In the late 1990s, the standard dimensions for countertop heights were 86 or 87 centimeters. It was a standard, but too low. Because this working height, now considered too low, resulted in a hunched posture for those who wanted to use their hobs, do the dishes or even cut their vegetables.
To make the posture more and more ergonomic, the height of the standard worktop has been raised by a few centimeters. Putting your work plan higher is to ensure the absence of back pain in the long term. Since today, the height standard for worktops oscillates between 90 and 94 centimeters. If you find it too high or too low, you always have the option of placing your worktop at the height of your choice. This then implies the installation of a custom-made work plan. If you go through a kitchen designer, ask them when planning your kitchen to adapt the height of the worktop to your stature and that of your family members.
How to calculate how high to put the worktop in your kitchen?
The working height of your kitchen worktop is calculated from the height of your kitchen base, in other words its plinth, the size of the body of your kitchen furniture and the thickness of the worktop. The golden rule is: working height = height of the base + height of the body + thickness of the worktop. The thickness of your worktop depends on its material. Laminate worktops are available in thicknesses ranging from fifteen to forty millimeters. The ceramic models are about fifteen millimeters thick. Natural stone slabs are up to three centimeters thick. An essential factor in the calculation is the height of the closet or cabinet. Manufacturers use different dimensions here. The standard is between 710 and 780 millimeters. Standard kitchen cabinets and cupboards have heights of over three feet. These offer the most storage space. However, they are more expensive. The base under the cabinet also determines the actual height. This is the coating that is placed between the cabinet and the kitchen floor. Like a plinth, the height of which you can vary at will.
Determine the ergonomic working height
Do you think the height of your worktop depends on your height? In fact, it rather depends on the height of your elbow. To determine it, bend your elbows. If you do this at a kitchen designer or with a kitchen consultant, it measures the distance from the bottom edge of your elbow to the floor. A small example: if the distance between the ground and the elbow is 100 centimeters, the employee subtracts 10 to 15 centimeters to calculate the ideal height. It is therefore between 85 and 90 centimeters.
Variable working heights for every need
Ideally, there should be separate areas with different heights depending on the activity. A raised rinse area and a lowered baking sheet would relieve your back. Indeed, a higher sink prevents constant bending. The lowered cooking plate allows a better view of your pans. Visually, this solution requires some adaptation. It takes a little getting used to. If you are a cooking and baking lover and spend a lot of time in your kitchen at home, the solution makes more sense than a continuous countertop. Securing the upper cabinets is also crucial. Ideally, there should be 50 centimeters between the worktop and the upper part in order to guarantee a free height. The hinged wardrobes offer sufficient freedom of movement and prevent you from hitting the doors. Once again, the kitchen designer determines the right height of the cupboards according to your grip height. If you can reach the top shelf without stretching, then the height is ideal.
Height-adjustable kitchens for multiple users
If both partners or other family members like to cook, it is more difficult to adjust. Especially if the heights of the elbows differ by more than 15 centimeters, there is no ideal measurement. In general, it is advisable to align the height of the worktop with the primary user. Height-adjustable worktops are an alternative. The system is expensive. It cannot be implemented in every case or in every schedule. A motorized system is installed at the level of the cabinet. It drives the block vertically to the desired height. This installation can be considered for an island or for an individual element which is not connected to the water system.
Why is correct posture important?
Bad posture causes back pain. Too low counter heights means that you are constantly leaning forward. This puts pressure on your intervertebral discs and causes tension. If, on the other hand, your work surface is too high, there is a risk of excessive stretching of the spine. An ergonomic kitchen height saves your back every time you do your daily housework. For optimal comfort, you also have the option of choosing an additional seated workstation to avoid standing for long periods. In this case, the folding or sliding panels are ideal for arranging a space-saving work area.