DIY Network

Think Outside the Triangle

From work zones to feng shui, our experts weigh in on the latest trends in kitchen design.

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Photo 3 of 3Islands are nice but having a space the family can sit at that isn't right in the middle of the kitchen is starting to catch on.

Islands(3 of 3)

When it comes to islands that anchor cooktops or sinks, Jeff votes against them. "One mistake we often see — and that we have to undo — are islands that block traffic and functional lanes." However, he notes, for a galley configuration, a parallel island can be useful for eating, storage and prep. "There was a time when everyone craved a huge island in a kitchen. Now people are more open to the well-placed peninsula or simply a functional 'U' layout."

Promoting Harmony
In other cultures, the kitchen triangle is considered to create imbalance because it places the cook in a vulnerable position. For example, the principles of feng shui (the Chinese art of bringing harmony to one's life by arranging the environment to promote the flow of life energy, or chi) recommend placing the stove in the center of the room.

Mary Mihaly, a certified feng shui practitioner based in Cleveland, Ohio, says, "When you stand at the stove, you should be in the 'command position,' which, in any room, means that you can see all entrances and most of the room itself." This keeps people from sneaking up on you as you cook, increasing your sense of security and your kitchen's sense of flow. "If it's necessary that the stove be against the wall and the cook's back would be to the room, the 'cure' is to put a mirror or other reflective surface above the stove, so the cook can see the entire room."

When designing your kitchen, consider all of these options, from the traditional triangle and work zones to the harmonious design principles of feng shui. The important thing is to explore the possibilities: to think, not just outside the box, but sometimes outside the triangle.