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 out their importance and giving insight on solutions and practices based on my industry experience. Find out more about NKBA here.


NKBA Standards

  • Locate the microwave oven after considering the user’s height and abilities. The ideal location for the bottom of the microwave is 3″ below the principle user’s shoulder but no more than 54″ above finish floor.
  • If the microwave is placed below the countertop, the oven bottom must be at least 15″ off the finished floor.

My Experience

  • There are many installation possibilities for a microwave:
    • Oven Enclosure
    • Wall Cabinets
    • Over the Range
    • Conventional – Under the Counter
    • Microwave Drawer – Under the Counter
  • Pros and Cons of each:
    • Oven Enclosure 
      • the most convenient
      • perfect height
      • unfortunately with open floor plans the wall oven is the first to get axed
    • Wall Cabinets
      • can be too high
      • makes upper cabinet depths awkward due to the added depth for the microwave
    • Over the Range
      • best space saver
      • worst user friendly application
      • kids can’t use it because its too high
      • obstructs cooking overface
    • Conventional – Under the Counter
      • uncomfortable using controls
      • you have to bend down to put your food in/take out your food
    • Microwave Drawer – Under the Counter
      • with open floor plans this is probably the best application
      • controls are more easily accessible
      • you don’t have to bend down because it is a drawer and you can just set the food inside



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