Certain standards apply to kitchen design: the size of cabinets, counters and appliances, and clearance space to ensure an efficient and comfortable kitchen without traffic problems. A number of trends are making an appearance and revolutionizing the modern-day kitchen. Follow the recipe and you'll find out!
- Upper or overhead cabinets
- Base or floor cabinets
- Pantry cabinets
Although sizes vary in width, standards must be adhered to so that all your cabinets will be functional and accessible to everyone.
Sizes for upper cabinets vary a great deal. Standard depth varies between 12" to 13" with the exception of microwave cabinets which are between 15" and 18" and cabinets above the fridge which are 24’’. In height, cabinets often extend to the ceiling in order to maximize storage space.
The height of base cabinets is generally 34", on which a counter 1 ½ "thick is placed. The final height of 36" ensures an ergonomic working surface while standing up. A depth of 24" makes it possible to recess the sink or the cooktop. Stove and dishwasher measurements respect these standards concerning height and depth.
Kitchen island cabinets respect the same standards as those for base cabinets.
Pantry cabinets are taller cabinet units used to store dry goods, canned food and grains. The depth – 24” – is the same as for base cabinets in order to recess the oven or microwave.
A few things to keep in mind:
Dishwashers are 24" wide and positioned next to the sink. You will need a base cabinet that is large enough to install your sink: 24” for a single-bowl sink and 36” for a double-bowl sink.
Refrigerator and stove
Your preliminary kitchen design plan should include a space of 30" to 36" for the refrigerator and a space of equal dimension for the stove or cooktop. If you opt for a built-in oven, set aside a space 33" wide in a pantry cabinet unit. You can also position the microwave oven directly above.
Stove: gas or electric
Make sure you have a 30” clearance between the cooking surface of an electric stove and the bottom of your upper cabinet and a 36” clearance for a gas stove. This means that the bottom of the cabinet with the range hood should be 66" to 72" from the finished floor. Choose a kitchen hood the same size as the cooktop.
An 18" clearance is required between your upper and base cabinets for your small countertop appliances, such as the coffee maker and the toaster. With sufficient clearance you can move around easily as you perform your tasks, reducing the likelihood of those small kitchen accidents. The National Building Code recommends that you install electric outlets on a kitchen counter 42” from the floor. Close to the sink, they should be grounded outlets.
For increased functionality and your comfort, leave a passing corridor of 42" between your kitchen wall units and the island. If someone in your family uses a wheelchair, leave a 60" corridor.
Only when you have calculated your available space will you be able to determine whether an island or peninsula can be integrated to the overall design. To be functional, an island should measure at least 36" x 24"
Cooking sitting down or standing up
Whether you opt for an island, a peninsula, or a simple dinette-table, the seating you choose should be 12" lower than the eating surface. The 36" island and lunch counter requires 24" stools, whereas the standard 30" table requires an 18" chair. Working with pastry and performing tasks sitting down will be much easier on a work surface lowered to 30".
This overview of standards, practices and trends will enable you to design a functional kitchen accessible to all. Consult a kitchen-designer in one of our RONA stores to help you achieve your project.