Room to Grow and Change

Room to Grow and Change

It pays to think ahead

Your kitchen is for now and for later!

GE Real Life Design concepts can help you take maximum advantage of this important space over time, or as your personal and family needs change. That means building-in flexibility and ease-of-use for kitchen users of all sizes, ages and capabilities; providing for future modifications and adaptability in key work areas; assuring good accessibility to and within the kitchen for everybody.

Here are some suggestions to make your kitchen work better - longer:

  • Generous clear floor space (minimum 30" x 48") at each appliance and work station
  • Wide work aisles - 42" to 48" recommended. If an island is included in your plan, make sure that it does not interfere with movement between work stations, that it does not impede access to any part of the kitchen, and that it is large enough to be truly useable
  • Maximize easily reachable storage; don't rely on upper wall cabinets to store frequently used or essential items
  • Cabinet hardware that doesn't require grasping, twisting or finger dexterity
  • Roll-out shelves, full-extension drawer slides and roll-out accessories for easier access
  • Pull-out auxiliary work surfaces at strategic locations, such as under an oven
  • Built-in step stool, to help reach upper cabinets
  • Some sit-down work areas, such as baking center or computer work station
  • Varied countertop heights: some at sitting height (approximately 30"), some at standard height (36"); some higher (42" to 45"), for stand-up work and taller people
  • Dishwasher raised 6" to 9" above floor level, for easier loading/unloading
  • Built-in cooktop and wall oven(s), with their greater installation flexibility
  • Countertop materials and colors that provide good contrast while working, and clearly define the countertop edge
  • Single-lever or lever handle faucets
  • Provision for future knee space under sink and cooktop
  • Provision for adjusting the height of the sink and cooktop in the future.
National Kitchen & Bath Association
The content of this article is provided courtesy of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). At, you'll find an inspiration gallery of award-winning kitchen and bath designs from NKBA members, complete with photos and floorplans. In addition, this consumer website offers articles and tips written specifically for homeowners, an extensive glossary of kitchen and bath remodeling terms, and illustrations and explanations of kitchen and bath planning guidelines. There, you can also e-mail questions to the NKBA's kitchen and bath experts, as well as order a free copy of the NKBA Kitchen & Bath Workbook.