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Fundamental Kitchen Design Guideline

Essential NKBA planning guidelines to create safe and functional kitchens for all users



  • The clear opening of a doorway should be at least 32’’ wide. This would require a minimum 2’-10’’ door

  • When a passage exceeds 24" in depth, the minimum clear opening increases to 36"

  • No entry door should swing interfere with the safe operation of appliances

Working distance

  • The sum of the three traveled distances should total no more than 26’ with no single leg of the triangle measuring less than 4’ nor more than 9’

  • No work triangle leg intersects an island/peninsula or other obstacle by morethan 12”


Separating Work Centers

  • A full-height tall pantry should not separate two primary work centers or interrupt the workflow

Working distance

  • No major traffic patterns should cross through the work triangle

  • Avoid passing through the work triangle, to make kitchen more functional


Working Aisle

  • The width of a work aisle should be at least 42” for one cook and at least 48” for multiple cooks. Measure between the counter frontage, tall cabinets and/or appliances

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