Specification Guide: How to properly design and build a kitchen?

Before starting the design, the most important thing is to understand how the kitchen will be used. This is the basic approach any architect must do. Because a kitchen cannot be a leftover space, or just a space defined at the end of a project; you have to understand that it has processes, different areas of work, and it has to be executed in general projects.

In addition to the style or design requested by the client, it is important to define a certain modulation that optimizes its performance and thus minimizes the manufacturing cost of its different elements. In this way, the measurements of all the components of the kitchen must be understood and internalized before defining the space to accommodate them.

Work Areas and Flows

  • There are a series of studies that have defined 5 general areas for the kitchen:• Pantry: food storage space, preserves, refrigerator.
  • Storage : artifacts, utensils, work tools.
  • Sink : cleaning area.
  • Preparation : ideally a large work table.
  • Cooking : kitchen and ovenThe pantry, sink, preparation and cooking spaces are permanently combined, and are related to the process of preparing a meal in the most efficient way possible. The sink, preparation and cooking areas generate an even narrower work triangle , from which different typologies are born.

Types of Kitchen

These are related to the space that is destined to design. The most used typologies include:

  • Linear (or two parallel linear)
  • In L

In UIn relation to these configurations, it is important to understand how the different circulations work. The work triangle must be maintained in a fluid relationship and cross circulations must be avoided when there is more than one person working. At this point it is always good to ask yourself the question: how would you like to use your kitchen? Or, what aspects of my current kitchen bother me or do I like the most? In this way we can design our spaces with meaning.


When starting to design and develop the plans, it must be kept in mind that the Corner cabinets of kitchen is not simply the random union of a series of pieces of furniture and artifacts, but rather is made up of modules that must follow a manufacturing logic . If the design is not clear or does not follow certain reasonable parameters to be built, conflicts can arise between the architect and the furniture maker.

In this way, what is drawn in plan has to be in direct relation to what is drawn in elevation , and the artifacts that are incorporated in the project must match the modulation.

A module consists of the following elements:

  • Lower Module: 1 back/1 back/2 sides/1 shelf /1 or 2 doors /plinth/ reinforcement bars
  • Upper Module: 1 back /1 back /2 sides / 1 roof /1 shelf /1 or 2 doors / mounting bars
  • Tower module: 1 bottom /1 rear /2 sides / 1 roof /series of shelves and doors / plinth

To avoid problems, modulation must be a design condition and no artifact can be misapplied. The artifacts must fit within a single module , thus avoiding their location between two modules. As an example, a dishwasher, an oven or a hob cannot be located right in the middle of two modules. If this happens, they will not have anything to hold on to (since there would be no support), and the installation of taps or other ducts will be difficult.

One of the biggest errors when designing appears in the search for symmetry . When designing a base piece of furniture, for example, architects tend to draw vertical lines to separate the modules and their doors, and when looking for symmetry between them, pieces of different dimensions are left behind.

It is essential to understand that the more the exact measurement of the module is repeated, the easier the construction and installation of the furniture will be . The standardization of the measures is 100% related to the cost of the final project and makes the difference between a feasible project and one that is not.

Standard dimensions

The measurements are always related to the artifacts and, in some cases, to the fittings available on the market; measures that were already (well) designed to fit with the kitchen furniture.


The standardized widths of a module are variable and will depend on the use of each module. In general, we tend to work in closed measurements, 30cm, 45cm, 50cm, 60cm, 75cm, 80cm, 90cm, 100cm, all measurements are considered from the outer side to the outer side of the module.

When thinking about the artifacts, the modules are generally 60cm and 90cmin the case of ovens, microwaves, countertops, and hoods. For example, the size of the oven is slightly less than 60 cm, and considering the sides, it is designed to fit perfectly in a 60 cm niche.


The base modules have a standard depth of 60cm. this measurement considers that the sides have a width of 58cm to which is added the door with a thickness of 1.8cm. The cover must always exceed the depth measurement of the module so that if any liquid is spilled on the cover, the liquid will not drip directly onto the wood. The depth of the module can decrease for spaces that do not have artifacts considered.


For the base modules, the height is generally 90cm from the floor to the deck. The modules must always be separated from the floor due to humidity issues, to an extent that moves between 10cm to 15cm. In addition, there are a series of adjustable legs on the market that allow you to adjust floors that are not 100% level.

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