The kitchen design must be aesthetically appealing just like any other room in a home. But then that is the least of a kitchen planner’s headache. The biggest challenge comes in when you want to add functionality and efficiency in a kitchen without compromising health and safety.
You cannot afford to make any mistakes especially in regards to countertop spacing, stoves and ovens, and cabinets. These features and accessories require the most attention because they are used together, almost like a set, and heat, gas, and electricity are involved. There are dangerous flames and noxious flames from the stove that can get to the cabinets, but you cannot keep the cabinets too far from the stove.
That is why different countries and states have come up with safety and health code limits for spacing between the stove, the cabinets, and other key features and accessories in the kitchen. We promise to answer the 6 FAQs in regards to spacing in the kitchen without limiting or micro-managing your creativity. Note that code limits are broad, so you need to check with your local authorities in case this article doesn’t answer all your questions. This article intends to make you a better DIY-for kitchen planner. Here we go:
If you have or intend to install wall cabinets above the stove, you should leave a minimum of 30 inches between the stove and the bottom of the cabinets. That clearance is important because of the combustible nature of all materials that are used to make cabinets. However, don’t push the cabinet too high because you don’t want to strain your back trying to access whatever you store in the cabinets. For non-combustible surfaces above the stove, such as a vent hood, 24 inches vertical space is enough.
Ideally, you should leave a paper-thin gap between the freestanding range and the cabinets on either side. That is because the smaller the gap, the lesser the dirt you will need to worry about. Crumbs and spilled liquids love to seep through that gap and you could end up with a smelly kitchen.
Note that cleaning the space between the range and the cabinets borders on an impossibility. However, leaving a paper-thin gap is not always possible. That is why safety codes in many states allow about 0.25 inches on each side of a freestanding range. Some people try to account for possible counter overhang on the cabinets, so they leave more space of about 1 to 1.25 inches. But on top of looking like a design flaw, leaving too much space also reduces your cabinets’ drawer space.
Read more: How To Organize Kitchen Cabinets And Racks
Worry not because there are gap fillers and stovetop extenders that can prevent crumbs and spilled liquids from seeping through the gap. These fillers are made of durable, easy to clean, and aesthetically appealing materials such as silicone, vinyl, stainless steel, and aluminum. You can buy them from your local home improvement store at a fairly inexpensive price. They are easy to install too.
Slide-in ranges are very different from free-standing ranges in regards to installation. Freestanding ranges are designed to stand alone, even as much as you can install them in between cabinets. As for the slide-in ranges, their design can’t allow them to stand by themselves. They have to sit between cabinets.
How much space do you need for slide-in stoves? The standard slide-in range is about 36 inches in height, 30 inches in width, and 24 inches in depth. For a seamless look, your kitchen cabinets also need to be 36 inches high. The gap between the cabinets on either side of your slide-in model should be slightly over 30 inches, say something close to 30.25 inches, just enough for the range to barely slide in. That means at most an eighth of an inch on either side. The cabinets should be slightly deeper than 24 inches to leave a sizable gap between the range and the back wall.
Ready-to-assemble cabinets (RTAs) have grown significantly in popularity over the recent past, mainly because of their affordability, easy shipping, and hassle-free assembly. They also come with many storage options that make kitchen organization easy and effective. They come with pull-out waste containers that keep your kitchen tidy by concealing your trash and recyclables. You definitely should get yourself one if you haven’t already.
But how much space should you leave between your RTA and the stove? You probably will have the RTA on the wall opposite the stove. Ideally, there should be a minimum of 48 inches clearance between the RTA and the front of your stove. This space is big enough for 2-3 people to freely work in the kitchen.
If you are planning to renew kitchen cabinet, click What is the Best Clear Coat For Kitchen Cabinets to know more.
For a slide-in stove, either electric or gas, most building codes require a minimum gap of 12 inches. For a freestanding range, you don’t need to leave any space at the back. If you have a sidewall instead of a cabinet on one or both sides of your stove, both in the case of slide-in and freestanding stove, you’ll need a gap of at least twelve inches. This is because sidewalls can block lots of heat from the cooktop, and that can be dangerous. Gas range flames can also be catastrophic when placed too close to a sidewall.
What about the space between the stove and the kitchen window? Just like the gap between a stove and a sidewall, a minimum of 12 inches is advised between the stove and the window to prevent the curtains from catching fire. The breeze from an open window can also cause gas stove explosions.
This is more of a bonus tip than a conclusion. When placing the wall cabinets, remember to leave enough room at the top for easy cleaning. If you can’t afford to leave at least 4 inches between the top of the cabinet and the ceiling, your best option is to go all the way to the ceiling. Spaces smaller than 4 inches are hard to clean despite being top accumulators of dust, dead skin, and dust mites.