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Do You Need a Work Triangle?
"The work triangle is important, but it isn't the only solution," says interior designer Alison Glen. Traditionally, kitchen layouts revolve around a basic connection between the refrigerator, stove and sink. While this shape keeps everything within arm's reach while you're cooking, sticking to it too strictly can actually make a kitchen's design more complicated.
More about the kitchen work triangle
"The kitchen work triangle doesn't have to be a triangle," says architect Hiromi Ogawa. "I think it's called a triangle so that people understand that those three pieces work together. But the most important thing is workflow, and this can be different depending on the space and the owner's needs."
Above all else, make sure the route between your three work centers — prep, cooking and cleanup — stays clear and direct. "It's OK to spread them out, but just make sure the cook doesn't have to go around the island to get from one spot to another," says architect Heather McKinney.
For larger kitchens, these work centers can be divided into different zones with their own individual work triangles. A prep sink might be located next to the refrigerator, while the microwave and cleanup zone might be closer to the main sink.
Picking Appliance Sizes
"It's important not to get too hung up on the appliances or the cabinets," says Ogawa. "Let them inform the other." Sometimes a large appliance can compromise storage or counter space. If you have to compromise on something because of an appliance, ask yourself if the appliance — no matter how much you love it — really needs to be that big.
Glen advises keeping your appliances in proportion with one another. A 48-inch refrigerator might end up overwhelming a 30-inch range. Having a massive refrigerator that sticks out beyond your counters won't just interrupt your traffic space; it's unsightly too.
Alper also suggests looking into undercounter appliances. While they're often more expensive because they need to be built in, they help minimize counter clutter and can be easily accessed. Countertops often work well for appliances not used every day and that can be stored away most of the time.