Kitchen Design 101: The 5 Fundamental Kitchen Layouts
Learn about the 5 fundamental kitchen layouts, and find out which layout works best for you!
The kitchen layout is the shape that is made by the arrangement of the countertop, major appliances and storage areas. This floor plan creates the kitchen's work triangle - the path that you make when moving from the refrigerator, to the sink, to the range to prepare a meal. When designing your new kitchen and choosing the best cabinetry solutions for your home, one of the first considerations is the overall layout of the kitchen.
There are five fundamental layouts for most kitchens - the G, L, U, single, and galley. While certain floor plans create a more spacious, efficient kitchen, each kitchen layout can be enhanced with the right cabinetry and decorative accents. Depending on the overall size of your kitchen, a kitchen island can be added to many of these layouts to expand storage and create additional counter space. The width of walkways between cabinetry and the island is important and your kitchen designer will help determine if you have enough space to accomodate an island. Kitchen islands can be created in all shapes and sizes and you are not limited to a standard square or rectangular shape.
Review the five basic kitchen layouts to identify which is most similar to your current kitchen. You and your kitchen designer may need to work within the space of your current kitchen, OR you may decide to remove or reconfigure walls to expand the space which would give you additional options for your kitchen layout. When looking at each layout, focus on the work triangle created in the room - you may find a kitchen floor plan that you prefer over your own. Keep in mind - even if you're not making significant structural changes to the kitchen, you can still enhance the layout with the right cabinetry.
The L-shaped Kitchen:
In an L-shaped kitchen layout, a natural work triangle is created from continuous counter space and work stations on two adjacent walls. The benefit of this kitchen floor plan is that it not only provides the cook with an efficient work area, but it typically opens to a nearby room, making it easy for the cook to interact with guests.
The U-shaped Kitchen:
The U-shaped kitchen design is the most versatile layout for kitchens large and small because the layout offers continuous countertops and ample storage, which surround the cook on three sides. In larger kitchens, this floor plan is spacious enough to be divided into multiple work stations for cooks to easily prepare a meal together without getting in each other's way.
How to enhance the U-shaped kitchen layout:
To maximize storage and keep countertops clutter free, conceal the microwave in a base or wall cabinet and store large cooking essentials in a corner lazy susan.
The G-shaped Kitchen:
The G-shaped kitchen layout is a version of the U-shaped kitchen layout, with the same amount of counter space and storage options that surround the cook on three sides. However, the difference with the G-shaped kitchen floor plan is the peninsula or partial fourth wall of additional cabinets.
How to enhance the G-shaped kitchen layout:
Depending on the size of the kitchen, G-shaped kitchens can seem cramped. To make the room feel more spacious, open up the wall in a nearby room and create a pass-through or breakfast bar for the family.
The Single-Wall (or Straight Kitchen):
The single-wall kitchen floor plan is ideal for smaller homes. The work triangle in this kitchen layout is less like a triangle and more of a work line with all three kitchen zones along one wall.
How to enhance the Single-wall kitchen:
Add additional storage and maximize the space by stacking cabinetry such as the wall pantry pull-out above the base pantry pull-out.
The Galley Kitchen (or Corridor Kitchen):
The galley kitchen layout has a workspace large enough for one cook. In this kitchen floor plan, the work stations face each other on parallel walls, creating a small work triangle.
How to enhance the Galley kitchen:
Similar to the single-wall kitchen floor plan, stack storage solutions to maximize space. If possible, add a pass-through or remove a wall to open the kitchen, but still allow for base cabinetry and countertop space.