The kitchen triangle is a concept that was developed in the 1940s as a way to standardise home construction. Essentially, this layout focuses on the three most common work areas within the kitchen: the stove, the sink and the fridge. In theory, placing these three areas within easy reach of one another makes kitchens more efficient. Placed too far away, and steps are wasted when preparing meals. Placed too close together, on the other hand, and the result is a cramped kitchen that makes it harder to prepare and cook meals.
Developed by the University of Illinois School of Architecture, the kitchen triangle aimed to show that kitchens would be more efficient when the following guidelines were considered:
Although this concept was effective in the days when a single person (typically a housewife) prepared and cooked all meals, it has begun to be less popular as times began to change. Today, most kitchen designers use a combination of factors to plan layouts, rather than following the traditional triangle concept.
Kitchen Triangle or Kitchen Zones?
In the 1940s, kitchens were smaller and far more utilitarian. The kitchen was largely considered a working area rather than a communal area. The kitchen triangle was based on the concept that a single person prepared meals, which is not always the case in today’s era. Some of the biggest differences in how kitchens are designed and used include the following:
NEW TECHNOLOGIES HAVE CHANGED THE WAY THAT KITCHENS ARE USED
Microwaves and other appliances have become the norm, while lifestyles have also adapted. A typical kitchen may have blenders, island stoves, microwaves, juicers, pressure cookers, dishwashers, sinks, double fridges, and open-plan designs that make traditional triangles almost impossible. Modern kitchens often accommodate more than one cook, which has changed the layout to something closer to commercial kitchens.
AS KITCHENS EVOLVED, ZONES ALSO BEGAN TO CHANGE
Many kitchens today are designed to include zones for various functions. Some may have smaller sinks, butcher blocks, and food prep stations, others have large worktops that are ideal for baking, chopping and dough-rolling, and larger sinks for cleaning. The four primary zones in modern kitchens include a washing up zone, a cooking station zone, a consumables zone, and a non-consumables zone.
TRIANGLES ARE NOT ALWAYS PRACTICAL, EITHER
Not all homes have kitchens that are large enough to accommodate a triangle. Galley kitchens do not work well with this design, as appliances and preparation areas are placed alongside a single wall or two walls that lie alongside one another, without any angles. Open-plan kitchens are not always suitable for triangles, either. Many of these kitchens use zones instead, which often flow into dining or living areas.
Ultimately, the simplest way to determine whether a structured kitchen is right for your home is to consider your needs and your current space. If a kitchen triangle makes it easier to make full use of your kitchen, then it is worth considering. If a more flexible kitchen zone is more effective than a triangle, then that is the option you should choose. Whichever option you choose, U Can Do It is here to help you plan your dream kitchen. Visit our online store or view our current DIY kitchen catalogue to find the best range of kitchen products and tools in South Africa, and get the most from your kitchen zone.
If you are not the DIY type, U Can Do It can help you plan the ideal kitchen triangle or zone by referring you to our qualified, professional fitters in your area.