The Key Measurements You Need to Know to Design Your Kitchen
Understanding spatial relationships, building dimensions and work zones will help you get the ideal kitchen setup
Kitchens provide storage for your food and cookware, give you room for prep and cleanup, and of course also provide a place where you can cook and bake. When it’s thoughtfully arranged, these functions operate logically, making working in your kitchen a better experience. Here’s how to get the ideal setup.
Let’s take a look at the three main functions of a kitchen:
Everyone has personal preferences for what works best, so consider this a guide and not a rulebook.
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As noted, designers recommend putting refrigeration and dry-goods storage at the kitchen entry point. Putting your pantry on one side and a countertop that’s 38 to 61 centimetres (15 to 24 inches) on the other is a good idea. This will allow you to easily set down items that have been taken out of the freezer and refrigerator.
The pantry can hold dry goods plus brooms and supplies like paper towels. Use drawers in this area to hold plastic bags, foil and anything that can contain food to be stored. For the cabinets in this area, you will want to have mixing bowls, cake pans, measuring utensils and any other items that aid in assembling meals.
Read more on kitchen storage planning
Ideally, prep and cleaning space is best located around the sink. Within these areas will be everyday glasses and dishes, along with trash receptacles and the dishwasher. Allow 45 to 92 centimetres (18 to 36 inches) of countertop space on one or both sides of your sink.
Preparation areas are best kept clear of other items, since you will always be taking out bowls, plates and utensils there. Allow at least 92 centimetres (36 inches) of uncluttered countertop space for preparation in a small kitchen. Larger kitchens will have much more. This is one reason that islands are so popular. They provide broad and well-lit surfaces on which to perform the majority of kitchen tasks.
The cooking centers should be arranged around the hood, cooking hobs and wall ovens. Place pots, frying pans and baking sheets in the vicinity around your burners and ovens. It is a good idea to place small appliances such as toasters and coffeemakers in this area also, as it will leave your preparation areas unobstructed.
Allow 53 to 92 centimetres (21 to 36 inches) of countertop on either side of your cooktop. If possible, place wall ovens with a free countertop immediately next to them so that you can set down hot food immediately. Place seasonings, breadboards and potholders in nearby drawers and cupboards. Keep serveware toward the dining area.
The dimensions of all the pieces in your kitchen are important to get right to make the best use of your space. A common refrigerator width is slightly less than 92 centimetres (36 inches). The problem is often the depth. In recent years some manufacturers have designed them to be much deeper than a 61-centimetre (24-inch) base cabinet. You can still buy shallower freestanding refrigerators, but you have to pay close attention to the dimensions listed in its specifications to be certain. The other option is built-in configurations, but they are significantly more expensive.
Look for a depth of 76 centimetres (30 inches) or less, excluding handles, unless you can design your kitchen space to accept a deeper unit. Another thing to consider is the swing of the refrigerator door. Always examine the swing direction to see if it will meet an obstruction.
Read more on planning for a built-in refrigerator
The standard dimensions for base cabinets are 61 centimetres (24 inches) deep and 92 centimetres (36 inches) high. In general people are getting taller, so some homeowners are bumping up the counter height to 97 centimetres (38 inches).
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