The Five Fundamental Kitchen Layouts

Determining what kind of kitchen layout you have is key in planning for your remodel. Does the current configuration work for how you cook, entertain, and clean? It’s possible that another layout would be better suited to your individual needs, and before you start choosing those cabinets, appliances, and flooring materials, check out the five fundamental kitchen layouts so you can figure out how to work with what you’ve already got or, alternatively, how to rearrange the kitchen to make the most out of your space.

One of the most important factors in determining your kitchen layout design is making sure that you are following the rules of what’s known as the kitchen work triangle. This triangle has three main points – the refrigerator, the stove, and the sink – that the cook(s) should be able to move to and from without any obstacles, with the points located 4-9 feet from one another. The sum of all the sides of this triangle should be between 13-26 feet. Read on below for more details about how the different layouts work with the triangle. Check out free virtual kitchen remodel software online to experiment and find what works best for you. For any further questions, our consultants at Nelson cabinets are happy to discuss your options with you.

L-Shaped Layout

In this simple layout, the 2 main lines of countertops, cabinets, and appliances join in one corner to create the “L,” with the space in between open. This configuration allows for easy connection to another room so that the cook can easily bring plates to the dining table and chat with guests while cooking. Most importantly, it ensures free movement between the different points of the kitchen triangle.

U-Shaped Layout

This is one of the most efficient and symmetrical layouts, since there are two parallel sides with a shorter one joining them to create the “U” configuration. Generally, there is one point of the triangle on each side, and one of the advantages is that it frees up cabinet and counter space on either side of all three stations. Maximize the corner areas with blind corner base cabinets or lazy susan kitchen cabinets.

G-Shaped Layout

Also called a “peninsula kitchen,” this layout is just like the U-shaped one, plus a shorter, fourth side. This extra side typically has no wall cabinets and shelves or upper cabinets so the kitchen remains open. This side juts out like a peninsula, and this is where you’ll want to make the most of your countertop space, which in many cases will function as an eating area. With this layout, it’s best to plan for the points of the kitchen triangle to be relatively close to each other, leaving the peninsula open. The inner side of the peninsula is a great place for base cabinets, where you can store cookware, dry goods, as well as pots and pans.

Galley Layout

A galley kitchen is a compact space for cooking with two walls running parallel and a corridor in between. Many chefs love this arrangement because it’s easy to reach ingredients and move from one station of the triangle to the next: generally, the sides of the triangle are relatively short, so everything is just a step or two away. Smart storage solutions, like a tall pantry and bridge cabinets above the refrigerator, are essential with this design. Tall cabinets along one wall together with one appliance, such as double oven cabinets, can serve to maximize your workflow.

Single-Wall Layout

With this kitchen design, the work triangle is more of a line rather than a triangle, as all of the countertops, cabinets, and appliances are, as you’ve probably already guessed, grouped together along a single wall. This is the best layout for homes where space is tight, as the open side of the layout can lead into another room. To keep everything in the kitchen organized and within arm’s reach, you can stack cabinets strategically, with a food pantry cabinet or utility cabinets over a base cabinet, for example. Nelson Cabinetry offers pantry cabinets in a variety of heights to combine best with the single door or double door base cabinets, giving you a multitude of options to maximize your kitchen storage.