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Layout Help

Posted by buehl (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 3, 11 at 5:21

Layout Help

We often get requests to help with layouts. Many of us enjoy doing this but it would help if you can post a copy of your floorplan or layout, preferably to-scale.

  • The best place to start is to draw up your kitchen (to scale, if possible) either without cabinets & appliances if you don't know where to start or with your proposed new layout if you have something to start with. Regardless, measure and label everything...walls, ceiling height, widths of doors/doorways & windows, distances between windows, walls, doors/doorways, etc.
  • If you cannot move plumbing or gas, mark them on your drawing as well.
  • Mark all doors/doorways & windows (with dimensions) and label them as to where they lead. If they're actual doors, mark how they swing.
  • It also would be helpful to see the connecting rooms, even entire first floor layouts (or whatever floor your kitchen is on), so we see how they interact with the kitchen and/or extend the kitchen feel and flow.
  • Make note of traffic flows in and out of the kitchen

Make a list of things like:

  • What are your goals? E.g., more counter space, more storage, seating in the kitchen (island? peninsula? table?), etc.
  • What is your family composition? Adults? Children? Age ranges of children? Current? Future?
  • How many kitchen workers are there? Cook(s)? Cleanup? Helpers? Now? Future? (E.g., if you have young children, plan for them as teens for both "sizing" of seating as well as helping in the kitchen in general)
  • Do you or anyone in your home cook? (No, this is not a facetious question. Some people do not cook and their kitchen is a show place only. If that's what works for you & your family, that's fine! We just need to know that.)

  • How do you see your kitchen used? Just for cooking/cleaning up? Children doing homework while you cook? Party place?
  • Do you entertain a lot? If so, formal? Informal?
  • Do you want your kitchen to be a "hang out" place? Parties only? Everyday?
  • Do you have a separate DR? Do you use it frequently? Infrequently? If infrequently, do you want to begin using it more frequently (e.g., for daily/nightly family meals)?
  • Would you like to open up the kitchen to adjacent areas? Close it up?
  • Do you plan to merge two rooms/areas (e.g., Nook and Kitchen into a Kitchen only)
  • Where are you flexible?
    • Can windows or doorways change size?
    • Can they be moved or eliminated?
    • Can windows be raised/lowered?
    • Can any walls come down?
    • Does the sink have to be centered under a window?
    • Does it have to be under a window at all?

    Note: The more constraints you put on a space (e.g., sink centered under a window, not willing to move plumbing, electric, or gas lines), the fewer options there are. So, be sure any limitations/constraints you mention are true constraints. You could say you'd like something to not be moved/changed or placed in a certain location, but if it's not a must or truly impossible, then mention it's a preference but that you would consider something different.
  • BTW...don't assume something is "too expensive" to do...check around b/f assuming, you may be pleasantly surprised at how little it costs! (E.g., if you have a basement, moving water, etc. is generally relatively inexpensive.)

  • If one can be fit...
    • Do you bake a lot and do you want a Baking Center?
    • Do you want a coffee/tea/beverage center?
    • Do you want a snack center?
  • What appliances do you plan on having (helps to figure out work flow, work zones, and types of cabinets...upper/lower vs full height, etc.)
    • Range or Cooktop or Rangetop?
    • Single or Double or no Wall Oven?
    • Warming Drawer?
    • MW? (Advantium, MW Drawer, OTR MW/Hood, countertop, built-in, shelf?)
    • DW? Standard or drawers? If drawers, 1 or 2?
    • Refrigerator (Top/bottom freezer, SxS, or all-fridge/freezer? Counter-depth (CD), standard-depth, or built-in?)
    • Ventilation Hood?
    • Other?
  • Sizes of desired appliances (e.g., 30" or 36" or 48" cooktop; 36" or 42" or 48" wide or other Refrigerator? etc.)
  • Pantry: Walk-in or cabinets? In the Kitchen or outside the Kitchen (e.g., Mudroom or hall)?

***** Very Important *****

Is there anything you:

  • Can't live without?
  • Definitely don't want?
  • Would like if you can find a way?

This information will be valuable to not only you, but also any Kitchen Designers you may hire or talk to. Additionally, if you've been haunting the site, you'll notice that we also help with almost all aspects of the remodel (including layout help).

If you do ask for help, then all of the above information will help us help you. Sometimes we stray from what you think you want to give you some ideas that you might not have thought of, but it's your kitchen and you can veto anything...we may argue for something (we're very good at that!), but in the end it's what you want. And remember, we are just giving you ideas and layout options, in the end when you finalize your design it's whatever you want and decide on! After all, this is your kitchen! [Keep this in mind if/when you use a Kitchen Designer or when dealing with a contractor--it's your kitchen, not his or hers...don't let them talk you into anything unless you're sure it's what you want!]

Here's a thread that has supplemental information: When planning a kitchen - words of wisdom

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Layout Help

[Please, do not bump this thread!]

A Few Things to Know/Keep in Mind

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Aisles widths...are determined by measuring counter edge-to-counter edge, not cabinet-to-cabinet (unless there's no counter, of course!)

    For appliances, measure from the part that sticks out the furthest (usually the handle...this info is contained in appliance specs).

  • Seating overhang...for counter-height seating should be a minimum of 15" (I think you already have that, and more, but I thought I'd mention it just in case you don't...and for anyone just lurking and reading this thread to learn more!)

    BTW...if you put decorative doors on the back of the island, they will take away approx 1" from the overhang.

  • Walkways....In a seating area, 36" of clearance from counter/table edge to wall/obstruction if no traffic passes behind seated diners. 65" of total clearance when this includes a walkway (i.e., traffic). [From the NKBA Kitchen Planning Guidelines With Access Standards]
  • There are three primary work zones...Prep Zone (70% of kitchen work/time), Cooking Zone (10% of kitchen work/time), and Cleanup Zone (20% of kitchen work/time)

    Of these, the Prep & Cooking Zones work best when either next to each other or across from each other, but across no more than a 48" aisle.

    The Cleanup Zone usually works best if it's separated from the Prep & Cooking Zones. Sometimes that means different parts of the kitchen (usually with a prep sink in the Pep Zone), other times it means the only sink in the kitchen separates them...Prep & Cooking Zones on one side of the sink, Cleanup Zone with DW on the other side of the sink.

  • Trash & recycle best in the Prep Zone, near the Cooking Zone, and, if only one and possible, near the Cleanup Zone. Far more trash & recyclables are generated while prepping and cooking than while cleaning up. So, if you have to choose, put the trash & recycle in the Prep Zone instead of the Cleanup Zone. (That's the biggest mistake I made, I put it in the Cleanup Zone across a 6' aisle from the Prep's my biggest regret by far in my kitchen.]
  • Prep sinks...should be no smaller than 12" x 12"...and bigger is better - I recommend no less than 15" in each direction, 18" would be better, IMHO. Anything smaller is not very useful for prepping. Those smaller sinks are often called "bar sinks" b/c they're really only big enough for filling a glass with water or dumping a glass. They're not big enough to clean veggies/fruit or empty a colander.
  • Zone protection...strive to protect the Cooking Zone from traffic - both through-traffic as well as in-kitchen traffic. While cooking, you are dealing with very hot pots/pans/food and you don't want to be tripping over or dodging traffic, open DW doors, etc. This usually means putting the Cooking Zone in the most "secluded" area...but not always, it depends on the workflow in your design.
  • Work/Landing Space...Be sure you have adequate work and landing space near/around appliances and in zones. Sometimes skimping is required when it's a small kitchen, but your kitchen is not small.

    [The following items are from the NKBA Kitchen Planning Guidelines With Access Standards]

    • Prep Zone...36" continuous countertop at least 16" deep for the preparation center, and be immediately adjacent to a water source.
    • Cooking Zone...See Cooktop/Range
    • Cleanup Zone...See "Sink (Only or Cleanup Sink)"
    • Sink (Only or Cleanup Sink)...At least 24" of counter frontage to one side of the primary sink, and 18" on the other side (including corner sink applications) with the 24" counter frontage at the same counter height as the sink. The minimum allowable space from corner to the edge of the primary sink is 3".
    • Sink (Prep)...At least 3" of countertop frontage on one side of secondary sinks, and 18" on the other side (including corner sink applications) with the 18" counter frontage at the same counter height as the sink.
    • Refrigerator...At least 15" counter space on the latch side of the refrigerator or on either side of a side-by-side, or at least 15" of landing space no more than 48" across from the refrigerator. If an oven is next to refrigerator, refrigerator should be the one placed next to available countertop.
    • Cooktop/Range...Open-ended kitchen: at least 9" of counter space on one side of the cooking surface and 15" on the other, at the same counter height as the appliance. Enclosed kitchen: at least 3" of clearance at an end wall protected by flame retardant material; 15" on the other side of the appliance, at the same counter height as the appliance. Countertop should extend a minimum of 9" behind the cooking surface, at the same counter height as the appliance, in any instance where there is not an abutting wall/backsplash.


      • Experiences here have shown us this is actually too little for an island or peninsula setup or when the cooktop/range is at the end of a cabinet run. For safety reasons, you need at least 18" on each side and 18" behind if there is no seating behind the cooktop/range, 24" behind if there is seating.
      • For functionality, at least 24" on each side is better, regardless of location of cooktop/range. This space can be shared with the Prep Zone on one side.
      • In the case of a range/cooktop next to a door or wall, check your local Codes, they may dictate more space b/w the door or wall and cooktop/range.]

    • Ovens (Wall)...At least 15" of landing space, at least 16" deep, next to or above oven if it opens into a primary traffic pattern. If it does not open into a traffic area, at least 15" x 16" of landing space needed [(i.e., it can be across or next to it)].
    • MW...At least 15" of landing space, a minimum of 16" deep, above, below, or adjacent to a microwave oven
    • Combined countertop for 2 adjacent locations...For two adjacent work centers, determine the longest of the two required counter lengths and add 12".

RE: Layout Help

Is there a specific place to post for layout help?


RE: Layout Help

Start a thread on the Kitchens Forum on the Discussions side asking for help and include the above information.

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