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Why do kitchen designers still go on about the "work triangle" of sink, cooker and fridge?

(143 Posts)
BasilBabyEater Wed 19-Jun-13 22:14:37

Given that everyone's got a dishwasher now and lots of veg is pre-washed?

Do we still need it? Did we ever need it? Does anyone live without it and feel every day a rage at not having it?

What should a well-designed kitchen have nowadays?

BasilBabyEater Wed 19-Jun-13 23:00:48


lalalonglegs Wed 19-Jun-13 23:07:21

You still need to fill up saucepans from the sink, drain boiled food in the sink and, um, not everyone buys pre-packed vegetables... I promise you that for people who like to cook, the triangle does make a lot of sense.

I have visited several people who have had gigantic islands which have had to be walked around to get from fridge to sink to stove and, while I have politely smiled and said how lovely, I have no idea how anyone could do more than make toast with that sort of arrangement.

Jaynebxl Wed 19-Jun-13 23:31:40

We get our veg unwrapped cos it is better for the environment so it isn't washed. We eat rice or pasta a lot and that requires filling a pan. Even with a dishwasher I like to wash some things in the sink. In fact whenever I start to cook I fill the sink with hot soapy water ready to wash stuff as I go in case I need to use it again. So the triangle makes sense the way I use the kitchen.

senua Wed 19-Jun-13 23:42:24

My kettle is next to the cooker so I 'do the triangle' every time I make a cup of tea!

wonderingagain Wed 19-Jun-13 23:50:50

It's tosh. We nearly ended up with a 12 seater island unit thanks to our kitchen designer.

Think about how you function in the kitchen and design your kitchen with that in mind.

Do you all help with cooking? Do you want everyone out of the way when you're cooking? Do you need a separate teamaking area? Do you have friends in your kitchen, do you bake a lot, etc etc.

Then place the things you don't need access to a lot (the cooker - generally only used once a day) out of the way, and put the sink and tea area in a prominent area so everyone can reach it.

We have tucked our storage out of the way along with the fridge because although you need to get things out, you don't need them to be close to work surfaces.

I didn't listen to all the books about distance between units and I do regret that as we keep bumping into each other.

Also the best thing to put underneath the hob is the oven, drawers go either side. We also don't have wall units and have lots of tall floor to ceiling units for plates etc.

wonkylegs Thu 20-Jun-13 08:15:23

You must remember some 'kitchen designers' are no more than shop assistants who know what is in their range. They have no other design experience or qualifications and have just been taught how to slot units in on the PC like tetras.

The advice of thinking how do you use the room is good. The triangle is a good rule of thumb but must be combined with common sense and the actual user requirements.

GibberTheMonkey Thu 20-Jun-13 08:19:26

We're in rented and our stove is tucked round the table the other side of the kitchen to the fridge.
Technically they're in a large triangle but they're a bugger to use.

JassyRadlett Thu 20-Jun-13 08:30:58

The work triangle isn't about washing up! It's rinsing, draining, filling pans, rinsing hands, etc etc.

WeleaseWodger Thu 20-Jun-13 08:33:51

I don't understand how a fridge doesn't need to be near a work surface - unless you can carry an armful of stuff without spilling / dropping. The supposed "kitchen designer" who owned and designed our current house thought this and it's idiotic. The endless trips btw the fridge and nearest work surface I make are ridiculous.

purplewithred Thu 20-Jun-13 08:36:08

When people talked to me about the 'work triangle' I would ask 'so what is a good work triangle' and they never had any idea. All the articles I read just had diagrams saying 'look, here is a work triangle'. Useless.

Notably, Magnet have done no followup on our kitchen to ask us whether the layout works for us - how can they learn what works and doesn't work if they don't ask?

lottiegarbanzo Thu 20-Jun-13 08:43:59

Yes, Jessy is right. Our sink and kettle are about a mile from everything else, so I walk miles a day getting water for cooking, to wash hands while cooking, or to get milk for hot drinks.

sudointellectual Thu 20-Jun-13 08:59:15

The most important thing for me is to have the cupboards near enough to the dishwasher that I can unload everything whilst standing in one spot. Ideally opposite or on a corner. It's the biggest timesaver I've found.

A mistake I shall be rectifying in my next kitchen is having the brew cupboard, kettle, and fridge as far away from each other as humanly possible, so making a cup of tea spreads chaos right through the whole kitchen. Argh. Next time, I shall group them.

Grouping all the kit for frequent tasks is good design, imo. This can be simple things like just putting the toaster next to the bread bin (I actually have neither of those, but just as an example), prep area near bin, crockery next to dishwasher, or identifying extended workflows: laundry cycle, breakfast time, kitchen supper, and figuring out how to streamline and contain them.

I design systems at work and am pleased by efficiency. These may not be your priorities!

BasilBabyEater Thu 20-Jun-13 09:59:46

This is really interesting.


I hadn't thought of the bit about situating your crockery cupboard so it's convenient for the dishwasher.

Floggingmolly Thu 20-Jun-13 10:05:52

Where does having a dishwasher come into it? It hardly precludes the need for a sink?

Bonsoir Thu 20-Jun-13 10:09:48

My fridge is not in my kitchen and I don't find this at all impractical - the fridge is in a great place for unpacking food, which is very useful

But I do like my sink, dishwasher, job and oven to be accessible from a single standing position.

Floggingmolly Thu 20-Jun-13 10:11:22

Where's your fridge, Bonsoir?

wordfactory Thu 20-Jun-13 10:15:38

My sink is in an island a few feet from the hob/oven. I stand between them when cooking IYSWIM. And it's very handy.
The dishwasher is built into the island too.

The fridge though is at the other side of the room and it is a PITA. Often when cooking, you end up leaving stuff out rather than clearing up as you go along...

Damnautocorrect Thu 20-Jun-13 10:16:06

We learnt about it in HE at school!
One thing they seem to forget now is when you take something out the oven you need somewhere to put it

Bonsoir Thu 20-Jun-13 10:35:00

My fridge is in the ante-room to the kitchen which would have been the servant's pantry in bygone days. It is right next to the hall, so the shopping is delivered straight in front of the fridge!

Clayhead Thu 20-Jun-13 10:40:16

You must remember some 'kitchen designers' are no more than shop assistants who know what is in their range. They have no other design experience or qualifications and have just been taught how to slot units in on the PC like tetras.

I think that may be the case for some places but is really unfair on some of the people who work in the independent shops, who have decades of useful experience.

Floggingmolly Thu 20-Jun-13 11:04:29

Wow, do you live in a Stately Home? grin

Bonsoir Thu 20-Jun-13 11:06:52

No, a Parisian apartment!

NotGoodNotBad Thu 20-Jun-13 12:43:19

Our kitchen is small, with no room for a table or island to be in the way - at least nothing is a long distance away from anything else.

But we did do some minor reorganising after we'd been there a while, along the lines suggested by sudo - kettle, mugs, coffee jar all close together, toaster, breadbin, cereal all close together. Works well.

Incidentally I wash my hands loads while cooking - I definitely need the sink to be handy. And it needs to be near the cooker - who wants to carry a heavy pan of hot water and pasta across a large kitchen to drain it?

noddyholder Thu 20-Jun-13 12:49:16

Its a nonsense like most interior design 'rules'. I have never used any of them especially the bloody 'colour wheel'

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