oven and cooktop near the sink and countertop.

Washing Zone

The second is the washing zone. This is the area where your sink is. Your sink is an important area so plan to have your fridge close at hand for easy food prep. Close proximity to your cooker makes it easier to drain pasta and vegetables.

Storage Zone

The final sone is the storage zone. This includes both the fridge and cabinets. For storing make sure you have enough storage for all the food both dry goods and the fridge. A countertop near your high cabinets and fridge makes it easier to unpack shopping bags.

Now we know what each zone is, the work triangle is just the relationship between these zones. All you have to do is decide which layout works best for your space.

Common Kitchen Layouts

In most cases, its the shape and size of your room that decides what kitchen layout you ultimately will choose. However, some kitchen layouts may suit your needs and living situation better than others. Here are four common kitchen layouts and their main characteristics. They also illustrate how to ideally plan your working zones.

U-Shaped Kitchen

If you have a large room the U-shaped layout is ideal. It gives you maximum space with plenty of storage items. If the room is very large its important to ensure that the points of the working triangle are not to far from one another.

L-Shaped Kitchen


The L-shaped kitchens ideal when you want to add a small dining table or kitchen island. Its also a good way to make the most out of a corner, as well as integrating the kitchen into a dining area.


Single Line Kitchen

Where space is scarce, a single-line kitchen in which the working triangle is reduced to a straight line, can be the most practical solution. Its also pleasing to look at.

Parallel Kitchen

You don’t need to have a huge amount of space for this layout. Its geared for food preparation and provides two great work and storage areas on opposite sides. In face, its a favourite of many professional chefs.

General tips

Here are some general tips for when you're laying out your work triangle. Of course these tips don't have to be followed but it is good to keep them in mind.

  • No leg of the triangle should be less than 4 feet (1.2 m) or more than 9 feet (2.7 m).
  • The sum of all three sides of the triangle should be between 13 feet (4.0 m) and 26 feet (7.9 m).
  • Cabinets or other obstacles should not intersect any leg of the triangle by more than 12 inches (30 cm).
  • If possible, there should be no major traffic flow through the triangle.
  • A full-height obstacle, such as a tall cabinet, should not come between any two points of the triangle.

Come visit one of our showrooms to have a look at our different kitchens and you can speak with one of our expert designers at Express Kitchens Cork who can help you layout your dream kitchen. Also, don't forget to take advantage of our free kitchen planner. It has graph paper so you can accurately sketch out your layout ideas as well as loads more great tips for when you're designing your new kitchen. So good luck and happy planning!