The concept of the kitchen work triangle was developed in the 1940s by the University Of Illinois School Of Architecture. The goal was to show that by designing and building a kitchen with efficiency in mind, overall construction costs could be reduced.
The aim of the kitchen triangle is to create the best work area possible in this busiest of rooms.
Since the three most common work areas in the average kitchen are the stove, the sink, and the refrigerator, the kitchen work triangle theory suggests that by placing these three areas in proximity to each other, the kitchen becomes more efficient. If you place them too far away from each other, you waste a lot of steps while preparing a meal. If they are too close together, you end up with a cramped kitchen without adequate space to prepare and cook meals.
Here are some examples of standard kitchen layouts with their work triangle:
The kitchen triangle concept has faded in recent years, as it's become somewhat outdated. For instance, the kitchen triangle is based on the idea that one person prepares the entire meal, which isn't necessarily the case in 21st-century families.
And open concept kitchens which are popular with newer-style construction often don't require such uniform layout. In these kitchens, the design tends to focus less on a work triangle and more on kitchen work zones that may even spill over into the dining or living areas. One example of a work zone would be placing the dishwasher, sink, and trash can close to each other to make cleaning up easier.
Remember, your lifestyle should determine the functionality of your kitchen, not the other way around. The work triangle is not a law, merely a suggestion. Although it can be a helpful tool, don't let it inhibit you from thinking outside the triangle when it comes to designing your kitchen.