Make sure that you design a kitchen that is equal part style and substance. Your kitchen can be the most stylish kitchen on the block, but if it isn’t functional, you won’t enjoy it for long. To add substance to your style, design a kitchen that flows, has smart storage, and plenty of free and clear counter space.

Important functional kitchen elements

How much counter space do you need
You’ll need a clear and free countertop for each phase of cooking.

Being able to work comfortably and effectively in your kitchen is the most critical element in a functional kitchen. When you’re ready to cook, the last thing you want to do is have to clear off the counters or cram your cooking into various empty spaces on your counters. Having clear, open counter space will bring joy, harmony, and functionality to your kitchen.

How much counter space do you need?

Having empty counter space will also open up your kitchen. If there is too much clutter from appliances and other kitchenware it can make your kitchen feel cramped. Plus, if you’ve spent money on stylish and functional countertops, you shouldn’t hide them under a bunch of stuff. Clearing counter space is going to make you feel good, and your kitchen looks good. But, how much counter space do you need?

Phases of cooking

When we cook, there are typically three stages: prep, cook, clean. You’ll need counter space for each step. Part of keeping the flow of your cooking is to have plenty of room to prep, plenty of room around the stove when you start cooking, and space for empty and dirty dishes.

The right amount of counter spacePrep

First, we prep. You’re going to want a big clean area to do all of your prep work. Preferably, this counter space should be near the sink and the garbage disposal/compost so you can wash and chop in one convenient area.  You want to give yourself about 3 – 4 feet of counter space so that you can place cutting boards and utensils without knocking things off of the counter.
Having four feet of counter space will also give you enough room to keep veggies and raw meat on separate cutting boards.


Once you start cooking, you’ll want to be able to transfer your prepped food in stages. We also prepare the ingredients in stages. Some things may finish before others, and you’ll want to have counter space close to the stove so you can take cooked food off the oven and not have to carry it across the kitchen to find space.


Even a simple family dinner is going to create a bunch of dirty dishes and kitchen paraphernalia. Make sure you have counter space near the dishwasher or sink so that you can move empty, dirty dishes, and utensils out of the way. Once you transfer your prepped food to the stove and oven, you can quickly dispose of nasty stuff, keeping your other work areas clear and free.How much kitchen counter space do you need?

Depth of your kitchen counters

When you are designing your kitchen and thinking about the right amount of counter space, you may be tempted to design big long and deep countertops. However, when you are working in the kitchen, you’re not going to need more depth than your arms can reach. If you can’t reach the back of your counters, you won’t use that area. So, extra depth is just going to be dysfunctional and unnecessary empty counter space.
If you like to have a big huge area, then add a kitchen island to the center of your kitchen. A kitchen island can serve many functions simultaneously. Having a big center island will allow you to be social in your kitchen, entertaining guests around the island as you prep, cook, and clean.
For more ideas on creating a kitchen with style and substance, talk to a professional kitchen design expert at The Kitchen Showcase.