Is there a rule of thumb to go by for the range size?

July 20, 2019

Our plan shows a 48" range in the kitchen but I'm considering a 36" instead since I think it will meet my needs just fine. At what point, or kitchen size, would a 36" range look out of place?

Comments (23)

  • live_wire_oak

    The rule is: Bigger ISN’T Better.

    A standard 30” range, or cooktop and wall oven, looks great in any medium sized 12x14 kitchen. You get to maybe 15x18, and a 36” cooktop with wall ovens works better. A 48” range is pretty overwhelming for most medium sized kitchens unless carefully balanced out with all of the appliances becoming larger scale as well. A 60” range kinds needs full 36” freezer+ 36” fridge columns for instance. The overall scale of all the objects has to relate.

    Junk*Salvation thanked live_wire_oak
  • M

    You should base the stove size on your actual needs. There are people who can regularly make use of 48" or even more. But realistically, very few people can keep more than two burners in active use. So, the remaining burners end up being used for simmering. And that's frequently a task better done in a small oven.

    If you then consider just how difficult and expensive it is to properly vent anything bigger than 36", you quickly realize you're better off with a more modestly sized cooktop and additional wall ovens. We have three ovens, but "only" 30" of stove area. I'm extremely pleased with this decision.

    On the other hand, if you don't actually cook much, but instead want your range to make a design statement, then tell us. While this wouldn't work for me, I appreciate that this is a legitimate choice. And we'll be able to make suggestions for gorgeous big ranges -- at a cost, of course.

    Also, if you want a griddle or indoor grill, then a bigger rangetop might make sense. But consider this choice carefully. There are a bunch of tradeoffs involved with this decision

    Junk*Salvation thanked M
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  • Toronto Veterinarian

    " At what point, or kitchen size, would a 36" range look out of place? "

    Is your concern the look, or the function? I think you should base the size of your range or stove on how you cook and use the kitchen more and first -- then consider the looks and cost. I have seen few homes that could actually benefit from a 48" range, but that might say more about the people I know than the utility of a kitchen.

    I personally think that too often a 48" range is chosen to make a power statement, but it ends up getting in the way of the real work a person wants to do in their kitchen.

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  • tatts

    Does your plan also account for the increased exhaust capacity and make-up air supply that will be required by code?

    The rule of thumb is: What do you need? Buy that.

    Junk*Salvation thanked tatts
  • wilson853

    We had a 36" cooktop and upsized to a 48" range top. Love having the extra space to spread pots around and a spot to place a baking sheet from the oven even when burners are in use. If you use the oven a fair amount, a 36" oven takes longer to preheat. The smaller oven sizes in the 48" range might fit your needs better, but again it all depends on what and how you cook most of the time.

    Junk*Salvation thanked wilson853
  • Junk*Salvation

    Thank you for everyone's input. A lot to think on.

    Our kitchen size shows 12'x15' on the floorplan. Basically, I have no doubt a 36" will fit my needs fine. A 30" fits it now but I could use extra space every now and then in the oven so the roominess of a 36" will be a nice upgrade. I DO want it to look nice since we hope to do other higher end selections in the home, but at the same time, I don't want to break the bank. I guess I'm looking for somewhere in the middle of the road, if that makes sense.

    I have considered a 36" range with a griddle because we *love* to cook on a griddle. BUT, I have seen a lot of negative reviews on stainless steel griddles so if I get a range with one, I'm not wanting it be stainless steel. Recommendations? Open to hearing them.

  • girl_wonder

    Are you sure the griddles are stainless steel? I thought they were cast iron. If you don't like the griddle that comes with your stove you can buy one for $50-100.

    If you're sure the 36" will fit your needs, why are you even considering the 48", for resale value? You could call a realtor (maybe the one who sold you the house) to get an opinion. 36" is still decent, better the 30" which most of us have. You'll have 12" extra for cabinets etc.

  • Junk*Salvation

    I think I considered it since it is what our architect put into the kitchen floorplan, so a part of me was considering it due to looks alone. But, then I started thinking about it & the more I thought about it, the more I realized it wasn't a 'need'. Plus, I didn't want the 48" to overwhelm the kitchen (on the same note, I didn't want the smaller size make it look like I went 'cheap' since it is a new build).

    I have zero care about resale value since this is our 4th build & we have no intention of moving again (Unless there are unforeseen circumstances, obviously. I'm ready to grow old in one place & stop building/moving.) I do like the idea of an extra 12" of cabinet space, that is always good.

    About the griddles, many I have seen are stainless steel (example being Kitchenaid, but that is not the only brand). Reviews surrounding the stainless steel griddles, at least what I have seen thus far, are very low. I have a cast iron griddle I might could put across the gas burners but I've never tried that so I'm not sure how well it would work (first time I have put in a dual fuel range, I've used electric in the past). I usually use the cast iron griddles on the outside grill, etc so I'd have to look into using it on the stovetop. I currently also have an electric plug-in griddle (that is on its last leg currently, it is cooking uneven lately. It'd be nice to ditch that appliance if I could find a range with a griddle that looks to perform well.

  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC

    It's difficult to say for sure without seeing your layout, but for a 12' x 15' kitchen, I think a 36" range would be appropriate. My kitchen is 13' x 20' and I have a 36" 6-burner gas rangetop with a 42" exhaust vent and 2 wall ovens (convection and speed/microwave). It fits the space and my cooking needs just fine.

  • Annette Holbrook(z7a)

    Architects are not generally the best at kitchen planning and layout. (Exceptions allowed) It would behoove you to post your floorplan and a separate kitchen plan and get some other eyes to take a look.

    As to the range, my sister in law has a 48” range and she uses every inch of it on a regular basis. At holiday gatherings there are easily 3-4 people working in the kitchen. I will say that it gets way too crowded in front of the range. I like my 36” cooktop with ovens out of the main traffic pattern.

  • Susan Murin

    I love my 48 inch range...we are usually 2 but frequently entertain, and we have the room (24x15 kitchen with 10ft island). When cooking for 2 we use the small oven and it’s perfect- heats up fast, doesn’t waste energy, is big enough for standard pans, quarter sheets, etc. When we entertain 2 cooks can easily be at the stove. I have 6 burners and griddle. I do NOT like 36 inch range as you are heating up a cavernous oven anytime you want to bake/roast which takes a long time and wastes fuel. If you don’t have room for a 48 I would consider 36 inch cooktop with wall oven(s).

    Junk*Salvation thanked Susan Murin
  • mmilos

    48" range usually has 2 ovens while the 36" range is one big oven. I'd say it depends on how much room you have and if you'll use/need the extra oven.

    My parents have an old 36" Viking range with griddle. If I were purchasing, I would just get the 6 burner top and have a separate griddle you can place over the burners. The griddle is hard to keep clean. More burners is more versatile. Also, the 36" gas oven takes a very long time to preheat.

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  • homechef59

    I've had them all at one house or another. My favorite combination is a 36" range top and two 30" convection ovens. I use a griddle that I place on two of the burners. I find it easier to clean than a burner inset in the cooking surface. I think that 36" is a sweet spot. It has plenty of capacity and it's not so large that huge amounts of money for ventilation is required.

    Junk*Salvation thanked homechef59
  • Junk*Salvation

    Here is the kitchen as it currently sits on the layout. Kitchen is open to the living room as well.

    For those who mentioned the 36" oven taking much longer to heat, is that for a gas oven or electric oven? I am leaning towards going dual fuel so that would give me an electric oven. Cooktop will be on natural gas.

    I have considered getting a column fridge/freezer with a trim kit (gives the look of built in but about half the cost). The downside of that option is I would lose that small cabinet space beside the fridge as it sits not, & I think I might would enjoy using that as my "coffee bar" area. Been going back & forth on that idea. When looking at the plan, the lower counters will continue into the pantry. (ignore the dotted lines in the pantry, there will not be any uppers but shallow shelves around the 10-12" range)

  • Junk*Salvation


    Do you use a cast iron griddle? What size is yours? I may think on that option (6 burners instead of 4 with a griddle). Thanks!

  • Sara

    I am moving up from 30” smoothtop electric to 36” gas range right now. 48” is serious business and will increase all your costs a lot-I think there are folks for whole this is well worth it, but my guess is if you have to ask, you’re not one of them. They can look like monsters in the wrong kitchen-i wouldn’t splurge unless you really felt it was a must for you.

  • homechef59

    I use a non-stick All-Clad griddle for pancakes and sandwiches. It fits across two burners. I usually set it up from front to back.

    Junk*Salvation thanked homechef59
  • chispa

    My house was designed by someone with 6 kids and has 5 bedrooms. When I remodeled I replace the 48" range with another, due to the size of the house and price point. The kitchen also had a third oven, which I also kept. I like having it all available a few times a year, but mostly goes unused as I prefer to do grilling outside.

    We are planning to build a new house and I will have a 36" range top (probably induction) and 2 wall oven, one of which will be a Miele CSO XXL.

  • Bill D

    I am getting a 48" range for my soon-to-begin kitchen renovation . A 36" cooktop and double wall ovens might have worked in another scenario, but my kitchen designer/builder came up with a layout that makes double wall ovens awkward at best. And we love the new design, so we decided to find a work-around.

    A 36" range and a 24" steam oven was tossed around, but preheating the huge oven in the 36" would drive us nuts for weeknight dinners. Depending on which of its 2 ovens we use, the 48" will reduce preheat time by either 1) a lot or 2) massively. Plus, the extra burners on top will allow for moving things around and keeping large pots at a convenient distance. We're still getting the steam oven, as its sort if its own animal.

    My wife and I both love cooking, so the extra space will let us do that together, which has been on our wish list.

    Do we need the 48 incher? No. But do I think it will bring happiness for years to come? 100%, and that's why we're doing it. :)

  • wekick

    “A 30" fits it now but I could use extra space every now and then in the oven so the roominess of a 36" will be a nice upgrade.”

    Oven sizes can fool you. My Wolf 36” DF range will not fit a full(or 2 half sheets side by side) commercial sheet pan but a BlueStar 30” gas range will. The size in cubic feet does not tell you that much. Look at the rack size and height from the bottom rack.

    I agree with homechef 59. I would consider a rangetop and separate ovens, especially if you are thinking of dual fuel. Pick each for how it will suit your needs.

    Griddles are made out of just about every kind of metal.

    I posted about griddles towards the bottom of this post a few days ago.

    Junk*Salvation thanked wekick
  • luckyblueeye

    I got a 48" gas range for the same reasons as Bill D mentioned. Heating a small oven for little stuff, flexibility of having 2 on at the same time...lots of burners because that is where I do most of my cooking. By the way, I love carbon steel (woks) and my griddle is really great!

    This heats up much faster than my cast iron one, and responds to heat adjustments nicely! Fits over 2 burners. My new range came with a stainless griddle which weighs a ton! I can't wait to test it once the new kitchen is ready.

    Junk*Salvation thanked luckyblueeye
  • girl_wonder

    I agree with the comment that Architects, in general, are not always the best kitchen designers. Have you considered hiring a kitchen designer to optimize your space? If it were me, I’d consider flipping that fridge with the counter next to it since the flow from the sink and stove will be long and potentially awkward, going around the island. Also, the pantry is huge—it’s nice and spacious but a lot of that space is lost to aisle. So it’s 50 square feet of space but less than half (I’d estimate) is actual storage. It makes me wonder if that could be optimized. I’m not clear how this room fits into the house. The only windows I see are in the dining room, so I’d be concerned about the kitchen being dark. Also, at some point it comes down to personal preference. I like washing dishes at the window, for example. I also like having lots of empty counter space to work, so for me, that might be another reason for A 36” stove. BTW, you want a ”landing” spot next to the fridge, so I’d keep that counter next to it if I could. Maybe, as others have said, a separate oven would work for you.

  • Junk*Salvation


    Thank you for the comments. I like the idea of flipping the fridge, & am going to mention that idea to my husband before we start the slab (water line placement for the fridge). I did not think about a landing spot for the fridge since there is an island. However, as much as I like the look of the built-in fridge/freezer, I feel like I'd miss my "coffee bar" area since that is something I use daily now. I considered moving it into the pantry on the wall that has the lower cabinet but I enjoy decorating & had planned on putting open shelving above the coffee bar area for that purpose. I'll see if I can find a pic real quick of the houseplan to show the relation of the pantry. I do not plan to put shelves on both sides but in a 'L' formation, if that makes sense. Definitely not deep shelves because I despise them since things seem to get "lost" on any shelf too deep. I agree with the window situation. I have more than once thought about adding a window to the kitchen. But, my holdup is that it is in town and the windows would be overlooking right into the next door neighbors' area, plus there are really tall hedges on that side for privacy so the light coming in would not be great as it is, especially in the months with full foliage. I feel like I'd always have the blind down for privacy so it would eliminate the good of putting a window on that side. As far as washing dishes at a window, I don't feel like I have a preference really. Every house I've lived in has had something different (sometimes below a window, other times overlooking a space, etc). However, I've *never* lived with one on an island so I've been reading up from those who have to see what their take is on it after having lived with it. I don't plan to build again (this will be our 4th build) so I want to get it as close to "right" (for our lifestyle) as possible.

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