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Guidelines to Kitchen Design

Guidelines to Kitchen Design

Guidelines to Kitchen Design

Planning to redesign your kitchen? Or are you looking for a brand new design for the house you just bought?  Whatever your priority, you need ample planning to make the right decision for the most important space of your home.

Before you even begin, keep in mind that kitchen remodeling is expensive. Therefore, you have to put your best foot forward to get the best out of your investment. And also don’t forget that besides being a major investment, the kitchen is also a super-challenging room to refurbish or build. That’s because the space is not only used for cooking but also as a spot for socializing during the holidays.

So, it follows that the layout has to be conducive to all the different functions it plays. You have to care that your kitchen layout planning caters to your family’s requirements in addition to those aesthetic finishes you plan to incorporate. Trends may change with time but a well thought out layout will last for years to come.

So, long story short: Your chosen kitchen design must imbibe complete safety and accessibility to make the space functional and comfortable. Check out the blog below to know the basic planning guidelines that will help you to make your kitchen design floor plan super successful.


Space Planning

This aspect can be unnerving. There are so many aspects to consider in terms of what goes where.

First, be sure to measure the square footage and study the existing plumbing placements. On the other hand, for the new design seekers, the most logical start to the project should be the available floor space. You can follow this by placing the basic elements as per the following guidelines. This should take off a major chunk from the work you have set out to do.


Doorways and Walkways

Your new door will be one of the focal points of your kitchen. After all, this is the first thing anyone will see when they enter. First impressions last after all, eh?

Now, to start with, make sure it is the right size first. The doorway leading into the kitchen must be at least 32 inches wide. In case you plan to use swinging doors, make sure that they do not block the appliances and other structures in the kitchen. For that matter, the appliance doors must not interfere with each other.

When it comes to passageways through the kitchens, they should be a minimum 36 inches wide or more, in case you plan to build an open-plan kitchen. These dimensions, when applied to the work area, will vary depending on the number of people who will cook at the same time later on. Ideally, walkways should be at least 42 inches wide for a single cook and 48 inches for more than one.


Work Triangle

This happens to be one of the very important aspects of kitchen design. The concept of a work triangle aims at increasing the kitchen’s functionality by reducing the distance between the sink, refrigerator, and the main cooking surface.

As per the concept, the total distance of all three elements should not exceed 26 feet where each stretch of the triangle must measure between 4 and 9 feet. This measurement is applicable to small kitchen plans as well.

Additionally, if you go back in time, the older kitchen usually had just one person responsible for cooking but the contemporary kitchen often has multiple people working side by side. Maybe you and your husband want to cook together, or you want the kids to help with the prepping. In such cases, more distance is added to the equation to prevent them from colliding into one another. Hence, you may end up with two work triangles within the kitchen.

Keep in mind that no work triangle leg should intersect an island/peninsula or any other obstacle by more than 12 inches. Furthermore, abstain from having major traffic walkways cross through the triangle to maintain the functionality of the triangle. Remember, the work triangle makes the layout of your kitchen work more effectively. Therefore, there are a number of design blunders that you can avoid by sticking to the work triangle concept.


Sink and Dishwasher

One of the mistakes that we often end up making in the design phase is overlooking the counter space. You have to allow for some extra space when planning your prep area.

In the same vein, it is important that the sink area has counter space on either side of it. Ensure that your sink has a landing area that is a good 24 inches minimum on one side and at least 18 inches on the other. The auxiliary sink, on the other hand, should have 3 inches of counter space on one side and 18 inches on the other. If your kitchen happens to have a single area sink, place it either adjacent to or across the cooking area and the refrigerator.

To move on to the dishwasher, the nearest edge of the dishwasher should be installed within 36 inches of the nearest edge of the main sink. Make sure that there is a standing space of at least 21 inches between the dishwasher and any adjacent appliances, countertop frontage, cabinets or other obstacles.



Your new countertop is a reflection of your personal style and adds heavily to the design ethos of your kitchen. Basically, it is that special element that ties the room together.

However, there are some basic rules that you need to follow when you hire a kitchen remodeling service in the design phase to craft your kitchen tops work as an excellent landing space. The countertop needs to be adequately spaced for one, to serve as an effective base for hot dishes, staple groceries, and appliances.

Ideally, there should be at least 15 inches of countertop width on at least one side of each build-in appliance for it to serve as a safe landing space. In case the particular appliance, say an oven has a side door handle, it is a good idea to have the countertop installed on the side facing the handle. I can almost already feel the hand burn that would follow after taking out the hot dish from one side and having no landing space to place it!

In the same vein, there should be 15 inches of landing area on the handle side of the refrigerator and 15 inches on either side of a side-by-side refrigerator. If your kitchen has a cooktop installed on an island, you will need to have at least 15 inches on one side and a minimum of 12 inches on the other.

Again, if you decide to have a seating bar behind the cooktop, consider increasing the countertop space to 24 inches to create a distance between your guests and the hot cooktop. If your kitchen sports a separate oven, add a 15-inch span of countertop on both sides.



If your design plan includes your countertop doubling as a seating area, you need to assign a 28-30-inch wide space to each diner for a comfortable dining experience.

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Besides, make the provision in your plan for providing 18-inch-deep knee space for 30-inch-high counters, 15 inches–knee space for 36 inch high counters and 12 inches-knee space for 42-inch-high counters. It is also important to leave a 36-inch clearance behind the seating — starting from the edge of the counter to the wall or the obstruction. If you plan a walkway behind the seating, leave a good 44 to 60 inches for a comfortable movement.


Electrical and Ventilation

Lights are known to lift up moods with their bespoke charm. So it goes without saying that there must be a definite place for lighting in your kitchen design plan.

Set the ambiance in your kitchen by layering task, accent, ambient and decorative lighting. Get dimmer switches to adjust the intensity of light as per your mood and requirement. Use task lighting for the work zones by positioning canned lights in the ceiling. Basically, play around with it as and how you need to.

But while you do that, make sure to not locate the canned light right above or behind the user to avoid the shadow from being cast in front of the area where visibility is most needed. Also, if the task lights everywhere else don’t do the trick, use task lighting under the cabinets to light up the counter space.

In addition, it is equally important to receive natural light in your kitchen. While planning the layout of the kitchen, make sure that at least 10% of the total floor area receives natural light.

As for effective ventilation, incorporate a ventilation system with an exhaust rate of 150 cubic feet of air per minute. There are many hoods available that you can choose from that must be installed at least 24 inches above the given stove. For a microwave that is placed below the countertop, the minimum distance to be maintained is 15 inches off the floor. Similarly make space for a minimum distance of 15 inches above the refrigerator.



Kitchen storage is an important concern in many houses, especially because it is often scarce.

It is recommended to include an upgrade in your kitchen layout design. As per the advice of professional designers, a minimum of 117 feet of shelf and drawer frontage for small kitchens and 167 feet in a large kitchen must be included in the design layout.


Safety Issues

The kitchen is the most susceptible spot for sudden fires and accidents. They can prove to be life-threatening and even fatal in some cases.

Therefore, a fire extinguisher rated for Class B fires is a must to protect your family from unforeseen accidents. And getting it is not enough. Make sure that your family knows how to use it. Also, test the equipment every six months to keep it running.

Also, never ever opt for flammable window treatments above a stovetop or an oven to prevent any undesired mishap. Besides, opt for rounded corners for your countertops to avoid any injuries.