The Complete Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Dimensions and Layout

Always work with standard sizes. This should not constrain you in any way, for you have quite a choice of sizes. Doors, for example, come in widths of 300 mm, 400 mm, 450 mm, 500 mm and 600 mm. When considering the overall length of your kitchen cupboards, keep in mind the position of any doors and windows and whatever appliances you may want to integrate. Any left-over area can be customised to your taste.

Your kitchen cupboard worktop should be 600 mm deep irrespective of how big the bottom cupboards are. You have a choice of two depths for these cupboards: 500 mm and 600 mm. Should you opt for a depth of 500 mm, you could utilise the extra 100 mm at the back so that you can pass any pipes or wiring. If your wall is not tiled, having a bottom cupboard 100 mm away from the wall will isolate it from a potential source of humidity. Most appliances are 600 mm deep anyway.

With the top (or hanging) cupboard, you have a choice of 300 mm or 330 mm. This is normally at the manufacturers discretion, but the only difference is that you get marginally more space. You cannot have the top cupboard any deeper because otherwise you will hit your head or won’t be able to see what is at the back of your worktop.

Aim at symmetry when positioning the top and bottom cupboards. The doors have to have equal widths and ensure they are neatly lined up, one on top of the other all the way down the line. Otherwise, the end result will be shoddy and unsightly.

Position your appliances intelligently. Always place eye-level ovens and built-in fridge-freezers at the beginning/end of your design to gain more uninterrupted work space. You will need as much of it as possible, so don’t constrain yourself with these units before you have even started.

The space between the top and bottom cupboards is on average 500 mm.

Any lower and you would have to bend down to see the back of the work surface; any higher and it would be difficult for the average person to reach the top shelf of the top cupboard.=

The bottom cupboards should be on plastic legs, preferably with a removable plinth. The legs vary in height between 101 mm and 152 mm. In case of a flood, if the unit rests on melamine chipboard, this would absorb the water and be ruined.

Keep your work triangle to a minimum. This is the positioning of the fridge, sink and cooker, which should be not less than 3.6 m and not more than 6.6 m apart. If your total triangle length is less than 3.6 m, your kitchen will feel cramped; if the length is greater, you will have to do needless kitchen mileage.

Pay particular attention to the design of corners for these are tricky. Doors should not open into each other. You should be able to open the doors of appliances to their full extent without banging them into the wall. Should you need to fill up open space either between an appliance and the wall or at the end of a unit, you can work in open shelving, towel racks or even wine racks.

In 90 per cent of cases the sink would be positioned beneath the kitchen window. There is a wide variety of sinks to choose from with single or double drain boards, single or double basins and other convenience units built in. It depends on the size of the kitchen and your budget.

It is always a good idea to position the dishwasher beneath one of the drain boards to lose less working top space when the dishwasher door is open. Should your kitchen window overlook a shaft or face somebody else’s window across an internal yard, you can always make a feature of the window with small top cupboards and a pretty blind.