Industry Ed with Richard: Kitchen and Bath Guideline Series

In this post we will discuss the NKBA Kitchen and Bathroom Planning Guidelines, by first stating the guidelines and then pointing our their importance and giving insight on  solutions and practices based on my industry experience. Find out more about NKBA here.

The Guidelines (according to the NKBA)

Seating Clearance

  • 30″ high tables/counters: Allow a 24″ wide x 18″ deep knee space for each seated diner and at least 18″ of clear knee space.
  • 36″ high counters: Allow a 24″ wide x 15″ deep knee space for each seated diner and at least 15″ of clear knee space.
  • 42″ high counters: Allow a 24″ wide x 12″ deep knee space for each seated diner and 12″ of clear knee space.

My Experience 

Overhangs are usually found on islands or peninsulas. The taller the counter is the more vertical the body is, so a taller counter requires less knee space. 

Minimum Clearance
The minimum clearance I recommend is 13″, which is what I typically use on all counter heights. Years of experience and research have proven this to be adequate.

Most Common Counter Height for Overhangs
• 36″ counter height is the most common height used for overhangs. Normal kitchen counter tops are at 36″ and it’s recommended to keep the overhang at the same height.
• I would only recommend 42″ counter height overhangs for a large island or else it can easily chop up your space.
• 30″ counter height for overhangs is mainly used for handicap accessibility.

Brackets
Most cabinet manufacturers recommend brackets for securing the overhang. I suggest minimal size brackets or else they may impede into your knee space.

Seating
I recommend armless and swivel bottoms for your chair/stool choices. This minimizes movement of your chair/stools which may wear on your floor.

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