Irrespective of the size and shape of your kitchen – as a room – there are just a handful of possibilities in terms of kitchen layout. For example, you might opt for an L-shaped or U-shaped layout in a large room and then use the rest of the area for eating or relaxing. Alternatively, in a small room you might find you can only utilize a single wall, or if the room is long and narrow a ship-style galley kitchen might be more appropriate.
If you are building a new home you can choose the size and shape of all the rooms, including the kitchen. But if you are working with a ready-built shell, or if you are remodeling an existing kitchen, you will have less freedom of choice. That said, many people knock out walls, block up existing doorways, and partition very large spaces to meet their particular needs.
Once you have decided which kitchen layout will work best for you and your family you can plan the position of cabinets and appliances in relation to the work sequence. You can also work on ensuring that traffic flow is efficient and the work triangle effective.
Single Line Layout
In a single line layout the work center is confined to one wall. While there is no work triangle as such, the three basic appliances (sink, refrigerator, and cooking appliances) should not be positioned next to one another for obvious reasons: electricity and water don’t mix, and having an appliance that keeps food cold or frozen next to a cooker is simply not energy efficient. For this reason, it is best to alternate appliances with cabinets that have appropriate working surfaces. If there isn’t sufficient storage space for food consider a separate pantry or even a built-in cupboard or tall unit on the opposite wall. If there isn’t space for this you might be able to just hang shelves.
Galley or corridor kitchens are generally a little wider than those where only a single wall arrangement can be accommodated. This means that a sensible work triangle can be created with one of the three relevant work stations in the center (or near the center) of one wall and the other two towards the ends of the facing wall – depending of course on the layout and size of the kitchen.
The concept of galley kitchens is based on the design of ship or yacht kitchens and makes perfect sense in narrow rooms about 2,5 m or 7ft 9-10 inches wide. Once cabinets and appliances have been fitted you should have a walkway about half this width that allows for about 600 mm or just less than 2 ft depth for units on either side. This also allows sufficient space for base cabinet doors to open on either side at the same time.
In reality galley kitchens often do not form a corridor as such and are open from one end only. An eating zone might be incorporated at the closed end, or there might be an opportunity to extend work surfaces.
L-shaped kitchens utilize two walls that are connected at a corner. They may be any size, but if laid out this way in a large open plan room could successfully incorporate a table and chairs or an island arrangement. If the latter is included in the design care must be taken to ensure that traffic around the island does not disrupt the work triangle or make it difficult for the cook to work efficiently.
A true U-shaped layout features appliances and cabinets on three walls – forming a U-shape. In reality, however, the fourth wall often accommodates cabinets and or appliances or an eating zone, particularly when the open ends of the U coincide with doorways. This layout works well in many situations including smaller kitchens and open plan designs.