The Best Kitchen Layout Ideas To Make the Most of Your Space

Kitchen layout ideas are important to understand because each layout has strengths and weaknesses, and you should explore each to find the one that best fits your needs.

Kitchen layout ideas
Home Beautiful Magazine

The design and shape of your kitchen are the most important things in making sure your kitchen works in an efficient way.

Some layouts will work better than others which will allow you to make the most of the space that you have.

Kitchen layout idea
Homes to Love AU

Kitchen Layout Ideas

There are six common kitchen layouts. However, each plan can be modified as needed to fit into your particular kitchen’s shape.

The Best Kitchen Layout Ideas To Make the Most of Your Space

  • Single wall kitchen – In a one-wall kitchen, designers arrange all of the cabinets, cooking appliances, and countertops along one wall. This works well in a small space or in a larger room where you are trying to conserve space or create different zones such as in an office setting.
  • Galley kitchen – A galley kitchen is named after the shape of kitchens in ships or galleys. In this layout, designers arrange the cabinets, cooking appliances, and counter space in a long and sometimes narrow layout along either side of the room with an aisle in between.
  • L-shaped kitchen – In this layout, designers lay out the kitchen appliances, cabinets, and counters in an “L” shape along perpendicular walls and joining at the corner.
  • U-shaped kitchen – Kitchen designers arrange a U-shaped kitchen along three walls in a U layout.
  • Island kitchen – An island is a freestanding unit in the kitchen that people use for food prep, storage, and for eating. Adding an island to your kitchen can enhance a layout like a single wall, L-shaped, or U-shaped kitchen and give it more depth and functional space.
  • Peninsula kitchen – A peninsula kitchen is similar to an island except the island is connected on one side creating a fixed counter that comes out into the room. This type of layout is also known as a G-shaped kitchen.

The kitchen is the heart of the home. You want it to have the best possible layout and functionality it can. Below, we’ll discuss several of the most common kitchen layouts and their pros and cons. Consider this article as a research supplement to your kitchen layout planner to be sure you’re designing the best possible space for you, your family, and your lifestyle.

Kitchen layout ideas

4 Ideas To Consider When Thinking About A Kitchen Layout

Kitchen layout ideas

Every kitchen layout has elements that work well, but the layout that will work best for you should be based on your personal needs and desires. Make sure to consider the following ideas when thinking about which layout to choose.

  1. Consider your available space – For example you may have an area that lends itself to a U-shaped kitchen, but you need extra storage and seating. Perhaps an island will work in the middle of the room.
  2. Create a work triangle – Make sure when you design the kitchen that you have an efficient kitchen work triangle in place. This is a distance between the most used appliances, the cooktop/oven, refrigerator, and sink. Each leg of the triangle should be between four and nine feet. For the most efficient and best use of space, the sum of the distance for all legs should not be less than 13 feet and not more than 26 feet.
  3. Reduce traffic through the kitchen – Of course, the kitchen will be a busy place. However, as far as you are able, try to keep the primary prep areas free of through traffic.
  4. Eating areas – The kitchen is most important for meal preparation, but it is also a place where people eat. Consider the addition of a table and chairs, a banquette, or an island for extra seating.

Single wall kitchen

Kitchen layout ideas

The floor plan for single wall kitchens is the most simple. However, that does not mean that they cannot be beautiful. This single wall kitchen style is simple but not stark. The wood paneling creates a pleasing texture that gives this wall depth and balances the adjacent walls of brick. The seating area maximizes the usability of the space.

Pros of a single wall kitchen

Kitchen layout ideas

Single wall kitchens are great space savers as they consolidate everything to one wall which works well for rooms with less space to offer. Thus, they are efficient in how they use space utilizing vertical spaces for extra storage. Further, these kitchens are the least expensive to construct.

Cons of a single wall kitchen

Kitchen layout ideas

A work triangle is not possible with a single wall kitchen creating more distances between appliances. Also, this type of layout has limited counter space and prep area which can be a problem when many people try to use the kitchen.

In addition, this kitchen layout is not favorable in the eyes of potential buyers and could reduce the cost of the home. This layout also limits the placement of extra appliances like the dishwasher because there isn’t enough space after the location of the needed appliances are decided.

Galley kitchens

Kitchen layout ideas

The galley kitchen layout has gained a bad reputation over the years because a galley, like a hallway, can be cramped and dark. However, consider this modern galley kitchen.

The natural light flows through the room warming the wood tones of the cabinets. The open space at the end features a striking window and dining area that make the whole room work.

Pros of a galley kitchen

Kitchen layout ideas

Despite their negative reputation, galley kitchens are some of the most efficient in kitchen design as everything is within easy reach.

Therefore, the work triangle is present in almost every galley kitchen design. Like the single-wall kitchen, this is another cost-efficient kitchen layout.

Cons of a galley kitchen

Kitchen layout ideas

There are definite, legitimate criticisms of the galley kitchen layout which means that it will not work for every person and space. These designs are for small kitchen layouts and do not work with multiple cooks in the kitchen.

Thus, it isn’t a good layout for most family kitchens. There is limited storage space as there are just two walls for the cabinetry and countertops.

L-Shaped kitchen layout

L-Shaped kitchen layout
Design Compendium

This kitchen is a light and airy example of an L-kitchen design layout. This kitchen designer has created a light and bright kitchen with ample counter space. While there are no upper cabinets in this design, the lower cabinets utilize drawers which allow better organization. The available floor space is taken up with the eat-in table. This gives the kitchen a more eclectic look than an island and more flexibility to move it out of the way as needed.

Pros of an L-shaped kitchen

Pros of an L-shaped kitchen

The L-shaped kitchen layout allows the creation of an efficient work triangle. There is also easy access to this kind of kitchen because there are openings on either side of the kitchen cabinets. Further, L-shaped kitchens have an open layout which is valued in the current era.

Cons of an L-shaped kitchen

Cons of an L-shaped kitchen
Ideal Home

If the L-shaped kitchen is large, the appliances may be spread out leading to a less efficient work space. The corner base cabinets found at the center of the L can be difficult places to store needed items. This is a good small kitchen layout but doesn’t work well for larger kitchens as the work surface is too spread out.

U-Shaped kitchen

U-Shaped kitchen
Heartbeet Kitchen

This kitchen design features a lovely U-shaped kitchen layout. It presents a kitchen area with an attractive design, plenty of storage space, and efficient work space.

The soft blue-green base cabinets complement the variegated tile backsplash. The wood textures give the kitchen a layered look that brings warmth into the design.

Pros of a U-shaped kitchen

Kitchen layout ideas

The U-shaped kitchen layout works well in medium or large kitchens to provide the maximum storage and available kitchen counter space. This shape is good for a house with a family as several people can be in the kitchen at once without getting in each other’s way.

Cons of a U-shaped kitchen

Kitchen layout ideas

This design is not for small kitchen layouts as the cabinets take up too much floor space. In a room that is too large, this kind of layout does not utilize available space well. Instead, you need the addition of a kitchen island or table in the middle for the best use of space.

Island kitchens

Kitchen layout ideas

One of the most popular designs today is the island kitchen layout. Notice how the island in this kitchen doesn’t just increase its storage and seating potential, it increases its design potential. The interior design in this kitchen utilizes warm wood textures on the ceilings, bar stools, and cabinetry. The textured stone beams echo the warm color while balancing the space with the addition of a cool gray tone.

Pros of an island kitchen

Pros of an island kitchen
Feeling Food

In kitchen layouts with island additions, there is more kitchen storage space, so it is possible to be more organized. Islands can be customized creating more opportunity for differentiation and unique styling. Extra work stations like prep sinks spread out the available area for cooking.

Cons of an island kitchen

Cons of an island kitchen
Hydrangea Treehouse

This design does not work well in a small kitchen as an island can make the walking area too narrow. This is one of the most expensive types of kitchen layout ideas. Also, islands can disrupt the work triangle of the kitchen creating a less efficient design.

Peninsula kitchens

Peninsula kitchens

The peninsula kitchen layout has been growing in popularity as it offers extra storage and seating potential like an island, but it does not block the middle of the room.

Consider this kitchen space. It has a short peninsula that features storage on both sides.

This kitchen has an intimate feel, unlike many open floor plan kitchens.

Pros of a peninsula kitchen

Pros of a peninsula kitchen
Martinec Builders

Peninsula kitchen layouts work well in kitchens that are wider than a galley but not large enough to fit a floating island. Peninsulas add more storage to small and medium kitchen layouts and connect an adjacent room to add more seating.

Peninsulas create a more intimate space that is free from through traffic.

Cons of a peninsula kitchen

Cons of a peninsula kitchen

When constructed in a small kitchen, peninsulas can close in the room creating the potential for traffic jams. The extra angles lead to a tight kitchen with many corners. Also, peninsulas can look awkward if not designed with thought and attention to detail.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What is the best way to layout a kitchen?

There are important considerations when thinking about the best way to layout a kitchen. First, think about your room and the most efficient way to add the most storage without taking up too much floor space. Next, make sure that you have a good work triangle area. Design where your sink should go and then the other appliances. Place the oven/stovetop on an external wall so that you can vent it outside. Last, consider how you can add vertical storage to maximize your space.

What should you not forget when designing a kitchen?

Make sure that there is room for adequate movement in the kitchen around the most used appliances and that the workflow between them is correct. Also, plan for the correct kind of lighting which includes both task and ambient lighting sources. Don’t forget to utilize all available space including the vertical spaces for storage. Last, make sure to get the correct size appliances for the space as too large or too small will decrease usability.

Which kitchen layout is the most functional?

The most popular layout is the L-shape because it is functional and fits well into many types of rooms. You can add storage and seating to an L-shaped kitchen with the addition of an island.

Does the kitchen sink have to be centered under the window?

There is no rule that states that sinks have to be placed under a window. However, this is a popular strategy for many reasons. First, the plumbing is easier through an exterior wall. A sink under the window also makes sense because this is an area where you can’t put upper cabinets. Also, doing dishes while looking outside makes the task a much more pleasant experience.

Where should a stove be placed in a kitchen?

Then you should place the sink, the refrigerator, and the stove close to one another to create an efficient work triangle. Further, if you position the stove on an external wall, this will allow you to vent the fumes outside.

What are the best small kitchen layout ideas?

First, make sure your cabinets are well organized in order to make the most with what you have. Keep the colors of the kitchen light and bright. Use all the vertical space that you can for extra storage. Also, reduce any clutter that gathers to free up all the space you can. Further, look for smaller appliances as this will allow you to have more cabinetry and counter space. Last, use the backsplash area for extra utensil storage and mugs.


Kitchen designs are one of the most important aspects to helping your house run in an efficient way.

Kitchen layout ideas will help you understand your space better and help you visualize the best kitchen design for your space. Spend the time to think through all the layout ideas and ask yourself important questions.

It will take effort, but it will save you future regret. In the long run, you will be happier with the results of a well-considered kitchen layout.