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February 21, 2013 |
Kitchen Design | Code
Source: NKBA Guidelines + Design

Door Guidelines

Door Entry

Recommended: The clear opening of a doorway should be at least 34 inches wide. This would require a minimum 2-foot 10-inch door.

Door Interference

Recommended: No entry door should interfere with the safe operation of appliances, nor should appliance doors interfere with one another.

Traffic Area Guidelines

Distance Between Work Centers

Recommended: In a kitchen with three work centers*, the sum of the three traveled distances should equal no more than 26 feet with no single leg of the triangle measuring less than 4 feet nor more than 9 feet.

Work Triangle Traffic

Recommended: No major traffic patterns should cross through the basic work triangle.

Work Aisle

Recommended: The width of a work aisle should be at least 42 inches for one cook and at least 48 inches for multiple cooks. Measure between the counter frontage, tall cabinets, and/or appliances.


Recommended: The width of a walkway should be at least 36 inches.

Traffic Clearance at Seating

Recommended: In a seating area where no traffic passes behind a seated diner, allow 32 inches of clearance from the counter/table edge to any wall or other obstruction behind the seating area.

Seating Clearance

Recommended: Kitchen seating areas should incorporate at least the following clearances:

  • 30 inches for high tables/counters with a 24-inch-wide by 18-inch-deep counter space for each seated diner.
  • 36-inch-high counters with a 24-inch-wide by 15-inch-deep counter space for each seated diner and at least 15 inches of clear knee space.
  • 42-inch-high counters with a 24-inch-wide by 12-inch-deep counter space for each seated diner and 12 inches of clear knee space.

Sink/Cleanup Guidelines

Cleanup/Prep Sink Placement

Recommended: If a kitchen has only one sink, locate it adjacent to or across from the cooking surface and refrigerator.

Cleanup/Prep Sink Landing Area

Recommended: Include at least a 24-inch-wide landing area* to one side of the sink and at least an 18-inch-wide landing area on the other side.

Dishwasher Placement

Recommended: Locate nearest edge of the primary dishwasher within 36 inches of the nearest edge of a cleanup/prep sink. Provide at least 21 inches* of standing space between the edge of the dishwasher and countertop frontage, appliances, and/or cabinets, which are placed at a right angle to the dishwasher.

Waste Receptacles

Recommended: Include at least two waste receptacles. Locate one near each of the cleanup/prep sink(s) and a second for recycling either in the kitchen or nearby.

Landing Area Guidelines

Refrigerator Landing Area

Recommended: Include at least:

  • 15 inches of landing area on the handle side of the refrigerator, or
  • 15 inches of landing area on either side of a side-by-side refrigerator, or
  • 15 inches of landing area that is no more than 48 inches across from the front of the refrigerator, or
  • 15 inches of landing area above or adjacent to any undercounter-style refrigeration appliance.
Cooking Surface Landing Area

Recommended: Include a minimum of 12 inches of landing area on one side of a cooking surface and 15 inches on the other side.

Microwave Landing Area

Recommended: Provide at least a 15-inch landing area above, below, or adjacent to the handle side of a microwave oven.

Oven Landing Area

Recommended: Include at least a 15-inch landing area next to or above the oven. At least a 15-inch landing area that is not more than 48 inches across from the oven is acceptable if the appliance does not open into a walkway.

Cooking Surface Guidelines

Cooking Surface Clearance

Recommended: Allow 24 inches of clearance between the cooking surface and a protected noncombustible surface above it.

Cooking Surface Ventilation

Recommended: Provide a correctly sized, ducted ventilation system for all cooking surface appliances. The recommended minimum is 150 CFM.

Code Requirement:
  • Manufacturers’ specifications must be followed.
  • The minimum required exhaust rate for a ducted hood is 100 CFM, and it must be ducted to the outside.
  • Make-up air, fresh air brought inside to replace exhausted air, may need to be provided. Refer to local codes.
Cooking Surface Safety


  • Do not locate the cooking surface under an operable window.
  • Window treatments above the cooking surface should not use flammable materials.
  • A fire extinguisher should be located near the exit of the kitchen away from cooking equipment.

Microwave Oven Guidelines

Microwave Oven Placement

Recommended: Locate the microwave oven after considering the user’s height and abilities. The ideal location for the bottom of the microwave is 3 inches below the principle user’s shoulder, but no more than 54 inches above the floor.
If the microwave oven is placed below the countertop, the oven bottom must be at least 15 inches off the finished floor.

Countertop Guidelines

Countertop Space

Recommended: A total of 158 inches of countertop frontage, 24 inches deep, with at least 15 inches of clearance above, is needed to accommodate all uses, including landing area, preparation/work area, and storage.

Built-in appliance garages extending to the countertop can be counted towards the total countertop frontage recommendation, but they may interfere with the landing areas.

The Importance of Kitchen Design

September 26, 2011 |

The kitchen is a special place.

It is more than just another room in the house. It is where gatherings happen, where food is prepared, and where memories are made. It is where families often spend quality time, where individuals can define their personal style through space, and where sophistication has an unparalleled opportunity to interact with functionality

So many important activities happen within the kitchen; a strong design facilitates true function and ease of movement. Kitchen remodeling is a wonderful way to achieve this; to increase the quality and life within the space and to greatly increase the value of your home.

Perhaps you aren’t thinking of putting your home on the market anytime soon. However, looking into the future marketability of your home is always a wise decision. A solid kitchen remodel can allow you to reap the benefits of an excellently crafted space while guaranteeing strong marketability of your home in the long run.

In today’s widely varying kitchen design trends, there are nearly endless possibilities for homeowners to create ideally personalized spaces. Making a decision about aesthetic and construction in your own home can be a difficult one to make. There are a few key things to think about when approaching a kitchen remodeling in your home.


Issues, ideas, or problems regarding space (or lack thereof) is one of the most important things to bring to the drawing table when beginning to think about the remodeling of your kitchen. Small kitchens typically do not possess the opportunity to add more storage, so the existing space must be utilized intelligently. Work with a designer if possible to help maximize tight space. Enhance the use of lines and increase your accessibility to frequently used items to prevent clutter from building up. The more clear space you have in a small kitchen, the bigger it will inherently feel.

To the Max: Utilize small spaces in your kitchen in innovative ways to maximize your options when your space is at a minimum. [image:]

Up Against the Wall: Use your walls! Allow the walls in your kitchen to offer you a helping hand. Wall mounted storage can add a fresh,

contemporary look to your kitchen and will provide a plethora of storage options for optimized function.

Color + Texture

Color and texture is a critical piece to any interior design, architecture, or complete renovation project. Often set aside as an afterthought, color can have an incredibly strong impact on the human psyche and can have much to do with how we react and respond within our spaces. Consider color as a doorway through which you can enter a world of redefining your kitchen: turn a space that hosts most of your chore work into a space that fosters creativity and relaxation with family. Alter how you feel about cooking by making your kitchen a more inviting, energizing place. These changes frequently are dismissed as impossible, when really they could be ignited by a simple change of color. Color can change a level of visual perception as well. Try utilizing light, airy colors to make spaces appear larger. Minimize parts of a large, open kitchen to create a cozier atmosphere by introducing dark, rich colors.

Count on Color: Your kitchen isn’t any less important than any other space in your home. Don’t be afraid to add color, patterns,

and texture to your kitchen to add life and energy.  You spend a lot of time in the kitchen: make sure it is a space that is enjoyable to live in.

Linear Love Affair: Horizontal emphasis and strong linear patterning in any kitchen will help to expand the space visually and exaggerate the size of the room.


We are at such an incredible point in time that we have amazing technology at our fingertips. Use remodeling as an opportunity to explore innovative trends in design when possible. Lighting, energy efficient appliances, innovative materials…they are all available to the average person and can add an even higher level of sophistication, meaning, and value to your kitchen.

Whatever you choose, allow it to speak to you. Happiness in the end user and a notable level of functionality are testaments to strong design. Small or large renovation shifts to a space such as the kitchen will ultimately provide a positive change to your entire home.

Have ideas for your kitchen? Make them a reality!

We love to help you make your dream space come to life.

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