These layouts all make use of the classic work triangle concept that positions the three major kitchen components (refrigerator, stove and sink) in a triangular configuration.
These traditional layouts suited older house styles and the lifestyles of people when:
- Most women stayed home during the day
- Women worked alone in the kitchen
- Most meals were cooked from scratch
- Meals were taken in a separate dining room
- Entertaining did not involve the kitchen
- Frequent shopping meant less food storage
In recent times society and the lives of people have changed considerably so that:
- Most women work outside the home
- Cooking is shared between partners
- Many meals are taken in the kitchen
- Far less meals are cooked from scratch
- Entertaining often involves the kitchen area
- Weekly food shopping calls for more storage
Designers now think in terms of multiple work centers or work stations within the kitchen in order to allow more than one person to work efficiently without getting in anyone else's way.
Work centers are a little less formal concept than a classic work triangle since you can create a work station wherever decent benchtop space is provided next to a major appliance or sink.
Adding an island is the the most common way to achieve multiple work centers in a kitchen. An island suits many modern house styles where there is enough space and can provide several small work stations along its perimeter. It is also a great place to present a buffet when entertaining.
The provision of an extra sink in the kitchen is a great way to create an extra work station and greater versatility for two or more people working in the kitchen.