Skip Navigation

Kitchen Work Centers - Level II

Main Core Tie

Food And Nutrition
Strand 2


Utah LessonPlans


Work centers, storage areas, kitchen types and features.



Background for Teachers

If students understand the basics of kitchen planning and organization they will better utilize their kitchens.

Kitchens are used as multipurpose rooms, i.e. dining, social area, play area, office/study area. You want to make the best possible use of the space you have.

Kitchens are divided into work centers or areas for a particular type of work activity. The standard four areas are explained as follows:

  • Refrigerator/Freezer Center; needs counter space next to it for loading/unloading; needs near by storage for serving and packing food, i.e. foil, baggies
  • Range Center: needs counter space on at least one side, cabinets for food, cabinets for pots/pans, and other kitchen equipment.
  • Sink/Cleanup Center: may have a dishwasher, trash compactor, disposal; needs lots of counter space for stacking dishes and a place for cleaning supplies
  • Mixing Center: area between two other work centers--counter space; needs outlets, storage for measuring/mixing/baking equipment, appliances and food ingredients
  • Additional Optional Centers of Space:
    • Eating Center: part of counter or separate table; needs enough room for traffic
    • Small Appliance Center: for appliances on the counter that are frequently used
    • Planning Center: a sit-down desk area with multiple purposes - menu planning, shopping lists, household records, bookshelf, cookbooks, telephone, bulletin board, calendar, etc.
    • Laundry Center: handy if close by the kitchen

Some kitchen floor plans are much better than others because they allow the work to flow more smoothly. The more that the range, refrigerator and sink are located so that each is at the point of a triangle, the better. This is called the Work Triangle.

In food preparation the work flows from refrigerator to cabinet, to the cleaning food if necessary, to preparing, to cooking and serving. Ideally, the sink should be between refrigerator and range. You don't want people walking through the kitchen to get from one area of the house to another -- that causes confusion/congestion/accidents.


One Wall: appliances/cabinets/counters are along one wall - most often found in small apartments; very limited storage and counter space.

Corridor: appliances/cabinets/counters are arranged on two facing walls - efficient if not too long and both ends do not have doors; doors at both ends cause confusion.

L-Shaped Kitchen: appliances/cabinets/counters are along two adjoining walls - work triangle can be long. This is efficient because the remaining space is used for other activities.

U-Shaped: appliances/counter/cabinets are along three adjoining walls. Generally, this has the best traffic pattern, work pattern and shortest walking distance between appliances.

Island: use with one of the previous four kitchen plans. This is best in a kitchen with a large square footage. The island is a separate counter space. It may contain a surface cooking unit.

Instructional Procedures


  1. Have students take notes on four work centers and draw the five common kitchen floor plans. Students observe overheads of each kitchen type during the discussion - KITCHEN CENTER, WORK TRIANGLE, AND TRAFFIC PATTERN and FIVE BASIC KITCHEN PLANS. Ask the following questions about work centers and floor plans:

Describe what could happen if you didn't have a counter next to the refrigerator?

Imagine that you are cooking. Describe what it would be like if all our pots and pans were on the opposite side of the kitchen from the range.

What would happen if you used the counter near the range center to make a cake?

Explain what will happen if there is a door or entry way at both ends of the corridor floor plan?

  1. Have groups of students look through kitchen/interior design magazines to find an example of each common kitchen floor plan. Have them glue and label each on construction paper.
  2. Students could evaluate four pictures of kitchens using four of the KITCHEN EVALUATION FORMS. Use the pictures from their collages or others that have been mounted.


  • Content from Food for Today pp. 127-132
  • "Kitchen Center, Work Triangle, and Traffic Pattern" and "Five Basic Kitchen Plans" from Food for Today Teachers Resource Book, 1990 pp. 84-85

Created: 06/20/1997
Updated: 02/05/2018