Making a Kitchen Base Map

A base map of your kitchen, drawn to scale, may be the handiest tool to have in the planning stage. It will give you a good overview of the space you have, and will allow you to experiment with the positions of appliances, cabinets, and other features.

To make a map, use a measuring tape or a folding wooden rile. You may find the folding rule easier to use for short measurements, as it will hold its form when extended, making it easier to measure deep cabinets, for example.

Using a pencil and a plain sheet of paper, sketch your kitchen’s layout – be sure to include windows, doors, counters, and fixtures. Then measure each wall at the counter height. Here’s an example, using a hypothetical kitchen: Beginning in one corner, measure the distance to the outer edge of the window frame, from there to the opposite edge of the frame, from this edge to the cabinet, and from one end of the cabinet to the corner. After measuring one wall, total the figures; then take an overall measurement from corner to corner. The two figures should match. Measure the height of each wall in the same manner. Also, check corner angles with a carpenter’s square.

The next step is to draw your kitchen to scale on graph paper. I use ½-inch scale (1/2 inch equals 1 foot). A T-square and triangle will also make your job easier.

When making a base map, include both centerlines to the sink plumbing, as well as electrical symbols for outlets, switches, and fixtures. It’s also wise to note features that may affect storage, such as bearing walls and joist direction. Use the map, along with the scale cutouts of cabinets and appliances, to get an overview of your kitchen before you begin work on it.

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