5 Best Kitchen Layouts: How to Design Efficient Kitchens

The best kitchen layouts are kitchens that are designed with both efficiency and aesthetics in mind. Whatever the size of your kitchen is, if it has been designed without thinking about its being functional, comfortable, attractive, and a dream to cook in, you are not enjoying your kitchen. Not optimally anyway.

There are some basic principles behind designing a successful kitchen and the layouts are quite straightforward, at least in most kitchen configurations. It does depend on the size and shape of the room, but the basics remain the same. The following kitchen designs should give you an understanding of how to plan something that’ll work best for your space.

The 5 Basic Kitchen Designs

The following kitchen design ideas will always work on a practical level for most kitchens, but what is important to know is that you can develop a design concept by yourself. Make it a DIY task.

Creating effective and user-friendly kitchens isn't that complicated and you really don’t need the services of an interior designer to achieve this feat. The deciding factor is basically the shape, volume, and size of the kitchen space. However, if you feel you need help to fine-tune your ideas, most home improvement stores in your locality will do it for free if you buy from them.

There are also designers online that you can employ to improve on your basic layout and perfect it. These services will come with, at least, a small fee.

1. In-line

2. Galley

3. L-shape

4. U-shape

5. Island

The smaller your kitchen space is, the more planning it requires. Tiny kitchens require you put more thoughts into its arrangement because there isn’t much space to do kitchen chores. And though you may feel that your worktop may be minimal, with strategic placements of cabinets, appliances, and other kitchen requirements, you may get more counter surface that’s important for efficient kitchen layouts.

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1. In-Line Kitchen Design

This kitchen design is also referred to as single-line kitchens. The design has cabinets and all appliances lined up against one wall. It is practical and well-suited for small and narrow kitchen spaces or those that serve as access routes. In-line kitchen layouts are found in older homes, studio apartments, and small residences. They are best suited for single users. 

2. Galley Layouts

The galley kitchen layout is like 2 in-line units facing each other like two parallel lines. Because they are lined up against two opposite walls, a comfortable space of 120cm (4 feet) is required between the two walls of kitchen units. For your kitchen design to work optimally, you need a minimum amount of space to allow for easy movement and efficient operations within the room.

There is one disadvantage with galley-style kitchens. It makes some people feel cramped, especially if there are more than two people working in the kitchen.

3. L-shape Kitchen Floor Plans

The L-Shape kitchen plan carries the in-line layout and turns around a corner at a right angle. This option is a more flexible arrangement and is great for large kitchens that incorporate dining areas. To visually divide the two zones (kitchen and eating areas), you can install a breakfast counter.

The L-shape kitchen layout is a great configuration for small and odd-shaped kitchens and works well in rectangular kitchens.

4. U-shape Kitchen Layouts

U-shape kitchens are popular designs for larger size kitchens. They consist of two corners and two ends lined up against three walls and appearing like a peninsula of sorts. The shape allows for a perfect 'work triangle' and if you plan to renovate, the U-shape layout will be a wise choice. You will require a minimum of 240cm (8 feet) between the parallel walls of the shape.

5. Kitchens with Island Units

Island kitchens are basically U-shape kitchen layouts with an island of cabinets in the centre of the U. This layout requires a fair amount of floor space for it to work effectively without restricting movement. Island units provide the ideal preparation areas because it is designed to be equidistant from all other cabinets and appliances installed in the room.

The hub, grill, sink, or the food preparation area can be installed in an island unit. If the kitchen is large enough, a 100cm wide island can have all these making them versatile mid-way point in the kitchen. Island units can come as moveable (on rollers) or built to be fixed in one position.

Can Kitchen Layouts Come in Endless Possibilities?

Yes and no.

Yes, because kitchen shapes, volumes, and sizes come in so many forms and no because a kitchen’s size can be a limiting factor. However, almost all kitchen layouts are derived from one of these basic designs. As long as each layout is designed to create an efficient work triangle, except for in-line kitchen designs, the path between the three primary workstations in a kitchen - food preparation, cooking, and washing, your kitchen design will work efficiently and functionally while maintaining a striking and appealing look.

(Images . . . Created by Viryabo@Polyvore)