The 39 Essential Guidelines of Kitchen Design

Lets face it, if you do not know the fundamentals of kitchen design, designing your kitchen can be harder than Chinese algebra! So, I am going to make your job that little bit easier for you. Here are some kitchen design rules that will help you. I have listed below what I think are the most important considerations when designing a kitchen.

  1. Your kitchen should not be a main thoroughfare to the rest of your home. This means traffic should not cross the kitchen work triangle.
  2. The total length of the work triangle (the cumulative distance between the cooktop / fridge / sink) should not exceed 7000mm (23′). The ideal length of the work triangle lies between 4000mm (13′) and 6000mm (19′).
  3. The minimum opening between cabinets in a doorway should be 800mm (31 1/2″).
  4. Appliance doors or entry doors should not interfere with the work centres.
  5. You should not place a full height cabinet or appliance between any two of the major work centres.
  6. A minimum of 1000mm (39″) of floor space between countertops is recommended (1200mm or 47″ is preferred). 900mm (36″) would be the minimum distance between a run of cabinets and a kitchen island in a one cook kitchen.
  7. If there are two cooks in the kitchen a minimum of 1200mm (47″) is required for one person to edge past the other by turning and passing with bodies parallel.
  8. For two people to pass with ease, a 1500mm (59″) between countertops is required.
  9. The sink should be in the centre of the work triangle as it is the most used area in the kitchen.
  10. At least 300mm (12″) of counter space should be allowed from the edge of the sink to the inside corner of the counter top.
  11. The sink area should have counter space either side of it. The total workspace should be a minimum of 1050mm (41″).
  12. When placing a dishwasher near a corner, allow at least a 500mm (20″) space from the corner for ease of access.
  13. You must allow standing space in front of the dishwasher for unloading.
  14. The cooktop should be placed at least 300mm (12″) from a window for safety.
  15. The minimum landing space either side of a cooktop is 300mm (12″).
  16. At least 300mm (12″) of counter space should be allowed from the edge of the cooking surface to the inside corner of the counter top.
  17. Extraction of air is required at cooking surfaces.
  18. A minimum 400mm (16″) setdown space is required beside an oven. If this is not possible then a benchtop within 1200mm (47″) of the oven is OK. (except where this crosses a major walkway)
  19. The same goes for microwaves, 400mm (16″) setdown space beside the microwave.
  20. Try and keep the microwave within the most active part of the kitchen.
  21. The height of the microwave (base) above the floor should be between 900 (36″) and 1250mm (49″).
  22. A minimum of 400mm (16″) landing space is required on the door opening side of a fridge. If this is not possible then a benchtop within 1200mm (47″) of the fridge is OK. (except where this crosses a major walkway)
  23. Consideration to the location of services requires careful planning. To prevent appliances (i.e dishwashers etc) projecting past the countertop you must place the services in a cabinet beside the appliance.
  24. Smoke detectors should be installed in the appropriate location for the type used.
  25. Consider installing a fire extinguisher and fire blanket which is easily accessible in the kitchen.
  26. The preparation area should be a minimum of 900mm (36″) in width.
  27. Likewise, the serving area should be a minimum of 900mm (36″) width.
  28. If there are two cooks and you don’t have 2 separate 900mm (36″) wide preparation areas, a consolidated area of 1500mm (59″) wide is good.
  29. Store regularly used items between eye and hip level.
  30. 1800mm (71″) from the floor is considered to be the maximum safe storage height.
  31. You should consider items to be stored at the first or last place of use. Heavy equipment should be stored near floor level.
  32. When considering the countertop height, it should be designed for the cook to work without raising the hand above the elbow.
  33. The minimum chair pullout distance from the table to the wall is 600mm.
  34. A minimum of 900mm (36″) in depth allows another to person to edge behind a seated diner.
  35. A minimum of 1100mm (43″) in depth provides walking space behind a seated diner.
  36. Always comply with manufacturers installation instructions for appliances.
  37. All kitchen designs should comply with national kitchen standards.
  38. When working out natural lighting for the kitchen a good rule of thumb is no less than 10% of the kitchen floor area.
  39. Natural ventilation should be provided by windows, doors or other devices that can be opened and closed. Allow for a minimum of 5% of the total floor area.

So there you are. Print these kitchen design rules and use it in conjunction with your own kitchen design layout. These guidelines are not set in concrete and you can vary the distances but they should be considered minimum workable distances.


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