10 Foolproof Kitchen Layouts - Plus 17 Tips To Make Them Even Better

This page is part of the affordable kitchen remodeling series, created to help homeowners design an elegant kitchen that fits their budget. You can access the entire series here.

Every home is different and for many reasons you may feel forced into one particluar kitchen layout, or maybe you're one of the lucky ones and you have enough space to choose from two or more options.

Whichever situation you find yourself in, my goal is to present you with every conceivable layout option, so that you can design an extremely efficient space that's a pleasure to cook in and maximizes storage. But even if I fail, and you're still stuck with the same layout you currently have, I can help you make your current layout work better.

How To Improve Any Kitchens Layout

I have ten different layouts for you to explore and experiment with. Let's get started with the simplest, the single wall, also known as the pullman because it was inspired by the luxurious one wall kitchens on the Pullman Companies passenger train cars.

Single Wall

A modern single wall kitchen with a green tile backsplash.
Single walls don't have to be boring.

If your only layout option is a single wall you should probably rejoice because they are the least expensive to build. Cabinets are ridiculously expensive but a single wall kitchen needs less cabinetry than any other option, and there's no pesky dead space created by a corner cabinet either.

A transitional single wall kitchen with full overlay cabinet doors.
Just because you have a small space to work with that doesn't mean it can't have a big impact. HA Architecture

Single Wall With An Island

A one wall kitchen layout with an island.
Adding an island to a single wall layout forms a perfect kitchen work triangle. Icon Design

If you have the room adding an island to the layout changes the space dramatically. In a typical one wall layout counter space is limited. The island instantly fixes that problem, and if you place the sink in the island you end up with a perfect work triangle.


A galley style kitchen.
Even the narrowest galley can still be a practical place to cook meals in. Collins Design And Development

The bigger a kitchen gets the harder it can actually be to cook in. Small galleys are easy to properly layout. Simply place the sink on one side of the room and the refrigerator and stove on the other and you instantly have an efficient space to work in.

L Shape

An L shaped kitchen.
This L shaped kitchen looks nice but can you see the problem with the layout?

L shapes are a fantastic option but too often designers screw up what they place in the corner of the room. In this example you can't stand at the sink and load the dishwasher at the same time. An easy solution is to slide the sink and stove to the right and place the dishwasher to the left of the sink.

L Shape With An Island

An L shaped kitchen with an island.
Adding an island to the popular L shaped kitchen is a marvelous upgrade. Green Tech

A smartly laid out L with a center island is the best kitchen layout, and not only for cooking but for entertaining too. No configuration is more flexible or efficient.

I like the design above a lot because as you remove food from the refrigerator you place it on the countertop behind you. The sink is part of the island so your food is already right next to the prep area. Once you're done washing, slicing, and preparing ingredients the stove is right behind you. There's even enough room for two cooks to work at the same time. It doesn't get more efficient than that!

If you do a lot of entertaining your guests will stand and sit in the stools on the other side of the island. They'll have no reason to invade your work space and you'll still be able to socialize too.

Double L

A double L shaped kitchen.
Unlike this one double L kitchens are usually poorly laid out. Archipelago Hawaii

If you're designing a double L you probably have no other choice because of your homes floor plan.

The good news is that you can create an amazing space with a double L.

The bad news is that they're much trickier to design properly, so my advice to you is to hire a professional designer to make sure you end up with a room that you love.

U Shape - Horseshoe

A U shaped kitchen with light blue shaker style doors and a tile backspalsh.
This modest horseshoe shaped kitchen would be a pleasure to cook a meal in. Granada Tile

U shaped layouts are easy to design properly as long as they aren't too large.

They're very similar to a galley because they naturally keep the appliances close to one another and usually they aren't so large that getting from one side to the the other involves more than a few small steps. If your kitchen is a large horseshoe than you'll probably want to add an island to keep all your work areas within reach of one another.

U Shape With An Island

A U shaped kitchen with an island.
This large U incorprates an island but there is an enormous problem with the layout.

If you have a large U shaped kitchen an island can help keep your work zones within arms reach of one another. Unfortunately the example above defeats the purpose of adding an island because you have to literally walk around it to get to the refigerator.

The well intentioned designer added a prep sink to the but it should be right behind the refigerator and not adjacent to the main sink.

G Shape

A G shaped kitchen with wood floors and an open floors plan.
The leg of this G adds separation between the dining room and kitchen.

A G layout adds a peninsula to a U to add more countertop space or to create a divide between the cooking and living spaces in an open floor plan.

G shapes make a nice opportunity for you to add a casual eating area to the to the kitchen with a few stool and an overhang at the countertop.

Double Island

A kitchen with two islands.
This kitchen has one island with a prep sink and a second that is a dedicated eating area. Michelle Tumlin Design

If you have the space I wouldn't blame you for having a kitchen layout with two islands. If they are smartly designed you have the opportunity to have enough room for three or more people to be able to cook meals at the same time without getting in one anothers way or to create a massive space to entertain in.

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Page Last Updated On Match 4, 2018 by Scott Jenkins