Kitchen Design and Safety Tips Kitchen Design and Safety Tips

Adding Interest and Accessibility to Your Kitchen

One size never fits all in a kitchen - from neither a functional nor a design standpoint. Good kitchen plans accommodate users' varying heights, ages, mobility limitations, dexterity, and most important, the changes in those elements which, inevitably, come with time.

Similarly, aesthetic tastes are different. "Cookie cutter" kitchens lack interest and individuality. A well-designed space makes a statement about its users.

But the best kitchen plans accomplish both. These simple ideas can improve both the functionality and the look of your kitchen:


Vary Counter Heights

This creates work spaces for various tasks (mixing/baking vs. cutting/chopping for example), and will better accommodate cooks of varying stature, including seated cooks. Varying heights also adds an interesting design element. The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) recommends that at least two counter heights be offered, one between 28" - 36" and another between 36" - 45."


Raise the Dishwasher

Raising the dishwasher 9"- 12" above the floor makes it more accessible and easier to load/unload because you don't have to bend to reach the bottom rack. Doing so also creates a variance in counter height, as suggested above.


Lower Some Wall Cabinets

Who says wall cabinets should all be hung at the same height? Mix it up a bit and you'll get more storage within a comfortable reach range. Cabinets can be placed right on the counter top, or can be stepped up and down to match changes in counter heights.

According to NKBA, for a standing person 5'3" to 5'7" tall, cabinet space between 15" and 69" above the floor is most accessible.

Roll it Out, Pull it Out

Maximize storage with drawers and roll-out shelves. In base cabinets, roll-outs improve accessibility by bringing pots and supplies out to you. Drawers of varying shapes and sizes used in or between upper and lower cabinets increase storage and add design interest. NKBA recommends including at least 120" of drawer or roll-out shelf frontage in kitchens under 150 sq. ft., and 165" in larger kitchens.

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Reprinted with permission by the National Kitchen and Bath Association

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