Experts agree this is the single biggest kitchen design mistake you can make

Neglecting this design rule can impact the style and ease of your kitchen – here's how to make it work in your kitchen

kitchen with white tablecloth and white cabinets and walls and candle chandelier with big bouquet and cake and sink and part-glazed door in background
(Image credit: Brent Darby)

As the most functional room in the home, the world of kitchen design can often feel tricky to navigate. After all, there is often a fine line between maintaining style and practicality – to create a space that is as beautiful and social as it is functional. 

But how do the experts find the balance? By bringing the kitchen triangle rule into their homes – and consequently avoiding the single biggest kitchen design mistake that you can make. 

The time-honored kitchen triangle has established itself as a pillar of design – used to make kitchen layouts more efficient and cooking simple. The triangle refers to three key kitchen features: the sink, the refrigerator, and the stove – which should be laid out to resemble a triangle. This allows you to carry out everyday jobs seamlessly and without obstruction.

This layout can sometimes be hard to bring into your space, especially if you're working with particularly small kitchen ideas. However, experts agree that forgetting or neglecting the triangle layout – is the single biggest mistake to avoid in your space.

kitchen with belfast sink and pink Shaker style cabinets and dark blue island and range cooker in 12th century Cotswolds country house

(Image credit: Dan Duchars)

The biggest kitchen design mistake – according to designers

When planning your kitchen, Laura A. Suglia-Isgro, the principal designer at KAS Interior Design warns against creating a space that is 'too big' – as this can interrupt the all-important work triangle. 

'Not everyone uses this concept, but it's a great guideline to go by to help keep your kitchen most functional,' she says. 'Understand that a builder will give you what you ask for, and it's important for the client to understand the scale of the kitchen and its relation to the rest of the home.'

Sally Hinks, a designer at Harvey Jones, reinforces the importance of the triangle – and its power over practicality in the kitchen. Therefore, neglecting these rules is one of the biggest design mistakes you can make. 

A white kitchen with whitem arble countertops. Tall floor-to-ceiling cabinets along the back wall and gold handle finishes

(Image credit: Martin Moore)

'The main thing to keep in mind during the layout planning process is practicality. Think carefully about which parts of the kitchen you’re going to use the most from a cooking perspective and how easily you can move between them,' Sally explains.

'Use the kitchen triangle method as a guide and focus on the fridge, sink, and cooker as the core elements when mapping out your space.'

If you seek the help of a professional designer, they are more than likely to incorporate the triangle into your kitchen so it works in a way that is bespoke to your space. However, with the right advice, you can correct your mistakes and re-balance practicality and style yourself. 

Open plan blue fitted kitchen with white worktops, kitchen island and green mid-century bar stools. Marble splashback.

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

'Your hob, sink, and refrigerator will all be located equidistant from each other, optimizing your workspace and meaning everything is at arm’s reach when using the space,’ adds Tom Howley, the design director at Tom Howley.

We're correcting any kitchen layout mistakes that interrupt our triangle at the first opportunity.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.