Kitchen Design basics

40 Kitchen planning guidelines (NKBA planning rules)

Designing a kitchen involves knowledge and rules from various fields, and it is counterproductive to actually leave to each designer’s expertise to create such rules. Reason why, NKBA has developed a set of guidelines based on ergonomic studies over a large period of time. More or less, these rules are adopted by most countries and implemented in the kitchen design practice.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) is the authority association for kitchen and bath professionals that started 50 years ago in the United States. Today the association has  over 40,000 members in America alone. The aim was to create an association that is resource knowledge for the kitchen and bath industry for both professionals and consumers. To further serve the industry, the association was expanded from kitchen dealers to today's total of 11 industry segments.( NKBA History, n.d.) NKBA has affiliation around the world, sharing similar philosophy to the American colleagues, in an effort to promote and nurture professionalism within kitchen and bathroom industry.

To better help the professional and consumers to create better living and working spaces, NKBA developed  a series of 40 guidelines, essential reference for designing convenient, functional, and efficient kitchens. Those guidelines are mainly born from safety and ergonomic considerations and less from aesthetic ones, and are important to be understood by anyone who attempts to enter kitchen design industry. (National Kitchen and Bath Association (1996)
In the years I taught kitchen design, together with students we spent great deal of time trying to translate these rules to life through examples, reason why I thought to explain them through few diagrams.
For easier understanding, I converted imperial measurements of the original measurements into metric system, using 1” =25mm, and 1’ =300mm.  (Feet to metres calculator n.d)

There are three major areas known as the kitchen centre of activities: the refrigerator, the cooktop, and the sink.

There are also secondary kitchen centre of activities such as:

·                     Secondary clean-up

·                     Preparation centre

·                     Microwave centre

·                     Pantry centre

·                     Serving centre

·                     Laundry

·                     Socializing centre

The three major areas in the kitchen form the working triangle. (This triangle is the shortest walking distance between the refrigerator, primary cooking surface (cooktop), and primary food preparation (sink) measured from the centre front of each appliance.)

Related to the placement of these three centres of activities and their position in the room, we have the following basic layouts:

(a)    one-wall or one-line kitchen

(b)    -corridor or gallery-shaped kitchen

(c)    -L-shape kitchen with or without an island

(d)    –U-shape with or without an island

Common kitchen layout

One-wall or one-line kitchen 

This is a smart and simple solution for narrow rooms, ideally with one wall over 3 m long, without windows or doors. However, this layout causes the longest journey distances since you often have to walk from one end of the room to the other. Therefore, it’s a good idea to place the sink in the middle of the line, with adequate space separating it from the range.

Corridor or gallery (galley)-shaped kitchen 

This shape offers the most efficient use of space, making it the choice of many professional chefs. The two rows allow room for lots of preparation space, and moving between activity areas can be as easy as turning around. However, this shape is not ideal if the corridor is open at both ends, since it can cause traffic congestion. Make sure there is enough room for opposite drawers to be opened at the same time (at least 120 cm). Another important consideration is to keep the cleaning and cooking areas on the same side in order to minimize the risk of accidents whilst moving hot pans between the sink and the cooktop.

L-shape kitchen with or without an island 

This is a very popular kitchen layout – ideal for a family kitchen or for entertaining guests, since it can easily accommodate table and chairs in the same room. Using two adjacent walls, the kitchen also benefits from the lack of through-traffic. The sink, the cooktop, and the fridge should be separated by a preparation area. 

U-shape with or without an island 

The use of three full walls in a room offers the perfect working kitchen. The fridge, the range, and the sink can be spaced out for maximum efficiency and convenience. This is great news for those who take your cooking seriously, as it provides the best workflows with the shortest distances around the kitchen. This shape also allows for large amounts of countertop and storage space. 

1 comment:

  1. I think my preference would be the Gallery style or L-shaped kitchen, particularly when entertaining. I like space in the kitchen to move around and a kitchen that offers lots of drawer and cupboard space.