5 Basic Kitchen Design Layouts

Couple in kitchen


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Remodeling a kitchen is sometimes a matter of updating appliances, countertops, and cabinets. But to really get to the essence of a kitchen, it helps to rethink the entire plan and flow of the kitchen. Basic kitchen design layouts are templates that you can use for your own kitchen. You may not necessarily use the kitchen layout as-is, but it's a great springboard for developing other ideas and making the design one that's purely unique.

One-Wall Kitchen Layout

A kitchen design where all appliances, cabinets, and countertops are positioned along one wall is known as the one-wall layout. The one-wall kitchen layout can work equally well for both very small kitchens and for extremely big spaces.

One-wall kitchen layouts aren't very common since they require so much walking back and forth. But if cooking isn't the focus of your living space, a one-wall layout is a great way to tuck kitchen activities off to the side.

  • Unimpeded traffic flow

  • No visual barriers

  • Easy to design, plan, and build

  • Mechanical services (plumbing and electrical) clustered on one wall

  • Lower cost than other layouts

  • Limited counter space

  • Does not utilize the classic kitchen triangle, so may be less efficient than other layouts

  • Limited space makes it difficult or impossible to include a seating area

  • Homebuyers may find one-wall layouts less appealing

Corridor or Galley Kitchen Layout

When space is narrow and limited (such as in condos, small homes, and apartments), the corridor or galley-style layout is often the only kind of design possible.

In this design, two walls facing each other have all of the kitchen services. A galley kitchen may be open on both the remaining sides, allowing the kitchen to also serve as a passageway between spaces. Or, one of the two remaining walls can contain a window or exterior door, or it may be simply walled off.

  • Highly functional because it uses the classic kitchen triangle.

  • More space for counters and cabinets

  • Keeps the kitchen hidden, if that's your desire

  • Aisle is narrow, so it's not a good layout when two cooks like to work at the same time

  • Aisle can be too narrow even for some single-cook situations

  • Difficult, if not impossible, to include a seating area

  • End wall is usually dead, useless space

  • Impedes traffic flow through the house

L-Shaped Kitchen Layout

The L-shaped kitchen design plan is the most popular kitchen layout. This layout features two adjoining walls that meet in an L-shape. Both walls hold all the countertops, cabinets, and kitchen services, with the other two adjoining walls open.

For kitchens that have a large, square space, an L-shaped layout is highly efficient, versatile, and flexible.

  • Possible use of the kitchen triangle

  • Layout offers increased countertop space when compared to the galley and one-wall layouts

  • Best for adding a kitchen island because you have no cabinets constricting placement of the island

  • Easier to include a table or other seating area within the kitchen

  • Endpoints of the kitchen triangle (i.e., from range to the refrigerator) may lie quite far apart

  • Blind corners are a problem since corner base cabinets and wall cabinets can be difficult to reach

  • L-shaped kitchens may be viewed as too ordinary by some homebuyers

which kitchen layout is right for you illustration

The Spruce / Theresa Chiechi

Double-L Design Kitchen Layout

A highly evolved kitchen design layout, a double-L kitchen layout design allows for two workstations. An L-shaped or one-wall kitchen is augmented by a full-featured kitchen island that includes at least a cooktop, sink, or both.

Two cooks can easily work in this type of kitchen, as the workstations are separated. These are normally large kitchens that can include two sinks or additional appliances, such as a wine cooler or a second dishwasher.

  • Plenty of countertop space

  • Enough rooms for two cooks to work in the same kitchen

  • Requires a large amount of floor space

  • Can be more kitchen than most homeowners need

U-Shaped Kitchen Design Layout

The U-shaped kitchen design plan can be thought of as a corridor-shape plan—except that one end wall has countertops or kitchen services. The remaining wall is left open to allow access to the kitchen.

This arrangement maintains a good workflow by means of the classic kitchen triangle. The closed-end wall provides plenty of space for extra cabinets.

If you want a kitchen island, it's more difficult to squeeze one into this design. Good kitchen space planning dictates that you have aisles that are at least 48 inches wide, and that is hard to achieve in this layout.

With appliances on three walls and the fourth wall open for access, it is difficult to include a seating area in a U-shaped kitchen. 

  • Excellent workflow

  • Good use of kitchen triangle

  • Difficult to incorporate a kitchen island

  • May not be possible to have a seating area

  • Requires a lot of space