August 28, 2019 | Updated: 18 January 2021

Ask the Expert

How to take measurements for the kitchen

The prospect of a totally new kitchen layout is a great opportunity for stamping your identity onto an existing property or making a design statement for a new-build.

Often the investment in the kitchen can be the single most expensive element in the entire refurbishment. Not surprising given the amount of time we spend there. There are kitchen designs to suit all tastes, from rustic country charm to cutting edge contemporary sleek. One aspect however is shared by all successful kitchen layouts, the correct measurement of the space available and the contents of that space. So what is the best way to go about making sure that the kitchen measurements are correct? And how best to size the different typical elements that the contemporary kitchen must accommodate? Here below we look at some of the standard elements.



The evolution of the modern kitchen

The genesis of the standard layout that today we see replicated around the world dates back to the industrial revolution and the application of science to the kitchen. With advances in technology and the invention of modern plumbing, and electro-domestic appliances, the triangulated work area came about. The kitchen cabinets and worktop became standardised with the arrival of the fitted kitchen and nowadays these elements are codified the world over. The following is a rule-of-thumb measuring guide to the various components of the fitted kitchen.




How to measure kitchen cabinets, under-counter and wall cabinets

The built-in kitchen cabinet is normally a standard depth measured from the wall, i.e. 600mm for under-counter cabinets. For wall cabinets, the dimension should be 400 or 450mm in order to allow for headroom while preparing food. The standard widths of the kitchen cabinet are generally manufactured in increments of 50mm. The free-standing cabinet, or the kitchen island, depends on the dimensions available. However, it should be kept in mind that the distance between the built-in cabinets and the island should be a minimum of 1200mm.




Turning the corner

Fitted kitchen cabinet manufacturers have found ingenious ways to turn the corners for L shaped configurations. Rotating carousels, pull out trays and swivelling mechanisms all ensure that every single square centimetre of space can be exploited for storage. So when measuring the space available in a new kitchen keep these options in mind.


How to measure the kitchen worktop

The standard minimum depth of the kitchen worktop is 625mm (measured from the wall) but this is contingent on the space available. There is normally slightly deeper than the cabinets below in order to allow for a lip, or overhang. Kitchen worktops are always 900mm over floor level, except in specific circumstances.




Measuring kitchen doors

Whatever the equipment and furniture installed in the kitchen it must pass through its doors. So extra dimension should be allowed for and ideally, there should be a double door or sliding door to the terrace or garden directly accessible from the kitchen. When measuring the width of the doors keep in mind that the critical dimension is not the width of the door per se but the width between the door frame and the door leaf, in other words, the space available for passing items through.  


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