WTF Fun Fact 12434 – The Kitchen Toe Kick

It’s always interesting to find out there’s a reason behind something you’ve totally taken for granted. Unless you’re remodeled your kitchen or are a contractor, you may not have thought much about the design of kitchen cabinets (beyond daydreaming about new ones).

Even those of us who have imagined getting a whole new kitchen rarely look closely at that space between the cabinet and floor and wonder why it’s there. (It’s likely the case in your bathroom as well.)

Between the floor and the cabinet base is something called the toe kick, and it’s meant to do pretty much the opposite of what it sounds like. It keeps us from kicking the bottom of the cabinets with our toes.

The goal of the toe kick is mainly ergonomic – that is, it makes life more comfortable, enabling us to stand for longer without getting fatigued or developing a backache from leaning). And it’s a safety issue as well. Have you ever tried to lean over a surface while using a knife? It’s not so stable. (Trust me, I just tried it, so you don’t have to.)

We’ve always taken our toe kick for granted, and since most of us have a backache most of the time, maybe it doesn’t seem that important. But not having one would only make things worse.

There are no legal requirements or codes for building toe kicks, so you may see super-retro kitchens or hyper-modern ones without this feature. But it’s generally the case that experienced carpenters just know the ideal dimensions and build one into your kitchen.

The standard depth for a toe kick is 3 inches, while the height is 3.5 inches. Most cabinets conform to these measurements (certainly any you buy from the hardware store). However, if you’re having your kitchen remodeled and are very tall or have otherwise larger-than-normal feet, you can always ask your contractor to give you a little extra room down there.
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Source: “Ideal Toe Kick Dimensions and Height for Cabinets” — ThoughtCo

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