Skip to Content

What Are The 6 Types Of Kitchen Layouts

Here we answer the question, what are the 6 types of kitchen layouts including designs for the best ergonomic work triangle zones.
L shaped kitchen design with island two tone cabinetsThe kitchen is a very important part of every home. Aside from its function, the modern kitchen has evolved from being a space to prepare food, to a social space where family or friends commune while preparing food.

Open-plan kitchens were specially designed so you can prepare food while entertaining family or guests. As such, it is imperative to have a kitchen design to suit every individual’s needs.

A good kitchen design will put into consideration different factors before coming up with any design decisions.

A couple of important questions you might have to ask your client or yourself before you remodel the kitchen are:
  1. How much space do I have, and where is it located?
  2. What type of kitchen layouts do you prefer? Which one fits best in your floor area?
  3. How many family members are there in the household?
  4. What are the appliances you need, and their sizes?
  5. How much cold storage and pantry storage do I need?

These questions can provide helpful information that will guide you in designing your kitchen. You also need to consider what we call the “working triangle” or the “kitchen triangle”, a tool used since the 20th century to design kitchens.

The principle of the working triangle basically states that the three main areas of the kitchen – the sink, the fridge, and the stove – should form a triangle.

According to this design principle, the distance between each of these areas should be between 4 feet to 9 feet, and the total length/distance to each area should be a minimum of 13 feet to a maximum of 26 feet in total.

Following this principle will help guide you in designing the kitchen, and will also help ensure the efficiency of the design.

There are, however, limitations to this, because real estate prices have gone up, some kitchens are really small and compact, and may not be able to follow these rules at all. But if you have more flexibility in space, however, the working triangle is definitely an easy and helpful tool that you can use.

So what are the 6 types of kitchen layouts? Here’s an illustration to provide a visual guide:

Ergonomic kitchen design layoutsNo matter what type of kitchen layout you have at home, the working triangle will definitely help guide you in designing.

These are the most common kitchen layouts:

  • One Wall – these are common in smaller spaces like apartments or small townhouses. The kitchen is literally against one wall in one straight line.
  • Galley Kitchen – these are usually small kitchens located in narrow rooms. The kitchen counters would be against two walls parallel to each other
  • L-Shape Kitchen – this is a common kitchen layout in both traditional kitchens and modern kitchens. The kitchen counters form an L-shape and are placed against walls perpendicular to each other.
  • U-Shape Kitchen – the kitchen counters form a U-shape, occupying 3 walls perpendicular to each other.
  • Peninsula – this type of kitchen layout is common in open-plan spaces. 3 sides of the kitchen counters are against the wall, and one counter extends perpendicularly, in which the additional counter acts as a space divider or a counter dining/bar area.
  • Island Kitchen – if any of the above kitchen layouts add a kitchen island to the design (it should be detached from any walls), it can be considered an island kitchen.

One Wall Kitchen Layout

One wall kithen layout

The common problem of one-wall kitchens would be the bottleneck, especially when there’s not enough counter space.

Try to ensure ample space between the sink, range, and fridge to avoid this. If your counter space is very limited, consider using a compact-sized sink and range to compensate for the lack of space.

Galley Kitchen Layout

Galley kitchen layoutThe challenge for galley kitchen designs is the narrowness of the space. When designing your drawers and cabinets, make sure there is enough space left when you swing out the doors or pull-out the kitchen drawers.

The minimum space between countertops should be 3 feet, but 4 to 5 feet is the most recommended distance as it allows better traffic flow.

L-shape Kitchen Layout

L shaped kitchen layoutL-shape is the most common type of kitchen layout, especially in open-plan layouts, as it doesn’t occupy too much space, and it allows for easier kitchen planning, giving you more space and flexibility.

In L-shape kitchen designs, you also need to take special care in planning for your door swings and drawers as to not obstruct movement. The corner cabinets are usually tricky, and one trick to be able to maximize the space under the corner counter is by installing a kitchen carousel.

We recommend using door hinges that have at least a 160-degrees opening angle for the cabinets at the corner, to easily access the carousel.

U-shape Kitchen Layout

U shaped kitchen layoutU-shape kitchens have the advantage of having 3 counter spaces that you can play around with. In some cases, the floor area of the kitchen is big, so having one of each of the sink, range, and the fridge on each wall will not create an efficient work triangle.

In those cases, try to put two areas in one counter – the sink and the range, for example – or you can also dedicate one whole wall as a storage/pantry wall if you need more food storage space.

In smaller U-shaped kitchens, however, having one area on each side of the counter is doable. Ensure that you have at least 3 feet clearance between two countertops as well.

Peninsula Kitchen Layout

Peninsula kitchen layoutThe additional counter space in Peninsula kitchens makes it easier to plan the kitchen. The peninsula area is often used as a bussing area, a snack area, breakfast area, etc.

If you like entertaining guests while cooking food, placing the range on the peninsula is a good idea.

Sinks are sometimes placed in the peninsula as well, but you can keep it open and empty if you want to maximize the peninsula’s counter space for food preparation and dining.

Kitchen Island Layout

Kitchen island layoutFor one-wall kitchens, a great way to add more counter space is by adding a kitchen island. The kitchen island can be used as a space divider, a counter or bar area, and more.

Similar to the peninsula, you can place your range or sink in the kitchen island. If your kitchen island is freestanding, however, it will mostly be used additional prep space or breakfast counter.

What is your favorite type of kitchen layout? Let us know in the comments below.

Mary Hutton

Wednesday 28th of April 2021

I have a large kitchen and want to put in an island, right now I'm using a portable island cart. This helps but I'd really like an island so I can have my stovetop facing out.