Traffic Jams in Your Kitchen: How to Avoid This Common Design Mistake

Traffic jams are bad enough when you're out on the road – don't bring them into your kitchen as well. You've visited your local kitchen showroom, you've found the kitchen of your dreams, and you've had your designer work their magic. The last thing you want is to walk into your brand new food haven, only to find that the route to preparing a meal is frustrating at best, or tiring at worst. From awkward obstructions to long walkways, kitchen traffic flow can easily be impeded by poor planning. Here's the low-down on this common design mistake, and how to avoid it.

The Golden Triangle

For kitchen designers, the Golden Triangle is the sink, the oven, and the refrigerator. These three items will be the most used in your kitchen, so you need to be able to get to and from them with ease. If there is too much or too little space between the three, it can wreak major havoc in your kitchen. Aim to have 1 to 2.5 metres between each major appliance, for a total Triangle perimeter of around 3 to 7.5 metres. This positioning will allow you ample space, but easy navigation. 

Dessert Island

In kitchens over 9m2, adding an island counter is a great way to improve traffic flow. By placing your oven or sink in the island itself, you can create a smaller, more manageable distance between your Triangle items. But, whatever you do, don't place an island counter in the middle of your Triangle. There are few things more maddening than having to take the 'long way around' in your own kitchen when you can see a potential shorter pathway.

One Door Closes, another One Opens

While it may seem minor, the direction your cabinet and fridge doors open in can have a big effect on your traffic flow. When you open your refrigerator door, you want to be able to take food out and place it straight on the counter. You don't want it to open facing a wall or a door. The same is true for cabinets. Your dish cabinets should open facing your sink; your trash cabinets should be close to your external door. Imagine having all the doors open in your kitchen at the same time – will any natural path be blocked? You want your path from fridge to counter, sink to cabinets, or bin to door to be smooth, just like a conveyer belt.

For more ideas on how to streamline your kitchen, contact a kitchen designer near you.