When installing new base or wall cabinets in the kitchen, looks are not everything we should pay attention to. We should also do prep work and check how deep are kitchen counters. This way we make sure installation will be easy and problem-free.
Kitchen countertops either have the standard depth or vary based on your needs. It depends on whether you have a standard kitchen or use the same room for other activities.
Inform yourself about standard countertop depth and you can make a better, more informed decision. Measure and check exactly what you need, and you will soon have the kitchen of your dreams. You can even create your own breakfast bar and enjoy it every morning.
The wrong dimensions, on the other hand, can result in an unappealing and dysfunctional kitchen. They won’t do you any favors when you try selling the kitchen. Standard depth sells better.
But how deep are kitchen counters normally? Is a standard depth countertop suitable for your base cabinets?
Check our guide and learn about all factors that can influence your decision.
What does countertop depth mean?
Standard countertop depth refers to the distance between the back and the front of the countertop. To be able to buy the right countertop, measure the length between the wall and the front of your current countertop. Take the size of base cabinets into account.
Standard width and standard depth will guarantee both form and function, as cabinets are well arranged and easy to reach. Most stock kitchens are standardized to fit the needs of average-high people. This is how everyone can reach the cabinets without problems.
The counter depth will also decide whether it is easy and comfortable to work in the kitchen or not. The owner can, of course, decide which countertop level they need. We, even so, recommend opting for the standard depth and common measurements.
How deep are kitchen counters?
The standard for most kitchen countertops is 25 ½ inches deep. If this sounds less than you expected you can choose a deeper countertop, but this may result in wasting lots of space for no reason. If you stick to the standard, you will have a nice-looking kitchen and make good use of your space.
Lower cabinets have a standard base depth of about 24 inches deep. It means that the countertops overhang kitchen cabinets by 1 ½ inches. Keep in mind that longer countertops may also prevent you from moving around freely and safely.
Where to find information?
You can inform yourself on standard sizes in any local store, or even online. Still, let your needs be the main standard on which to base your decision. Function comes first, but you don’t want to end up with countertops that don’t match your kitchen at all.
Which is the standard counter depth for kitchen island countertops?
When it comes to standalone counters and kitchen island countertops, the standard countertop depth is different. You don’t only need these surfaces for cooking, but also for accommodating guests and storing some of your appliances. Also, kitchen island countertops look way better than base cabinets.
The height of most kitchen islands is the same, but the depth varies depending on the case. What matters the most to every homeowner is the counter space he has available.
If we would have to pick a standard counter depth, we would say 27 inches deep. This, however, applies to kitchen islands used for cooking only. If you want a small coffee station or a breakfast bar, the depth may vary.
You also need to consider how much space you have. In smaller kitchens, we recommend you go for standard countertop depth only. At best, skip the islands altogether, even if this means giving up your breakfast bar idea.
The size of the base cabinet and the kitchen counter depth
Before you decide on the depth of the kitchen countertops, measure the base of the cabinets. You also need to pay attention to the type of cabinets you own, namely whether there are doors or drawers attached. This way, you can narrow the options down to the most practical ones (and ones with suitable countertop depth) and make an informed decision.
Keep in mind that you need enough space to be able to access the doors and drawers, regardless of how the base cabinets were constructed. Also, there should be no obstructions toward the smaller kitchen appliances – those must remain within reach.
As mentioned, you need to make sure there is a 1 ½ inches countertop overhang between the base of the cabinet and the kitchen countertops.
Ergonomics and standard dimensions for kitchen countertop
Every day, more and more furniture pieces are constructed ergonomically. It means they are adapted to our bodies and our chores, to reduce the toll work will put on us in years to come. This applies to everything we use, from desks to kitchen furniture. Countertop depth also follows this trend. In a kitchen that doesn’t comply with our bodies, even chopping and cleansing can be daunting.
What is the standard depth for a kitchen countertop? As you chop something in front of the countertop, you bend your elbow to 90 degrees on both sides. Therefore, the surface needs to be 3 or a maximum of four inches deep compared to the hands. With non-standard countertop dimensions, you will find even the most usual tasks to be great pain.
Do you like to knead bread or enjoy food prep with dough? These tasks also require special bent elbow height and quality kitchen countertops. In this case, we recommend at least eight inches between the elbows and the surface. This way, you won’t need to lean that much to get the tasks done.
The cooktops should be ideally five to six inches below the level of the elbow. This is foremost a safeguard – you want to keep sizzling oils as far from your face as possible.
Standard kitchen counter depth – ADA guidelines
Ergonomics and accessible workspace are very important in every aspect of our lives. It matters when it comes to wall cabinets, upper cabinets, and even the bathroom counter. Kitchens are no exception – if you own a non-standard kitchen, most buyers could be discouraged from buying. Yet, a work area with 3 feet of knee space beneath the countertop is perfect for wheelchair users.
ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act, also prescribes standard kitchen counter depth. It recommends at least 30 inches of access space for each counter. The knee clearance should be at least 27 inches deep, while the counter should be 28 to 34 inches deep. Only in this way you can assure that the kitchen countertop is accessible and optimized for wheelchair users. Similar rules apply to bathroom countertops.
The standard appliance depths and appliance dimensions
It doesn’t make sense to invest in optimized, ergonomic countertops if you don’t do the same with appliances and other practicalities. Think of appliance dimensions and storage possibilities (like wall cabinets) to maximize the work surface. The efficiency of your workplace will also depend on the position of the outlets, so keep these in mind. Countertop dimensions matter a lot, and some extra inches may be welcome.
To ensure perfect harmony, buy deeper refrigerators and ovens that have the same depth as your kitchen countertops. Luckily for you, the counter-depth refrigerators are also mostly standard.
Which factors determine easy movement in the kitchen?
Regardless of whether you have a U-shaped kitchen or a galley layout, you need enough accessible space to move easily and have everything within your reach. The recommendation is to keep circulation space between the countertops at least 48 inches. This way, you can make cabinets accessible and reach cabinet drawers without any problem.
Even if the kitchen is big, keep this space under 64 inches, so that you don’t lose efficiency while cooking. As you can see, countertop depth affects many aspects of you’re the time you spend in the kitchen, not just the way it looks. Therefore, make smart renovating decisions starting with the proper counter depth.
Other considerations for your kitchen renovation
A kitchen countertop seems easy to pick and install, but there are many things you should consider before you buy it. The standard countertop depth and standard sizes are without doubt the most important ones, and they must be in line with all your personal needs. Another thing to look out for is solid countertop thickness. If there is no wasted space and if the working area is optimized, cooking will also be fun.
Now that you know how deep are kitchen counters, your renovation project can begin.
If you enjoyed reading this article on how deep kitchen counters are, we also wrote about subjects like how to accessorize a kitchen counter, how to get rid of cockroaches in kitchen cabinets, and what is the effect of oven cleaner on the kitchen countertops.
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