Kitchen layout regulations

Updated February 21, 2017

If you're thinking about remodelling your kitchen, it's important to know the kitchen layout regulations and rules of thumb. Building codes vary by area, but the rules set forth by the National Kitchen and Bath Association set the standard for kitchens when it comes to builders and other industry professionals.

Leave Space

If you want to create a functional and efficient kitchen, it's important to leave space. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, you should leave at least 36 inches, or 3 feet of space, between walls and countertops or other walkways. Work aisles, such as the main aisle of your kitchen or the area between a countertop and an island, need to be at least 42 inches for one cook or 48 inches for two.

Aisles aren't the only place where space is required. Add extra space to your layout plans around appliances to create a more efficient kitchen. Although clearance around some appliances is just a recommendation, a clearance space of at least 30 inches is required between a cooking surface and the combustible surface above it.

Create Work Centers

For ease of use, create work centres. Although work centres are not technically required, they increase efficiency in work flow. Most builders and remodelling experts, including the National Kitchen and Bath Association, recommend them. A work centre includes one major appliance and the area around it. A typical kitchen features three work centres: the refrigeration work centre by the refrigerator; the cooking work centre by the oven; and the cleaning and preparation work centre near the sink.


All building codes require the kitchen cooking area to be ventilated. To meet code, you have to run ventilation ducts from the kitchen to the outside. You cannot run ducted ventilation to an attic space or other area of your home. In most cases, building codes require homeowners to install a 100 CFM, or 100 cubic feet per minute, ventilation system or hood. The National Kitchen and Bath Association recommends a 150 CFM hood. The higher a blower or ventilation system's CFM is, the higher volume of air the system moves.

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Sienna Condy began writing professionally in 2001 while attending the University of Cincinnati, and she's been at it ever since. Since graduating, she's written everything from marketing materials to articles on removing stains. Today, she enjoys writing about weddings, legal issues, science, health and parenting.