Top 6 Kitchen Layouts
The traditional work triangle that separates the sink, range and refrigerator has evolved into a more practical "work zone" concept.
The home's kitchen layout includes a spacious center island with sink that helps to define the open kitchen from the rest of the home's great room.
"We have gone from the traditional kitchen, where one person prepared meals to a multi-purpose room and a multiple-cook room, and this evolution has changed us from looking at one work triangle to multiple triangles, or 'zones,'" says Mary Jo Peterson, principal, Mary Jo Peterson Inc. "With that in mind, we have to increase clearances and look at adding comfortable spaces in the kitchen."
Popular Kitchen Layouts
Basic Kitchen Layout Guide
Still, these tried-and-true kitchen layouts still apply to today's lifestyles—with modifications.
Basic Kitchen Layout Types
One-wall. Originally called the "Pullman kitchen," the layout is generally found in studio or loft spaces because it’s the ultimate space saver. Cabinets and appliances are fixed on a single wall. Most modern designs also include an island, which evolves the space into a sort of Galley style with a walk-through corridor. Download a sample floorplan.
The one-wall kitchen layout is generally found in studio or loft spaces like this one. Cabinets and appliances are fixed on a single wall, making it the ultimate space saver. A counter-high table offers an additional work surface. Photo by Seth Lolich Gardner.
Modern variations of the one-wall kitchen layout include an island, which evolves the space into a sort of galley style with a walk-through corridor, as seen in this gourmet kitchen from the 2009 Prefit Dream Home.
When designing a one-wall, or single wall, kitchen, consider the placement and spacing of the elements of your work triangle: refrigerator, sink and stove/oven. In this layout, the designer built in counter space between each element to suit the homeowner's needs. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchens.
Arts & Crafts Style
This single wall kitchen has an updated Craftsman feel with simple door details, rustic hardware and open shelves. Design by Mary Broerman. Photo by Greg Epstein.
Wall of Luxury
In this layout the refrigerator extends onto a separate wall, but for the most part the focal point is the main wall, which consists of high-end appliances, dark-toned cabinets, blue under-cabinet lighting and a stylish backsplash. Design by Vanessa DeLeon.
Single Wall Style
Wall cut-outs were created in this soaring kitchen to create a sense of more open space. A backsplash with stainless steel tile insets creates a fun focal point. Design by Christopher J. Grubb. Photo by Jeromy Robert.
This small kitchen works double time, with cabinets and appliances on one side of the room and a dining area on the other side.
Small Kitchen Style
Small kitchens don't have to be small on style. Custom faux-finished cabinetry in a shade of blue with cloisonne gives this kitchen an eclectic country feel. Design by Jill E. Hertz.
Galley. This efficient, “lean” layout is ideal for smaller spaces and one-cook kitchens. The , also called a walk-through kitchen, is characterized by two walls opposite of each other—or two parallel countertops with a walkway in between them. Galleys make the best use of every square inch of space, and there are no troublesome corner cabinets to configure, which can add to a cabinetry budget. Download a sample floorplan.
Sleek, Modern Layout
A galley kitchen's layout is characterized by two parallel countertops with a walkway in between them. In this design by Andreas Charalambous, the dining area is on one end of the kitchen and the entryway is on the other.
All Within Reach
In a galley kitchen, the sink is typically on one side and the range is on the other. Design by Gail Drury.
This sleek, modern kitchen combines navy walls, marble countertops and ebony-stained hardwood floors with stainless steel accents. Design by Erica Islas.
Small Space Kitchen
Limestone flooring, rich cherry cabinets and granite counters maximize the wow factor in a small space. Design by Christopher J. Grubb. Photo by Scott Mayoral.
Perfect for Outdoor Entertaining
This simple galley kitchen opens up to the home’s backyard area, making it easy to cook and serve food outdoors. The layout also lets in plenty of natural light.
Have a Seat
Opening up one wall in a galley kitchen makes room for a bar-height counter that lets guests in on the cooking action. Design by Nicole Sassaman.
This homeowner removed some of the upper cabinets to make room for artwork, extending the art gallery feel of the living room inside the kitchen itself. Design by Andreas Charalambous.
Fit for a Chef
This state-of-the-art galley kitchen features Poliform cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and a back-painted glass backsplash that reflects the mood of the homeowner in the changeable LED light that shines on it. Design by Andreas Charalambous.
Dashes of Color
This galley kitchen combines red and black colors with stainless steel finishes for a bold statement.
When designing a galley kitchen, make sure you have enough aisle space and storage.
L-Shape. An solves the problem of maximizing corner space, and it’s a smart design for small and medium sized kitchens. The versatile L-shaped kitchen consists of countertops on two adjoining walls that are perpendicular, forming an L. The “legs” of the L can be as long as you want, though keeping them less than 12 to 15 feet will allow you to efficiently use the space.
With an L-shaped layout, you’ll eliminate traffic: The kitchen will not become a thoroughfare because it’s just not logistically possible. Plus, you can easily add a dining space and multiple work zones to this layout. However, avoid this layout if your kitchen is large and can support other configurations, such as adding an island, or if multiple cooks will be using the space. Download a sample floorplan.
The versatile L-shaped kitchen consists of countertops on two adjoining walls that are perpendicular, forming an L. The "legs" of the L can be as long as you want, though keeping them less than 12 to 15 feet will allow you to efficiently use the space. Design by Alicia Friedmann
An L-shape layout is often a smart choice for a smaller kitchen. In this retro-inspired kitchen, shorter "legs" mean less distance between the sink, stove and refrigerator, allowing the space to be used more efficiently.
Functional Kitchen Island
If your L-shaped kitchen is large enough to accommodate one, an island is a great addition for entertaining and extra counter space. This kitchen's spacious island with a sink allows the cook to face guests while preparing food.
Overhead Kitchen Storage
While large windows provide a gorgeous view and fill this kitchen with natural light, they take up space that could be used for storage. An island with shelving and a ceiling-mounted pot rack solve the problem, adding additional storage for dishes and cookware. Design by Greta Goss
L-shaped kitchens are often open enough to accommodate a small table, creating a casual space for family meals. This contemporary kitchen has both a table and an island with extra seating.
Flowing Floor Plan
A doorway connects this L-shaped kitchen to the backyard, opening up the space and making outdoor entertaining easy. Design by Rate My Space user Perri
Room for Two Chefs
Unlike some kitchen layouts, L-shaped kitchens are often large enough to accommodate multiple people. This kitchen's dual professional-style ranges and ample counter space allow two cooks to work at the same time, while the office nook and central island can be used for snacks or studying. Design by Alan Hilsabeck, Jr.
Universal Design in Kitchen
This kitchen's L-shaped layout makes it spacious enough to accommodate a wheelchair. The lowered countertops at the island are also wheelchair accessible. Design by Rate My Space user njhaus
By minimizing the amount of cabinets on the walls, the designer kept this kitchen light and airy. Base drawers and cabinets still provide plenty of storage space. Design by Kenneth Brown.
Kitchen With Industrial Flair
Professional-grade appliances and an efficient layout make this kitchen worthy of a restaurant. Stone walls and floors balance the stainless steel elements and keep the space from feeling cold. Design by Tina Muller
Horseshoe. The has three walls of cabinets/appliances. Today, this design has evolved from three walls to an L-shaped kitchen with an island forming the third “wall.” “This design works well because it allows for traffic flow and workflow around the island,” says Mary Jo Peterson, principal, Mary Jo Peterson Inc. “You can get more cooks into the kitchen.” Download a sample floorplan.
Design That Works With Traffic
The horseshoe, or U-shaped, layout has three walls of cabinets and appliances. An island is often added in large kitchens. The design allows for traffic flow and workflow around the island. Design by Rate My Space user SANDCASTLES
The Island Wall
An evolved version of the horseshoe design is an L-shaped kitchen with an island forming the third "wall," as seen in this kitchen. A small island becomes a casual dining area. Design by Jennifer Duneier
Small Yet Efficient Kitchen
In this U-shaped kitchen, the sink, range and oven are positioned to allow the cook to easily move from one to the other. Two windows and an opening over the stove keep the space from feeling closed in. Design by Tanya Griffin
A door leading to the backyard gives this small U-shaped kitchen a more open feel, takes advantage of the natural light and makes outdoor entertaining convenient. Design by Yvonne Landivar
Room for a Pantry
This European-inspired kitchen has a classic horseshoe layout with the sink on one wall, the stove on the second wall and the refrigerator on the third wall. The homeowner also added a walk-in pantry and island. Design by Lori Dennis
Fun and Functional Kitchen
Designed by Lou Ann Bauer, this horseshoe-shaped kitchen features a unique, colorful design and a spacious, functional layout. The central island offers a lower countertop for prepping food and a higher countertop for casual dining. Photo by David Duncan Livingston
Bright and Open
Vaulted ceilings make this horseshoe-shaped kitchen feel spacious and airy, while a large window floods the room with light. Varied cabinet heights prevent an artificial ceiling line from isolating the vaulted ceiling, allowing it to flow more naturally. Design by James Howard
Smart Kitchen Storage
In this cozy English Country-style kitchen, designer Shane Inman took the cabinetry all the way to the ceiling to maximize storage space. Even the ends of the cabinet runs are utilized for shelving and a small desk.
Angled Kitchen Island
A bar turned slightly toward the kitchen defines the space while maintaining an open feel. A cheery blue was selected for the wall color to make up for a lack of natural sunlight. Design by Teal Michel
Stone Focal Point
All eyes are drawn to the massive stone area surrounding the range in this elegant U-shaped kitchen. Design by Elizabeth Rosensteel
Island. A working may include appliances and cabinetry for storage—and it always adds additional work surface to a kitchen. It can provide a place to eat (with stools), to prepare food (with a sink) and to store beverages (with a wine cooler). The island can turn a one-wall kitchen into a galley style, and an L-shaped layout into a horseshoe.
Kitchen islands are incredibly functional, but the No. 1 misperception about islands is that everyone ought to have one. The reality is, many kitchens simply don’t have enough clearance to include this feature. Download a sample floorplan.
Kitchen islands are popular. According to the National Association of Home Builders, 80 percent of home buyers consider an island desirable or essential. But that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Consider your space to make sure you have enough clearance on all sides of the island. Design by Gregory Augustine.
A Better Work Triangle
The island in this kitchen features a second sink to use for food preparation, creating a compact and convenient work triangle. Design by Gail Drury.
Cooktop Kitchen Island
When designing a cooktop island like this one, make sure you have the structural ability to build a ventilation hood directly above. Photo by Maxwell Mackenzie. Design by Rouzita Vahhabaghai.
Traditional Kitchen Island
For many homeowners, a basic island helps make a small kitchen feel larger and adds a much-needed work surface. Design by Candice Olson.
This working island functions as a cooking area with a built-in stove and prep space and as a bar with seating.
Grab a Bite
This eight-foot-long island is great for grabbing a quick meal and as additional space for food prep. Design by Phyllis Harbinger.
This island houses the main sink and includes bar seating and built-in display shelves. Design by Dave Stimmel.
Make It a Galley
This extended island gives this L-shaped kitchen a galley-like feel and features plenty of cabinet storage, counter space and seating. Design by Tina Muller.
Give It Character
Islands can be fun as well as functional. This one is designed to complement a Mediterranean kitchen, with unique features like decorative wheels, architectural details and aged texture on the cabinet doors. The rustic hanging pot rack above it adds more Old World charm.
This custom-designed stone island features a deck-mounted pot filler and custom-designed hood mixed with state-of-the-art appliances.
The island in this horseshoe, or U-shape, kitchen features a second sink and acts like a dining area that can seat several people.
Small Kitchen Island
An island doesn’t have to be big, especially if you have a small kitchen. A simple island like this one is highly functional and doesn’t take up much space. Design by Didier Michot.
The island in this L-shaped kitchen allows the homeowner to prepare food on one side while entertaining guests sitting on the other side.
Peninsula. A is basically a connected island, converting an L-shaped layout into a horseshoe, or turning a horseshoe kitchen into a G-shaped design. Peninsulas function much like islands but offer more clearance in kitchens that do not allow appropriate square footage for a true island. Download a sample floorplan.
A peninsula is basically a connected island, converting an L-shaped kitchen layout into a horseshoe or U-shape. In many kitchens that have this layout, the peninsula serves as a room divider that separates the kitchen from a dining or living room area, as seen in this design.
Works Like an Island
Peninsulas function much like islands but offer more clearance in kitchens that may not be able to accommodate a true island. This bungalow kitchen is long and narrow, so rather than an island, it has a peninsula with enough seating for three. Design by Rebekah Zaveloff.
In addition to adding counter space for the kitchen, this peninsula has built-in drawers next to the seating area, turning it into potential office space. Design by Christopher J. Grubb.
Creative Space Planning
In this narrow kitchen in a Victorian row house, a peninsula separates the main sink from the bar sink, creating much-needed counter space. The peninsula also conceals a pull-out freezer drawer system. Design by Rebekah Zaveloff.
A Blend of Materials
In this layout, the peninsula converts an L-shaped kitchen into a G-shaped design, adding more space to prepare food and entertain family and guests. The design also serves an aesthetic purpose. The organically shaped butcher block bar works well with the tumbled slate backsplash, giving this kitchen a modern country feel. Design by Judith Balis.
The peninsula in this horseshoe, or U-shaped, kitchen creates a small sitting area for entertaining guests. Design by Gladys Schanstra.
More Space to Work With
This peninsula offers additional counter space, cabinet storage and bar seating. Design by Daniel Bodenmiller.
This peninsula functions as a room divider and additional work space. The original layout had peninsula cabinets suspended from the ceiling, which were replaced with decorative lights to create a more open layout. Design by Mary Broerman. Photo by Greg Epstein.
Incorporate the Triangle
In this kitchen, the primary sink is designed into a peninsula, making it an important part of the work triangle and converting an L-shape layout to a U shape. Design by Jennifer Duneier.
Create Counter Space
For this small kitchen, a peninsula provides much-needed counter space and a location for the primary sink. Design by Marie Burgos.
- Kitchen Styles
- Kitchen Color Trends
- Kitchen Layout Options and Ideas
- Kitchen Island Countertop Considerations
- Kitchen Island Design Ideas