Design 101: Kitchen Seating Clearances for Walkways

When you think about Kitchen Seating Requirements, the first thought is the amount of space needed for each seated person at the kitchen island or peninsula. However, it’s also just as important to determine the amount of clearance space needed behind the seated individuals for others to walk past comfortably.

Dura Supreme Cabinetry Design by designer Gwen Adair of Cabinet Supreme by Adair. Photography by Ryan Hainey.

The amount of space needed behind the kitchen island or peninsula will vary based on the following scenarios.

No Walkway Behind the Kitchen Island or Peninsula

If there is no walkway behind the island or peninsula, the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recommends a minimum of 32" of clearance space between the edge of the countertop or table to any wall or other obstuction behind the seating area.  This allows for ample space for a chair or stool to be pulled out and an individual to be sitting at the island or peninsula without feeling cramped.

A kitchen peninsula with seating and an aisle behind with no walkway.

Walkway Behind the Kitchen Island or Peninsula

If there will be a walkway behind the kitchen island or peninsula the NKBA recommends a minimum of 36" of clearance from the counter or table edge to any wall or other obstruction to allow another individual to edge past the seated diner.

Edge Past walkway behind a kitchen island or peninsula clearance requirment is 36 inches by the NKBA.

In order to walk behind the seated diner, a minimum of 44" from the countertop or table to any wall or other obstruction is recommended.  This allows ample space for the individual to comfortably walk behind the seated diner.

Walk Past Walkway clearance Behind the Kitchen Island or Peninsula is 44 inches by the NKBA kitchen deisgn standards.

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