How To Design A Better Kitchen

October 13, 2017

As a certified Kitchen & Bath Designer, I love the guidelines the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) has provided us for the most efficient, functional, and safe Kitchens. This article from highlights the NKBA guidelines, specifically “Thirty-One Ways To A Better Kitchen”.


I’m going to focus on FIVE of the thirty one they’ve mentioned – giving them my own real world experience spin.


1. Door Interference:


This seems like a “no brainer”, but you’d be surprised how often I see this in homes of all ages. If you can’t open your dishwasher and your oven at the same time without their doors hitting… they did it WRONG. If you walk into a room and the entry door bangs into the open refrigerator door… they did it WRONG.


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Photo by Home Guide
Photo by Reddit
2. Traffic Clearance At Seating:

“Sorry. Excuse me. Can you move up a little? Just gonna scoot behind you real quick.” NO. We don’t want to say this in our own house, do we? We all love seating at an island or on a peninsula, but it’s important to make sure this seating area doesn’t interfere with the traffic flow. If people are passing behind a seated diner, you will need at least 36” of space to edge past or 44” to walk past.


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Kitchen Remodel, Fairfax Virginia   


Image via Lensis Builders, Inc..jpg Kitchen Remodel, Nokesville Virginia   


3. Refrigerator Landing Area:


You just came back from that really fun trip to Harris Teeter. And you have approximately 345 bags of groceries to put away. What makes this effort harder than it has to be? No landing area to place bags near the refrigerator. Ideally, you want at LEAST 15” of countertop space on the handle side of the refrigerator, or 15” of landing space on either side of the fridge if you’ve got a French door or side by side fridge.


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Kitchen Remodel, Vienna Virginia   
Photo by Greg Hadley for Lensis Builders, Inc.



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 4. Microwave Oven Placement:


I admit it. This is one of my pet peeves. I really hate the microwave over the cooktop. I don’t like the way it looks, and in most cases, it’s placed too high. Who wants to pull something out of the microwave and spill hot food or liquid on themselves? Ideally, the bottom of the microwave should be 3 inches below the shoulder of the person who’s considered the main user. It should also not be more than 54” above the floor.



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Photo by Lensis Builders, Inc.



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5. Oven Landing Area:

This one is similar to the refrigerator landing area issue, with the added bonus of the possibility of burning yourself if done incorrectly. The brownies are done. The kids are impatiently waiting. You want to be able to take them OUT of the oven and put them down somewhere safe quickly. You DON’T want to walk halfway across the Kitchen to do this either. There should be a minimum of a 15” landing area next to the oven. If this isn’t possible, there should be a 15” wide landing area NO MORE THAN 48” away from the oven – and that’s only acceptable if the oven doesn’t open into a hallway/walkway.


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Photo by Greg Hadley for Lensis Builders, Inc.



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Ready to design and build your Dream Kitchen? Give me a call or shoot me an email. Let’s go over your “Wish List” and start designing your gorgeous, functional and safe new Kitchen.


Stacy Lensis, AKBD

office/showroom: 703-367-8999

mobile: 703-856-5963


If you live in the Northern Virginia area and you’re interested in a free estimate, or would like to know how Lensis Builders, Inc. can make your home even better, give us a call at 703-367-8999 or fill out a short contact form. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next project, visit our Pinterest page.