Kitchen Layout Ideas Featured Image

Choosing a kitchen layout is all about the available space that you have to work with. This will also entail making the most of every available square inch of a kitchen interior to create the maximum effect that can be used efficiently. Here are some layout ideas that will help you decide what can work for both large and small kitchen spaces.

Develop Your Kitchen Layout

architect drawing kitchen layout

Space might be considered the final frontier according to Star Trek, but in a kitchen area that is being remodeled or upgraded, you can’t simply beam down more space. This is why you need to rethink your ideas about the essential layout designs which give any size kitchen more depth and movement control. There are many ideas you can choose for maximizing space but the general layout only revolves around five types of kitchen layout designs.

The 5 Types of Kitchen Layouts

Galley (Space efficiency)

Galley kitchen illustration

Let it be known that galley kitchens are perfect for small kitchens that are often found in small homes, apartments, and condos. It’s a layout that is essentially two walls on either side and will be either or depending on where your cooking setup is placed. This is fine for having enough space to operate on either side of the kitchen but not much more than that. Some galley kitchens will have cooking appliances on one side while the opposite wall is for storage.

This design is good for creating what is called the kitchen triangle, allowing you to have everything you need close at all times – making it functional. One side can allow more counter space while the opposite side is more for cooking and selected preparation. The downside is that this space can often be too narrow for two people to work within and is a traffic problem if there is an entrance at either end.

L-shape (Corner hugging)

L-shape kitchen illustration

This layout is allowing more room which is set up to have intersecting corners of two walls become the layout design. The floor space isn’t compromised and gives versatility and flexible room for free movement. This is one of the most popular designs that can work in nearly any kitchen which also allows a dining table to be placed nearby for serving. Provided there is space, an added island is perfect to break up any residual negative space.

This layout further increases countertop space and won’t interfere with further storage when an island is added. The problems can begin if the work triangle is poorly designed and could prove to be spaced too far apart from your kitchen needs. Some people might not like this design since it can appear too ordinary unless the layout is dedicated to space-saving ideas and little effort to reach everything that you need.

U-shape (Space sharing)

U-shape kitchen illustration

The typical u-shaped kitchen is considered a better choice for those who are looking for plenty of workflows that best fit the work triangle model. Three walls form this u-shape with an open space leading into the kitchen itself. If there is enough room to plan for an added island, there must be enough space leading around the island but also isn’t limiting movement within the kitchen either.

This layout is better suited for creating a workflow environment that isn’t getting in the way of someone cooking or prepping food. The downside is that this layout needs enough space to place an island but isn’t ideal enough for seating at an island because of the room limitations. Often, a dinner seating area will need to be outside of the u-shaped kitchen whenever meals are served.

Double L-shape

Double L-shape kitchen illustration

This is best for large kitchens that have one entrance into and out from this layout design. It’s similar to the L-shaped kitchen with an additional design worked on the opposite side. One side is meant more for cooking or baking while the opposite side is for food prep and serving. These are kitchens where a countertop that borders the entrance is also doubling as an eating area.

This layout is an outstanding choice for two people to work in the kitchen without getting in the way of each other. It also gives plenty of space within the kitchen to navigate and move around with plenty of counter space. This might not appeal to some homeowners who feel drowning in their own kitchen or think it’s wasted space. For holiday meals with many dishes, this kitchen design is excellent for two cooks making many dishes at the same time.

Peninsula/single wall (Natural passage)

Peninsula or single wall kitchen illustration

One of the starkest (but most impressive) kitchen layouts is a single-wall kitchen. This design works for large or small kitchens and still manages to feel very spacious due to this design. Even if there is limited space, there is still enough room or add special touches such as an island or breakfast bar depending on your preference. This is equally impressive when this kitchen is placed next to wide glass windows or sliding doors for plenty of available light.

The important thing to remember is that a single-wall kitchen setup can combine elements in the island that doubles as a prepping of the cooking station to maximize space further. This way, the rest of the cabinet storage along the wall isn’t slowing down getting what you need for food prep or cooking duties. While there is less counter space, an island can make up for lost working countertops. Some people with limited kitchen rooms will need to be creative with this layout.

Other Tips

kitchen layout tips

Once again, each kitchen layout is a Masterclass experience in creative ways to exploit what space you have to work with. Some of these ideas can work, while some will not. That doesn’t mean you will be short of designing built-in spaces that are being used for your kitchen cabinets and the extra space around them. Here are some expert tips for layout design thoughts and ideas.

Add an island

Everyone wants to have an island of their own and this concept has been growing over the years in popularity. The problem starts with having enough space to put one in your kitchen. The basic rule of thumb is at least 42 to 48-inches between cabinets and appliances and all working areas. Between an island countertop and walkway passages, there should be 36 inches between them.

Using natural light

Light always helps to make small spaces appear much larger, so a kitchen layout is better when planning around available windows. This can also be more appealing at certain times of the day when light helps to create ambiance and mood for social settings. If you have the budget to knock out a space for a new window adding more light into your kitchen- then do it! But be careful about glare issues that can create more trouble due to select sun angles.

Maximize long islands

Even if you have limited space there is always room for long thin islands that can be considered. This can work for being a functional bar top or countertop in many cases. As long as there is adequate space to move freely in between these islands, there shouldn’t be a space issue. Although the height is one requirement that will determine the essential height for any chairs that are seated nearby or underneath a countertop eating area.

Keep the layout simple

Just like the Bubba-Gump shrimp company, keep the list of menu items simple. This isn’t so easy when so many recipes can be made with shrimp. But the connection to this rule is that everything in your kitchen should revolve around one central point, which is always the kitchen’s function. Use these three rules to determine how that function is used.

  1. Use ergonomic storage

Your cabinets need to be space-saving and allow for everything to fit what you have in your kitchen. There should always be enough space to spare as you add more items here and there. Even if you use the extra space above hanging cabinets, this is adding appeal and charm to a small kitchen that is dealing with small space.

  1. Design a work triangle

We’ve mentioned this before but it needs to be stressed that your essential ‘tools of the trade’ need to be as close to you as possible. There’s no need to place appliances far apart from each other unless you like walking back and forth in the kitchen to retrieve them. Plan at least three essential item stations to be located close by for any cooking needs.

  1. Create a handy work zone

Food prep is all part of the work in any kitchen no matter what you’re preparing. A good work zone will always have a sink nearby with cutting boards, utensils, and food ingredients all within reach. You might call this a primary workstation that is a dedicated spot you can always be comfortable working within.

Pantry storage

Older homes will always have some kind of pantry or large closet located within a kitchen. Smaller homes might have a broom closet that can be converted into a spice cabinet. Inside your average apartment or condo, these just don’t exist, so you’re limited to using the space that is available for making small pantry storage under the counters.

Additional storage and workspace

Most kitchen cabinets can be further customized by adding space organizers inside them. Thanks to new cabinet designs, there will be better chances to build in pull-out drawers which utilize empty spaces that aren’t being used. This is also great if you add pull-out counters that roll out like drawers for extra countertop space in smaller kitchens.

Using alcoves and recessed spaces

Most of the older homes can be a gold mine for using space behind walls that aren’t being used to your advantage. This allows you to add extra space within a wall that is opened up and framed to become space for shelving and small appliances. There are also those so-called dead spots between countertops where you can’t do much of anything. These spots can be transformed into separate stations which serve a specific purpose.

Banked seating and free standing furniture

There can often be spots that aren’t being used in select corners of your kitchen that aren’t dedicated storage areas. This is where banked seating is a nice touch to make a relaxing nook for breakfast or lunch. Provided there is enough room for a small table to be added and enough space to move past a banked seating location, this makes late-night meals or simple snacking a fun place to add to a kitchen.

Obviously, free-standing furniture such as chairs or barstools needs to match countertop eating areas. Yet, this is all part of matching a style that goes with your kitchen design. These items aren’t always sold with kitchen cabinets, yet many styles can easily blend in if you search around for the appropriate style that looks similar to your kitchen’s design. Visit our kitchen inspiration and ideas page to see more ideas on creating a beautiful kitchen space.

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When you engage our design team, we simplify the very complicated and tedious kitchen remodel process. We do this by listening to what you want, then translating your vision and expression into a virtual design that is uniquely yours.

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