[Guide] Understanding Kitchen Dimensions

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Last updated: April 9, 2023

Kitchens are common spaces enclosed in any typical household, whether big or small. Advanced homes include households with sophisticated kitchen designs and a kitchen layout for more practical functionality, i.e., wall cabinets alongside dedicated spaces for carrying out kitchen-related activities; for example, food prep and cleaning.

Older homes had a lot of standard sizes such as a standard cabinet height or standard kitchen dimensions that met building code requirements of the day. The problem is these general rules in older design don’t mix well with modern living which is why home renovations are at an all time high. Sometimes, floor plans change to improve work areas to an existing kitchen.

Today, it’s not uncommon to find different sizes and dimensions in homes with an open floor plan that integrates the dining space, for example. Today, homeowners consider the overall look of their new kitchen based on a few principles. Gone are the days of the space-wasting blind corner cabinet which is located at the corner of two kitchen base cabinets, hiding the contents of one cabinet from the other cabinets. It never had a ease of use or functional utility so it’s was bad design from the outset.

  • What is the best way to maximize work space
  • How can I use a small space, adopt minimalist themes and good design principles
  • What is the best work triangle for a dream kitchen that makes the best use of your space

Table of Contents

Ample space is usually singled out as one of the key features of contemporary kitchens. Storage units, utility cabinets and pantry cabinets are considered as art of the entire space but are not central to modern themes by interior designers. These functional furniture elements are used less frequently so they’re not considered for kitchen base cabinets in a full-scale kitchen design project. They are not a focal point and are out of view for less than frequency access.

Interior designers have poured into complex research to find the appropriate kitchen dimensions which make kitchen navigation and meal preps a fun and pleasant experience.

Ergonomic kitchens factor in other modern principles such as counter height which considers the height of the person; especially, someone with disabilities. Regulations exist under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) to help with things such as inches of clearance, kitchen cabinet sizes and so on. An aging population and many homeowners face many realities including caregiving responsibilities which require inclusive design choices for kitchen and dining room changes.

Along with the ever important dimensions are the layout designs which make kitchens appear elegant. So If you’re looking for the appropriate kitchen dimensions solution to transform your kitchen, then you’re in he right place.

Crucial Kitchen Measurements to Guide KItchen Design

Cabinet Measurement

The critical thing to note down is that the height of kitchen cabinets plays a vital role in your kitchen layout. Typically, kitchen cabinets have different heights measuring approximately 30 to 42 inches with an 18-inch position above the countertop — ideal for small kitchens. So on average, your measurement into the upper cabinet should be a maximum of 70 to 80 inches above the kitchen floor.

However, those who want to set their wall cabinets 7 feet higher will most likely have to access them using step ladders. On the other hand, tall cabinets set 8 feet higher aren’t practical for most people. But if you have decorative and seasonal items, then they are an ideal choice.

Kitchen Dimensions - homeowner with measuring tape and kitchen cabinet

For those with Kitchen base cabinet preferences, the base standard size should measure 38 inches high and 24 inches deep. Measuring a kitchen cabinet box for linear feet was a common practice to price kitchen cabinets when they were the same size and made of simple construction with doors/frames attached to walls and countertops. Modern homes and design choices have changed the pricing because there is a higher expectation for quality and custom builds.

Separation Distance Between the Cabinets

Another crucial measurement is the distance between the cabinets. So to ensure there’s enough space between the cabinets, if you have cabinets on one side, then the entry points should measure about 36 inches. Moreover, 42 inches is the correct distance between a cabinet’s face to the other one on the other side.

However, you can go as high as 48 inches. Any measurement past 60 inches is considered too wide. People with u-shaped kitchens are at an advantage since they can extend this measurement to 96 inches.

Kitchen Arrangements

Note that you should arrange your cooking centers around the wall ovens, the cooktop, and the ovens. Other kitchen components such as baking sheets, pots, and frying pans should be within the banner and oven’s vicinity. Small appliances like coffeemakers and toasters should be placed around the oven and banners.

If you want a good counter space, then an allowance of between 21 and 36 inches on both sides of the cooktop should be sufficient. Alternatively, you can put a free-countertop wall oven next to these. This will make it convenient for you to immediately set hot food. In the nearby cupboards and drawers, you can place seasonings, potholders, and breadboards.

Refrigerator Depth

You should know that refrigerators typically have a 36-inch less width measurement. That is usually due to problems with the depth. Compared to a 24-inch deep cabinet, modern refrigerators have been designed to be much deeper. But still, if you prefer shallow free-standing refrigerators, feel free to buy one.

However, be attentive to the dimensions highlighted in the specifications section to be sure. On the other hand, you can opt for the built-in configurations, but you’ll pay more as they are costly.

Ideally, it would be best to look for 30-inches depth or less. Note this measurement excludes the handles unless you can manipulate your kitchen design to accept a deeper refrigerator. Also, Another consideration includes the refrigerator door swing. Examine it, so it isn’t meeting obstructions such as kitchen cabinet, meaning that measurements like kitchen cabinet dimensions are of utmost importance.

Storage Space

According to most professional kitchen designers, the kitchen’s entry point is the ideal position for placing refrigeration and as a storage of dry goods. Standard dimensions of about 15 to 24 inches for your pantry and countertop are suitable for the convenient setting of items you’ve removed from the freezer or refrigerator.

Other items your pantry can hold include paper towels and brooms. Also, you can use the drawers in this area to hold items such as plastic bags, among other things, including anything that can hold food. So do individuals with smaller kitchens; this is a convenient way of storing easily retrievable items. Cabinets in this area can hold meal assembling items such as utensils, mixing bowls, cake pans, etc.

Cleaning and Preparation Space

As you already know, the cleaning and preparation space should be around the sink area. Mostly, you’ll be having glasses alongside dishes you’ll be using every day. Remember to ensure a proper standard height of 36 inches from the floor to the counter.

As for the countertop space, allow a space of about 22 to 36 inches on either side or a single side of the kitchen countertop. Remember to keep your preparation area always clear. That’s because it’s where you’ll be placing plates, and on other utensils, you’ve removed from the cabinet, about a length of 36 inches should be enough.

With that much space, you can be sure it will hold utensils for immediate use. Also, that dimension is ideal, especially for a small functional kitchen. So, if you’re having doubts about the ideal dimensions for performing most of your kitchen activities, that space is an important factor to consider.

Other Crucial Standard Kitchen Measurements

Kitchen Aisle Width

The kitchen work aisle sees all the kitchen movements. That makes it an essential factor to consider when designing your kitchen. Narrower kitchen work aisles make it difficult for users to move about easily and conveniently.

The average minimum measurement of your kitchen aisle should be between 40 and 47 inches. In addition, this aisle is of utmost importance when it comes to door opening of, e.g., corner cabinets., whether putting in or taking something out of the cabinet. If your kitchen countertop is parallel, a width of 47 inches is the ideal measurement for Swift and convenient movement.

Kitchen Dimensions - Plan scribble of a modern fitted kitchen

Depth of Overhead Standard Kitchen Cabinets

The crucial dimension to include for your overhead cabinet is the cabinet’s depth. On average, the cabinet depth ranges between 12 and 15 inches. The depth is smaller to allow users to operate the cabinets without hurting their heads while working in the kitchen.

Also, to avoid mishaps while also rendering visual appeal to the kitchen, the dimensions help in receding your cabinet by 12 inches. If your plan the overhead cabinet on top of the kitchen appliances, the depth can be as much as 24 inches to achieve a stunning look.

Kitchen Cabinet Depth

Under the counter, the cabinet depth should align with the counter depth. So, you can recede these measurements marginally depending on your requirements as a user. Note that the measurement of under-the-counter custom cabinets is about 24 inches. That dimension is standardized to ensure any typical user can reach these lower cabinets comfortably.

Kitchen Layouts

The most important thing when choosing a kitchen layout is the space you intend to use and the available space. Other additional factors include; required work zone, number of kitchen users, and the kitchen appliances.

If you want a modular kitchen design, you should know that it will consist of small kitchen modules. These modules should include enough room for increased storage space. So, what are some of the modular kitchen designs?

G-Shape Peninsula

The kitchen layout is also popularly known to most as peninsula kitchen. In this layout, the cabinetry and fixtures should be placed along the kitchen’s three adjacent sides of the walls.

If you want additional seating areas where you can add, eg.., bar stools, this is the ideal layout for such a purpose. How do you make it work? This is the best option for interaction during meal preparation or when drinking and eating.

L-Shaped Kitchen Layout

Whether you’re planning for a small or large kitchen design, then the L-shaped kitchen layout is your best bet. Also, coupled with this kitchen layout is the cabinets on its two perpendicular walls. The corner offers clever and practical cabinet solutions. In addition, this open layout also provides exceptional flexibility in the work zone and appliance placements.

Kitchen Dimensions - Luxury L-Shaped Kitchen

Remember to maintain a measurement of 4.5 m if you’re going to have legs of the L as the available space allows. So, how do you construct this kitchen layout? Consider installing a walk-in pantry where space allows. That ensures complete utilization of space usually left at the kitchen corner. Also, the pantry shall be a huge asset of significant help in your kitchen.

The L-shaped kitchen layouts allow you to make breakfast on the opposite corner. A good reason behind this is to ensure that there’s an increased room for family enjoyment at the breakfast bar.

One Wall Kitchen Layout

For those families with a small budget for kitchen layouts, e.g., millennial couples, this is an ideal choice as it is simple with some level of sophistication and maximum efficiency. The layout involves the installation of the kitchen cabinet onto one wall. However, this doesn’t limit you in terms of cabinet compartments, as you can have a lower shelving base or upper shelving cabinets, which in turn creates a clean aesthetic.

How do you make this layout work? Remember that it will allow you a significant width measurement to work with. So, you must take advantage of this and ensure that the cabinet goes as high as possible. That will enable you to create enough extra storage space.

You should also know that the traditional triangle system isn’t possible with this kitchen layout. Ideally, it’s best to place your refrigerator on one end, the sink on the other end with the oven in the middle.

For those whose cabinets don’t go all the way up, you can use the space above to store rarely used items. You can also use that space to strengthen the kitchen theme by displaying rarely moved items.

Island Kitchen Layout

The island kitchen layout is ideal for individuals seeking a large work surface and storage area, courtesy of the kitchen island height. However, they’ll be at the center of the kitchen, hence, the kitchen island. Among the things this layout can incorporate are; a wine refrigerator, cooking surface, and prep bowl.

Bear in mind that this is mainly ideal for a large kitchen. Plus, it’s a great way of creating and controlling natural traffic flow within the kitchen. How can you make the kitchen layout work?

Like other kitchen layouts, e.g., G-shape peninsula, it offers excellent space and environment for interaction during meal preparations. Due to its strategic position in the middle of the kitchen, you can also add decorations such as prominent lighting, which you can use as a task light.

The standard kitchen island dimensions for an average kitchen size is about 80 x 40 inches, according to Kukun data, is 80 inches by 40 inches. This does require clearance around the island from about 36 to 42 inches.

Galley Kitchen Layout

Typically, the galley layout consists of double cabinet rows opposite each other. The cabinets can be for any storage purpose, e.g., stock cabinets. That creates an inner passage between them known as a galley. The advantage of this layout is to ensure full utilization of space. Here you can use standard cabinet sizes.

Kitchen Dimensions - galley kitchen layout - brown_and_white_wooden_cabinet

The design also requires a few special gadgets, as it’s a simple design which makes the layout a cost-effective option. But how do you make this layout work? The galley layout is more flexible storage-wise with its double cabinet rows. With this layout, you’ll prevent risks of injury and avoid unnecessary traffic through the work triangle.

Kitchen Work Triangle

Now that you know the top best kitchen layout, it’s also ideal you know the kitchen work triangle. First, the Kitchen work triangle is a kitchen efficiency measure that creates a space between food preparation, storage, and cleaning. So those who want a kitchen design for their individual needs based on the above layouts should consider the following dimensions as your guidelines.

Kitchen Dimensions: Kitchen plan sign and work triangle

Guidelines for Maximum Kitchen Efficiency

Entry Point, Walkway, and Seating

  • According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, the entry point into the kitchen should measure a minimum of 32 inches in width. Also, ensure that the entry door isn’t interfering with the operation of any kitchen appliance. Moreover, the kitchen appliance door should also not interfere with each other.
  • Allow walking space of at least 36 inches wide for easy traffic flow. Behind the seats at the seating area should be a walkway with a width of 36 inches. That allowance should be from the front edge of the table counter to the behind edge.
  • Remember to allow a minimum seating allowance of 24 inches for each person. 18 inches is the ideal leg clearance allowance for a table height of 30 inches. For a kitchen counter with a height of 36 inches, a clearance of 15 inches should be enough, while a bar counter that is 42 inches high should have a clearance of 12 inches.

Landing Space and Work Aisles

  • Note that the work aisles length for a single cook kitchen should measure a minimum of 42 inches. 48 inches of space is ideal for multiple cook kitchens.
  • If you have one, position it across from the refrigerator or the top of the cooker. In addition, consider flanking the kitchen landing area with a minimum of 24 inches and 18 inches on both sides. As for the primary work surface next to the sink, a width and a depth of 30 inches and 24 inches respectively should suffice.
  • The landing space next to the refrigerator handle side should measure at least 15 inches. Opposite the refrigerator, the landing space shouldn’t be more than 47 inches.
  • The landing areas on the cooking side should be a minimum of 12 inches on one side and 15 inches on the other.
  • As for the dishwasher’s position, you should place it 36 inches away from the sink.
  • Ensure a minimum distance of 24 inches between the non-combustible surface and the cooking surface below. Ideally, you shouldn’t place the cooking surface under an operable window. Plus, remember to install fire extinguishers near your kitchen’s entry point but away from food or any cooking equipment. Also, remember to place cooking ventilation above the surface of the cooking appliances as it’s among the best practices for safety.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the factors that determine how expensive your kitchen is?

One kitchen component that’s likely to consume a more significant chunk of your budget cost is the kitchen cabinetry. Typically, it will consume about ⅓ of the total cost. Also, these cabinets range in price depending on the quality of the design materials.

Aside from quality, if you want custom cabinetry, be prepared to pay more than the stock-ready variety. Size, floors, and backsplashes also affect the price of cabinets.

Other factors that affect how expensive your kitchen is are the electrical equipment, e.g., cooker, oven, etc. Since their prices are the primary determinants, the more expensive they are, the more expensive your kitchen is.

Should I buy kitchen appliances before calling a kitchen planner?

No, kitchen planners do not recommend it. Since each piece of kitchen equipment must fit into the entire kitchen design, it might be difficult for the planner to do so.

However, you can research the appliance you want to purchase then make a wishlist. Then, you can call the kitchen planner and further discuss kitchen dimensions against the appliance’s sizes. That way, it will be easy to fit all kitchen equipment according to your preferred layout.

Why is the kitchen work triangle so important?

As you already know, it is the area from the refrigerator to the cooking area to the sink. However, the kitchen work triangle doesn’t form on a single-walled kitchen.

This kitchen triangle is essential because the triangle’s adjacent points are areas where primary kitchen activities occur, I.e., food preparation, cleaning, and cooking. Also, note that this work triangle is what makes the kitchen functional. That’s why the associated dimensions are of utmost importance.

What can I do to cut down on costs?

Here what you can do primarily depends on your knowledge and skills. If you know how to model or remodel a kitchen based on appropriate dimensions, then it should be relatively easy.

Those who do a kitchen remodel and kitchen modeling for a living are at an advantage and can cut costs significantly, especially activities associated with installations. Also, if you aren’t sure about some measurements or dimensions, it’s best you ask an expert and not guess.

How can I make my small kitchen appear bigger if I include entertaining and cooking spaces?

One thing to note first is the kitchen functionality and some of the compromises to consider. Most small kitchens have a restricted space which makes remodeling a hefty task. You also need to understand the Smart solutions to employ and use every available space if you want a perfect kitchen.

If you want to make your small kitchen look bigger, use the entire wall height for storage and ensure every inch is used. Alternatively, you can leave a space then add other storage solutions to the area. Some of these solutions include Shelving and cubbies. Also, consider using foldable, stackable, and extendible pieces of furniture to ensure the flexibility of the kitchen layout.

What is a kitchen layout product to help with my planning?

I actually found a really cool online service called Dimensions. In its “Layouts” category, you can find kitchen layouts. It provided some initial examples such as U-Shape, L-Shape, and single and two-row Galleys with specific dimensions in square feet and metric measurements. The site claims to have updates daily and is a database for drawings of everyday spaces or objects with standard measurements. You are able to download 2d and 3D outputs. Definitely worth a look. There is a pro paid version at $10 per month of $60 USD annually.

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