Kitchen Designs Space Guidelines

What is that one room everyone in the house cannot do without? Let us give you a hint; everyone would go hungry without that room. Yes, you guessed right, the kitchen. The kitchen is an indispensable part of the home. Today’s kitchen is no longer just a place for cooking meals; it also doubles as dining, an activity center, and a lot of times family bonding takes place within the kitchen space. Guests tend to gravitate towards the kitchen.


Knowing the importance of the kitchen to the house, attention should be paid to the dimension of the kitchen during the planning of your new custom home or when remodeling your existing home. There are several guidelines on how a kitchen should be designed and built to look great and function smoothly. These guidelines cover working spaces or zones in the kitchen, walkway width, work aisle width for single and multiple cooks, and other important details for keeping your kitchen organized. 

The Kitchen Work Triangle 

The Kitchen work triangle is not a new concept; it was originally developed in the early twentieth century. Its functionality is still spectacular today even with modern kitchen layouts. Also known as the golden triangle, the kitchen triangle is a rule that states that in a kitchen there are to be three working spaces. These spaces should be independent but close in proximity. According to its foundations, each leg of the triangle should be between four and nine feet of  the others. The sum distance of the triangle should be between the 13 and 26 feet depending on the overall size of your kitchen. The three working spaces that makeup the kitchen work triangle are the refrigerator for food storage, the sink for cleaning food, and the stove for cooking your food. 

Spacing Tips for Your Kitchen 

There are basic guidelines that should be followed when planning your kitchen. Some of the most important are 

  1. Doorways should be at least 32 inches wide; swinging doors are best, and doorways should be designed in such a way as not to interfere with the appliances in the kitchen. 
  2. Passageways through the kitchen should be at least 36 inches wide. 
  3. Walkways in working areas of the kitchen should be at least 42 inches wide for a single cook, and at least 48 inches for multiple cooks. 
  4. There should be proper ventilation systems especially in work areas that involve cooking. 
  5. If you want seating at an island, you should plan on at least 30 inches in width per bar stool.
  6. If your kitchen is less than 13 feet wide, we do not recommend adding an island at all.
  7. You should have at least 42 to 48 inches between an island or counter and a dining table
  8. Flank any sink with a countertop of 24 inches on one side and at least 18 inches on the other.
  9. Have your dishwasher be within 36 inches of your sink.
  10. Leave at least 21 inches between your dishwasher and other appliances.
  11. Remember to include trash and recycling bins within your cabinets if you want to keep your garbage bins out of sight.
  12. Plan for at least 15 inches of countertop on the handle side of your refrigerator
  13. Don’t place a cooking surface under an operable window. 
  14. Never use flammable window treatments above a stovetop or oven.
  15. For corners, consider a lazy susan or pull out shelving for efficient storage.

Islands and Counters 

Islands and counters are usually placed at the center of the kitchen, and they sometimes double as sitting and sink areas. Experts advise that there should be at least 158 inches of usable linear countertop space, including islands, that counters and islands be at  least 24 inches deep with at least 15 inches of clearance above. 

In summary, there should be a proper flow within the kitchen, and work areas should not have elements interfering with each other. We have a team of interior and kitchen designers who can help design your dream kitchen as part of your existing home renovation or new custom home.  

For more information, call us or click here to schedule your complimentary, no-obligation consultation.