Design Math: Guide for Kitchen, Dining & Bath

Design Math: Guide for Kitchen, Dining & Bath

A well planned room adds comfort and convenience to the living spaces in your home.  We have crunched the numbers – here’s what you should know about creating inviting, functional dining rooms, kitchens and baths in your home.

Dining Room

  • Dining table: Aim for a 36” wide rectangular table. This size invites conversation with dinner guests to the left and right. Providing 48" between the table and the room’s entrance allows guests to easily come and go.
  • Table and walls: There’s nothing worse than feeling cramped in a dining room. Provide at least 36" between the table and any walls or furniture to give the chairs room to slide out easily.
  • Chairs: Chairs and chair arms should be able to slide under the table easily, too. Leave about 7" between the chair arm and apron of the table. Allow for about 24" between chairs to prevent hitting elbows.
  • Chandelier: Hang lighting between 24-32" from the table. If you have a ceiling higher than 8’, designers recommend raising the chandelier 3" for every additional foot in ceiling height.
  • Area rug: To allow chairs to pull out easily, a rug should be about 36" wide on all sides of your dining table. (Dining chairs should be fully on the rug – not two legs on and two legs off!)

This Old House - Kitchen
This Old House


  • Countertops: The industry standard for kitchen counters is 36" high. Most appliances and cabinets are designed to fit this height, which is comfortable for food prep. (What’s an ideal prep area? A counter around 36”.)
  • Cabinets: Upper cabinets are usually 12” deep. Keep 15-18” between the wall-mount cabinets and your countertop.
  • Sink: A kitchen sink’s height should be 29-36”.
  • Range: The distance of a cooktop to the bottom of vent hood should be 24-36”. The hood depth should cover at least half of the front burner.
  • Island: Islands with eat-in bars should be about 42” tall. This height allows you to use tall bar stools for seating. (Keep about 10” between the stools and countertop.) An island should be around 5’ by 8’ long. (Don’t go much longer – you want to be able to reach across easily!)

This Old House - Bath
This Old House


  • Cabinets: Most manufacturers build base cabinets to be 29-30” tall. Some designers recommend 36”, which can be more comfortable and ergonomic, depending on your height. Once a countertop is added, the cabinet’s height will increase by 1-2”.
  • Sconces: When installing, add a sconce about 66” above the finished floor to the center of the fixture.
  • Pedestal sink: These stand-alone sinks should be around 34” tall.
  • Towel bar: Mount a few hooks 60-68” high to hang towels and robes.