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Design Process

From the Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA)

  • Doorways should be at least 32 inches wide and not more than 24 inches deep. When two counters flank a doorway entry, the minimum 2-inch-wide clearance should be allowed from the point of one counter to the closest point of the counter on the opposite side.
  • Walkways (passages between vertical objects greater than 24 inches deep where not more than one is a work counter or appliance) should be 36 inches wide.
  • Work aisles (passages between vertical objects both of which are work counters or appliances) should be at least 42 inches wide in one-cook kitchens, at least 48 inches wide in multiple-cook kitchens.
  • Ideally the work triangle (the shortest walking distance between the refrigerator, sink and primary cooking surface) is no more than 26 feet, with no single leg of the work triangle shorter than 4 feet nor longer than 9 feet.
  • If two or more people cook at the same time, a work triangle for each cook should be considered. One leg of the primary and secondary triangles may be shared, but it works best not to have the two cross one another. Appliances may be shared or separate.
  • No major traffic patterns should cross through the work triangle.
  • No entry, appliance, or cabinet doors should interfere with another.
  • In a seating area, it is best to allow 36 inches of clearance from the counter or table edge to any wall or obstruction behind it if no traffic will pass behind a seated diner. If there is a walkway behind the seating area, 65 inches of clearance, total, including the walkway, should be allowed between the seating area and any wall or obstruction.


Three Major Work Areas

Sound kitchen planning takes account of activities that occur most regularly and ensures sufficient space is allocated for each, enabling the kitchen run efficiently and safely. Each area is a "zone" of major activity. While you plan for varied types of cooking and/or other activities in your own kitchen, studies of typical kitchen use reveal three main keys as:

  1. Food Storage - The food storage area centers on the fridge and pantry or food cupboard. This area is primarily used for unloading groceries, retrieving items from the pantry and fridge; and preparing drinks and snacks.

  2. Food Preparation - This area centers on the cook top and oven. This space is used mainly for food preparation (cleaning, cutting and so on); cooking; baking; plating up food.

  3. Clean Up - The third key area concerns the clean up that comes after preparing food. This area centers on the sink and dishwasher. Typical activities include cleaning dishes, utensils, pots and pans; packing and unpacking the dishwasher; disposing of waste and recyclables.

Although there is a certain amount of crossover between the three key areas, each has its own particular requirements and appliances. it may be helpful to consider how these three areas in your current kitchen operate: Is there enough space to prepare and store food? Is the dishwasher located near to where you store your crockery and cutlery? Are two people able to find different key area's of the kitchen without getting in each other's way?

Of course, depending on your kitchen, additional key areas, such as a breakfast bar or laundry, may also need to be taken into account.

The Work Triangle is an often used method for helping with placement of these zones. The aim of this questionnaire is to help you decide what you would like in your new kitchen. You are likely to have other individual considerations to factor into your planning to best ensure addressing your many possible options.





Helpful Links

Basic Kitchen Layout Guidelines

Kitchen Design Checklist

Kitchen Layout Options

Consider Your Appliances

Recipe for a Kitchen

Back to Design Process

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