Kitchen Layouts

The most crucial part of kitchen design is deciding on a layout. A number of a number of things depend on kitchen layouts. For example, how easy to cook, eat and socialize in the kitchen depends on kitchen floor plan and not color or style. Kitchen layout decides the placement of the appliances, the sink, the cabinets, the counters, the windows and doors, and furniture, for example, kitchen table and chairs.  Common and popular kitchen layouts include galley style, L-shaped scheme, U-shaped units, central island. Please continue reading to know more about every shape including their pros and cons.

Galley style

galley styleIn galley style, cooking units are fitted along one or two opposite walls. The units are placed in two rows and the gap between the two rows should be at least 1.2m so that there is comfortable access to cupboards and drawers and sufficient room to turn and get to appliances on the other side of the room. While units are placed on both sides, the sink, cooker, and fridge are conveniently placed on either side, not directly opposite to each other. On a single run design, place the sink in the middle with the fridge and cooker on either side and leave at least 1.2m between them if possible.


this design can be efficient and streamlined depending on how well-planned it is.


you will feel like cooking in a corridor with appliances far apart.

L-Shaped design

An L-shaped layout features an open arrangement. In this arrangement, you can add a table or kitchen island. But in this layout, good lighting is essential since natural light may not reach the entire room. For more storage, you can include a section of tall cupboards but it will break up the layout.


the layout is customizable and spacious with the flexibility of adding table or island.


a large kitchen means appliances are far apart or not which requires a lot of walking between them.

U-Shaped units

U Shaped UnitsU-shaped is formed by lining three walls with cupboards or by adding a peninsula that brings the units around to create the shape. But do not make this run too long because you could feel isolated from the rest of the room. Among all possible layouts, U-Shaped is the best kitchen layouts since it is the most effective and ergonomic. Depending on availability of space, within the U-Shape, you can add an island or a dining table and chairs.

The third side of this U-Shaped kitchen layout is a peninsula. The peninsula creates extra storage and makes good use both of the area in front of the window and floor space that otherwise be unutilized while leaving access to the wall of cupboards alongside. The cooker, fridge, and sink are located within reach of each other making meal preparation more comfortable and convenient.


you are surrounded by cooking units making them more accessible.


the two corners should have fitted with flexible storage to be as useful and accessible as possible.

Central Island

central islandAn island makes your kitchen impressive and provides storage and extra space for food preparation and eating. While setting up an island, keep at least 1.2m gap between the island and units or wall. But it is unlikely that a small kitchen can accommodate an island. Small unit’s of island measures 1m square, but 1m by 2m is better.


this kitchen layout is ideal for large kitchen area which offers storage and convenient food preparation area.


the layout is not practical for small to middle-sized rooms.

Small kitchen layouts

Small apartments and homes offer plenty of charm and coziness. But often time they lack in kitchen space. However, there are still ways to make the most of your small kitchen. The best use of your tiny space depends on working with the layout of your space. Here, we have gathered a few small kitchen design ideas. These ideas would help you whether you are renovating and starting from scratch or just looking to refresh your existing space.

Add storage helpers

storage helpersYour biggest storage resources are cupboards and drawers. But often time, they are not being used fully. Instead, use retrofitting wire racks that pull out of corners or slim cupboards, some plinth drawers, or using drawer dividers for utensils, spices, pans or plates. You can also enhance your storage further with a mobile solution, for example, a trolley or butcher block on castors, or use popping baskets or containers on top of your cupboards. You need a sturdy stool nearby so you can reach them.

Avoid cluttering in a small kitchen

Clutter free kitchenInstead of using cabinet since it encroaches space to use an open shelf. Open shelving creates an open and airy feel as long as you limit the number of shelves you use, and what you keep on them.

Keep your kitchen design simple

Keep your kitchen design simpleSimple white walls make the room larger visually.  Use light, reflective materials in accordance with white walls in your small kitchen that open up space. You can use white or frosted glass cabinet doors, white stone or composite or stainless-steel worktops, and white splash back tiling in your minimalistic white kitchen.

Use portable storage

use portable storageFor compact storage, you can use a kitchen trolley on casters. The cart can also be used as an additional prep surface. When not in use you can tuck it away. It also provides extra storage for cookery books, pots, and pans. Another use of trolley is it is a handy carrier of food and drinks when you have guests.

Use a small kitchen island

You don’t have an option of using a kitchen island in your small kitchen. But there are kitchen islands of slimline designs are available. You can easily fit one of them in your small kitchen. The central workstation shown in the picture is small, but it provides extra storage space and can be used as a worktop for food preparation.

Install floor to ceiling cabinetry

Install floor to ceiling cabinetryWhile you may be in dearth of four-square footage in a small kitchen, but that does not mean your vertical space is also limited. You can place cabinets vertically up to the ceiling but plan carefully so that the room feels as open as possible. Store items that are used frequently in high cupboards. You can also add a breakfast bar. This design provides sufficient storage and workspace making your kitchen more sociable.

Kitchen layouts with island

A kitchen island is used for a whole variety of activities. For example, cooking prep, homework, morning coffee with the paper.  kitchen islands occupy a significant amount of space in the room. So, you need good kitchen island ideas in order to enhance the room’s efficiency and functionality.

Your design plan for a kitchen island depends on the following question: what it will be used for the most? What specific feature will enhance the existing kitchen? If the room does not have cabinet space, will it have more counter space?  If you do not have a dining room table, will it have additional seating arrangement?

Based on these practical questions, below are a few different kitchen island ideas that will help you make the best use of your room.

Top kitchen island ideas

Adding more counter space:

  • Creating more seating arrangement
  • Adding appliances
  • Making it multi-level
  • Getting more storage
  • Using the space above

Adding more counter space

Adding more counter spaceYou can reap many advantages of having more counter spaces. For example, more room for meal prep, multiple chefs and can be used as an eating area. Anything contrasting is eye-catching. You can do it exactly in this design concept by using a different material or color for the island counters than you did in the rest of the room. For instance, if your regular countertops are white quartz, use black or dark stained wood for the island.

Create more seating arrangements

Create more seating arrangementsIf you do not have a proper dining table or you want to create a more casual bar-seating option, add low-profile seating the island. It is an easy way to increase functionality and make the environment more social for guests and the cook.

Add more appliances

Add more appliancesSpread the workflow throughout the kitchen by incorporating sinks or stovetops into the surface of the island. In this design idea, installation is critical, especially plumbing and ventilation. This will require either running downward(most common in islands) or overhead venting(which can be expensive) and allocating extra space to in cabinet-pipes.

Multi-level design

Multi-level designYou can use the island for multiple purposes for example eating and food prep by creating variation in the height of your island. In this design concept (as the image shows), add an appliance to one level( like a sink or stovetop) and create a breakfast bar on a higher tier.

Create more storage

Create more storageAn island can add more storage. It saves you cluttering your kitchen by using drawers, cupboards, and shelves. An island could be a handy storage if appliances take up a lot of cabinet room, or if you are seeking a unique way to display certain items by using open shelving.

Utilize the space above

Utilize the space aboveUtilize the space above the island by adding suspended storage where you can showcase a matching pan collection or your best stemware. You can also experiment with lighting elements to look it more elegant.


When you are embarking on a new kitchen or remodeling your existing one, the first and the most important step is planning a kitchen layout that makes the best use of the space. Every home design is different. But there are only four or five classic kitchen layouts with their own benefits and downside.

In this article, we try to cover all of these layouts including kitchen floor plans for a small kitchen. Lastly, we also discussed on kitchen islands which is an ultimate multitasking space. A kitchen island is a work zone and social hub. It provides additional work surfaces. Make your next kitchen layouts with any of the above design.

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I am an Alabama native and a wife, a mother of two beautiful girls, and a blogger. I got my MFA in fine arts from the University of North Caroline at Greensboro. I spend my free time giving DIY makeovers to local diners, restaurants, homes and blogging about my experiences and ideas. After the post-graduation I became a self-taught crafter, decorator, builder – you name it! I am also a certified home improvement professional, specialized in kitchen renovation, design, and décor. But my ultimate passion lies in writing. I have molded my specialties in my passion. So, my blog is all about home improvement ideas and tips. I try to help the readers of mine by sharing my favorite DIY home décor projects, home renovations, and DIY furniture projects. As a writer, I am passionate about providing design and décor advice in order to help others find alternative ways towards a beautiful and holistic home improvement idea.


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