How to Design a Kitchen Layout: A Complete Guide

Does your kitchen work for you, like really work for you? Is it a room that has a natural and intuitive flow? Or does it always feel like there’s some kind of underlying chaos while you’re trying to work?

If you’ve answered the latter, chances are your kitchen layout is off. You may think that if you have all the appliances you need, your kitchen should work in whatever formation. That’s not true.

A cohesive layout is the key to a kitchen that’s easy to work in. You might be wondering how to design a kitchen layout that promotes a natural working flow. You’re in luck because this guide is here to help you.

Design Term You Must Know: The Kitchen Work Triangle

The work triangle is a design philosophy that aims to promote efficiency in the kitchen. It refers to the refrigerator, sink, and cooktop positions within the kitchen and how they are the three points of a triangle.

The basic premise is that each element should be between 4 and 9 feet away from the other. Thus creating a workspace where you can reach cooking and cleaning supplies and food storage with ease and without crowding.

Choosing Your Kitchen Layout

As you’re searching through kitchen layout ideas, you should know what to look for. You have to keep your space in mind.

Are you updating your current kitchen or tearing out the old for something brand new? How much space you have will make all the difference in what layouts are right for you.

You also have to consider who will be using or cooking in the kitchen. Is it only you or you and a partner living in the space? Or is there a family including a couple of kids?

The last thing you want to consider is your needs. If you cook a lot, you’ll want sufficient counter space. Or maybe you’re looking for more storage solutions.

Popular Kitchen Layouts

Most kitchen layout designs fall within one of these six formations. Some kitchens may combine elements for a unique design that fits their space. But before you start remodeling a kitchen, consider these six basic layout options.

Single-Wall Layout

This kitchen layout is exactly as it sounds: all of the elements of your kitchen against a single wall. You’ll find these most often in small apartment studios and condos where space may be limited, but many homes can have them too.

Single wall kitchens are economical, space-saving, and contribute well to an open floor plan. Though the work triangle isn’t a traditional triangle, you can still create it with the way you space out your appliances.

Galley-Style Layout

Add a parallel set of cabinets to a single wall kitchen, and you have the galley-style layout. Named after traditional ship kitchens, these kitchens double the space with two lines of counters facing each other.

This design is a great way to fit an entire kitchen into a long and narrow space. At the end of the kitchen, you may find a utility closet or pantry. Create the work triangle by placing one element on one wall and two on the other.

L-Shaped Layout

This kitchen layout features cabinets on adjacent walls, meeting in one corner to create an L-shape. Ideal for small kitchens and open plans alike, the L-shaped layout offers more efficiency when cooking.

The work triangle tends to have two elements on the end of each run of cabinets, with the last falling in the middle. Within the open space of this layout creates, you can add a small table for an eat-in kitchen.

U-Shaped Layout

Whether you want to think of it as adding another adjacent line of cabinets to an L-shaped kitchen or connecting the two lines of a galley-style kitchen, this layout is aptly named the U-shaped kitchen.

Featuring three walls of cabinets, this layout is versatile, fitting well in both small and large kitchens. The layout provides sufficient room for multiple cooks in the kitchen.

G-Shaped Layout

Also called a peninsula kitchen, G-shaped kitchens have a line of cabinets protruding from the wall instead of attached against it. The other walls of cabinets create either a U-shape or an L-shape.

These layouts work well in large and small spaces and create a solution if there is no room for a floating island. The peninsula is often used for food preparation or as an eat-in bar.

Island Layout

Island kitchens feature the desired floating island in the middle of the room. This adds extra counter space, providing an area where you can prep food or eat. You can turn other kitchen layouts into an island layout with this addition.

That means you can combine an island with another layout as long as your kitchen has the room to do so. You can incorporate the island into the work triangle or leave it open for other needs.

Don’t Forget About Storage

If you’re planning on remodeling a kitchen, try to add more storage than you took out. There’s so much focus on cabinets and tile that many homeowners let storage solutions slip to the last minute.

Whether you add tall cabinets or a larger pantry, having more storage will increase your kitchen’s efficiency, no matter what the layout is.

Keep Appliances in Mind

Do you have a stainless steel farmhouse sink you want to be a focus of the design? When choosing a kitchen layout, you have to consider your appliances and not only the ones in the kitchen triangle.

Where are you going to place your microwave? What about smaller countertop appliances like coffee pots, toasters, and waffle makers? Where will you store them when not in use?

Remember to design your kitchen as a whole to fit what you need.

Learn How to Design a Kitchen Layout for Better Flow

Your kitchen needs to be well-designed to function efficiently. You spend so much time in this room every day that you deserve a cohesive and easy-to-use kitchen layout.

So if you’re about to launch a kitchen renovation, pause for a moment. Use this guide to understand how to design a kitchen layout so you can finish with a kitchen that’s not only beautiful but efficient.

Need more ideas to transform your space? Check out more home and lifestyle articles on the blog.

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