[GUIDE] Basic Kitchen Layout Designs

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Last updated: April 9, 2023

A galley kitchen is trendy and one of the most basic kitchen layout designs in a new home. However, the truth is that there are many other options available to choose from when remodeling small kitchens or larger kitchens. 

It updates the work space, countertops, cabinets, storage space, and appliances most of the time. To benefit greatly from your kitchen, I recommend you rethink your kitchen’s entire flow and plan. Efficient kitchen design is an important planning consideration before any kitchen remodel; especially, if you have a smaller space or a large family for high traffic situations. The shape of the room will help inform on what is a good design for the ultimate kitchen of your dreams.

I tried to find some U.S. data but it wasn’t easy to find. Statista, a European research company, did a survey with Canadian households on dream kitchen layouts. The survey only identified three basic kitchen design layouts. It seems Canadians had three popular kitchen layout designs. The L-shaped kitchen slightly edged out the U-shaped kitchen and the galley kitchen was the last type of layout chosen. I would guess that these primary kitchen layout shapes are similarly popular in the United States.

Smaller homes have small spaces and thus may not have the right layout to support plenty of storage. A great layout could rely on an exterior wall that is within easy reach, with upper cabinets, base cabinets, and a storage center to support functional kitchens with minimalist tendencies.

basic kitchen layout_contractor-in-hard-hat-with-level-over-custom-kitchen-drawing

You will find this in smaller condominiums, and modern loft apartment units. The single line kitchen layout has a great deal of influence in modern, urban development projects because it maximizes space utility. Also called a straight or pullman kitchen, all the design is on a single wall. You will find your utensils, cooking appliances, and work space within reach. Usually, the limiting factor is the countertop space which means that food preparation, sometimes is spread out.

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The Type of Kitchen Layout Design to Consider

A kitchen layout serves as a helpful guideline to ensure better functionality and ease of use. Before you consider any specific design for your kitchen, it is essential to think about how you use your kitchen space and your lifestyle. 

For example, if you love to entertain and cook for your guests, a peninsula or large island layout is an excellent choice as it will let you accommodate guests better. On the other hand, a smaller house can benefit from a galley layout because it is closed from different parts of the house and hides messes effectively. 

Optimize Your Kitchen Layout with the Work Triangle

The basic layouts you choose can easily make or break the overall experience around your kitchen. The working triangle is a useful conceptual tool that helps optimize plans for kitchen layouts. 

The work triangle, devised initially back in the 1940s, measures the efficiency of residential kitchens. Also called the golden triangle, this tool plots an imaginary line to form a clear unobstructed, and direct traffic path between the fridge, the kitchen sink, and the stovetop. Three major work areas in the kitchen serve as the foundations of any kitchen layout. 

The following are the main principles of the work triangle in the new kitchen layouts:

  • The sum of the length of the three legs should range from 13 to 26 feet. 
  • The length of every triangle leg should vary from 4 to 9 feet. 

There shouldn’t be any significant foot traffic patterns crossing the triangle, and there shouldn’t be any cabinets or appliances intersecting any of the work triangle’s legs. 

Not all layouts for a kitchen can perfectly fit the work triangle. But still, its principles are adapted to suit the arrangement and space of the kitchen pillars. 

Below, I discuss some of the most popular and common kitchen layouts where setup includes the different elements of the kitchen work triangle. This is a great way to start your planning.

Double-L Kitchen Layout

The double-L is a highly evolved layout for kitchen designs that features two primary work stations. The L-shaped or single wall shapes are further improved with a full-featured center island that includes a sink, a cooktop, an oven door on the side of the sink, etc.

This kitchen layout has enough space to accommodate two cooks because the workstations or food preparation areas are separated. These kitchens usually are large and can also include two sinks and additional spaces like a second dishwasher, a range hood, or a wine cooler. 

Galley or Corridor Kitchen Layout

In limited and narrow spaces like apartments, condos, or small homes, the galley or corridor-style layout is usually the only kitchen design that is possible and appropriate. 

With this particular design, adjacent walls that face each other contain all the essential kitchen services. Galley kitchens are also sometimes on the remaining sides, and this allows the kitchen to also function as a passageway between the work surface spaces. 

Another standard design is for one of the remaining two parallel walls to have an exterior door or a window, or it can also be walled off completely. This layout is highly functional since it uses the traditional kitchen triangle.

There are also more available spaces for your kitchen cabinet and counter top space. This sound design can also keep your kitchen, and its contents are well hidden if you want. 

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Island Kitchen Layout

The island layout is one of the best kitchen layouts. The island is an adaptable solution that can serve as the main prep surface in your kitchen, a washing center, a cooking center, or even both. Ask any kitchen designer, and most of them will tell you that an island dramatically improves your overall kitchen’s functionality because the work zones are accessible from any edge.

Due to its location at the center, the island serves as the traffic controller that maintains the kitchen area’s natural flow. A double island layout for a large kitchen and more open spaces strengthens the conventional kitchen setting. 

The double island layout also allows for socializing and, at the same time, creates a more functional design that forms a separate cooking and entertaining area. A moveable island also transforms one-wall kitchen layouts into a galley style. 

Meanwhile, an L-shaped layout can turn into a U-shaped or horseshoe configuration with moveable islands. These portable islands allow users to change the design of their kitchens as and when needed. 

basic kitchen layout_architectural-kitchen-project-makes-a-blueprint-according-to-the-drawing for an L shaped kitchen

L-Shape Kitchen Layout

The most popular layout for the kitchen floor plan is the L-shaped kitchen design layout. It is a layout featuring two adjoining walls that meet to form an L-shape. The two walls both hold all the kitchen services, cabinets, and continuous countertops, with the remaining two connecting walls kept open. 

The L-shaped layout is highly flexible, versatile, and efficient that is ideal for kitchens with huge square space. This layout also allows the possible use of the natural work triangle, and it also provides more countertop space than the one-wall kitchen layout and the galley layout. 

All of this becomes a great choice if you plan to add a kitchen island later because there are no cabinets that will constrict the island’s placement, making it easy to include other seating areas or a table in the kitchen. 

One Wall Kitchen Layout

The single wall kitchen layout is a design wherein one wall contains all the cabinets, countertops, and appliances like wall ovens. This particular versatile layout works equally well for highly huge spaces and smaller kitchens

One-wall kitchen design layouts are not that common because these require a lot of movement back and forth. However, if cooking is not the main focus or purpose of your living space, this one-wall layout is the best way to tuck all kitchen activities off the side. 

This layout provides unobstructed traffic flow without any visual barriers, and it is also easy to design, plan, and build. Aside from this, all the mechanical services, including electrical and plumbing, are clustered on just one side, and why this layout is often cheaper than other layouts on this list. 

Peninsula Kitchen Layout

The peninsula kitchen is a U-shape kitchen layout that features a connected island. Others often refer to this layout as the G-shaped design due to the shape formed by the attached island. 

Peninsula kitchens provide the same pattern as island kitchens, and the only difference is that they offer more workspace and leeway within reach. It is an ideal solution where space doesn’t support the independent island. 

A peninsula space is also perfect for both eating and helping with preparing meals while another person does the cooking. It becomes an excellent choice for homeowners who have enclosed kitchens but wish to replace the feel and look of open space with no need to tear down any walls. 

It is also great for medium to large kitchens featuring a bar space or a breakfast nook. 

U-Shape Design Kitchen Layout

The U-shaped kitchen layout is like a corridor-shaped plan, and the only exception is that one end wall has kitchen services and plenty of counter space. The remaining wall remains open to allow access to the kitchen.

The arrangement retains a good workflow using the traditional efficient work triangle, with the closed-end wall offering lots of space for additional cabinets. 

Just note that it might be a bit difficult to add a kitchen island to this particular design. When it comes to kitchen space planning, I recommend having aisles with a width of at least 48 inches, and however, it might be hard to achieve with this layout. 

With the three walls filled with appliances such as your microwave oven and an open fourth wall for easy access, including a seating area in the U-shaped layout may be a bit tricky. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best layout for kitchens?

The best layout for your home kitchen depends on the shape and available space. A one-wall kitchen is ideal for an open floor plan, and a galley kitchen is efficient for narrower spaces, while U-shaped kitchens are perfect for square rooms. 

How do you change your kitchen layout?

You should start with the cabinets first if you want to change the layout of your kitchen. The cabinets form your layout’s outline, and you might need to add, remove, or relocate them to achieve the new design you want. 

How do you plan the new layout for your kitchen?

Planning your kitchen layout and measuring your cabinets is a necessary process that you must do together, and creating a floor plan will help serve as your guide.

What is the ideal layout for small kitchens?

A galley layout is your best option for a narrow or small kitchen. Another popular layout for narrower and more rectangular kitchens is the L-shaped layout. These two offer sufficient countertop space for food storage and preparation, and they also rely more on cabinets for upper and lower storage areas. 

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