Kitchen Layout Basics
What You Need to Know Before You Start Your Kitchen Remodel
The kitchen is the heart of the home. It is where everything happens – cooking, eating, homework, working, gathering, and entertaining. And, it tends to be the most expensive room to build or renovate. So, it is important that the layout is functional, fits your family’s lifestyle, and designed with safety in mind.
Looking at a blank drawing of your kitchen space can be overwhelming. You aren’t sure where everything should go, how many feet of counter space can fit, or if you can move plumbing and electrical lines without breaking the bank. Here are some basic kitchen layout guidelines to help you appropriately plan a proper flow for your new space.
Plan Sufficient Space for Walkways and Doorways
If you aren’t renovating a kitchen within an open concept design, you need to be sure to allow sufficient space for any doorways into the room. The clear opening of the doorway should be at least 34 inches wide. For safety reasons, the door should swing out of the kitchen, so as not to interfere with the operation of appliances. Any walkways through the kitchen should be at least 36 inches wide, and if the walkway is within a work area in the kitchen, it should be a minimum of 42 inches wide.
Design the Ideal Work Area
In the kitchen, the work area is referred to as the “work triangle” because this layout provides for optimal function as it minimizes the distance between the cooktop, sink and refrigerator. One side of the triangle should be no less than or more than 9 feet, and the sum of all three sides should be between 13 and 26 feet. The best work triangle layouts avoid major traffic walkways.
Think About the Sink
If your layout only affords one sink, you may want to place it in front of a window so that you have a nice view while you work. Or, you could install it in the island so you can look out and converse with others as you clean the dishes. Depending on space and budget, you might want to install the main sink by the window and a prep sink on the island.
Don’t Overlook Dishwasher Placement
Proper placement of the dishwasher is important. It should be adjacent to the sink for easy loading, as well as near cabinets and drawers for fast unloading. Keep in mind freedom of movement around the dishwasher so that you can load and unload unencumbered.
Consider Countertop Placement
Everyone wants countertop space. The ideal recommended minimum amount of countertop space is 158 inches in length at a depth of 24 to 25 inches. There also needs to be adequate space between the countertops and the cabinets above – at least 15 inches.
For safety reasons, sufficient length of counter on either side of the stove or cooktop is required – at least 12 inches on one side and 15 inches on the other. If you have a separate oven, it should have a minimum of 15 inches of counter on either side.
For layouts that include seating at an island countertop, aim for 30 inches for each seating area and appropriate knee space, i.e., depth of the countertop from cabinet to the edge. The knee space varies based on countertop height:
• 30-inch high island: 18 inches
• 36-inch high island: 15 inches
• 42-inch high island: 12 inches
• You also need to plan enough space behind the counter seating, at least 36 inches.
Account for Vertical Space Above the Stove
Your layout must plan for 24 inches of vertical space between the stove and vent hood, or 30 inches between the stove and a cabinet.
Whether building a new home or renovating an existing kitchen, a designer can help you with the ideal layout for your needs.
If you live in the Bergen County, New Jersey area and are considering a kitchen remodel, schedule a free consultation.