Acknowledged as the true heart of the home by homeowners and interior designers alike, more people than ever before are showing their kitchen the priority it deserves.
The role played by the kitchen in almost every home has changed practically beyond recognition over recent years. Increasingly, households are shifting away from the interpretation and use of kitchens as a purely functional space, and instead integrating it as a place to eat, relax, entertain – and now even work.
Even a rudimentary kitchen makeover can completely transform the dynamic of the entire space. Irrespective of the size or positioning of the kitchen, small changes often add up to a big difference. But if you really want to overhaul the comfort and all-round convenience of your home, nothing fits the bill better than a new kitchen design.
And working with the best choices for your kitchen layout is key to making sure that your new kitchen is somewhere you can enjoy using for the years to come.
Kitchen Warehouse want to ensure that you design your dream kitchen. A space in your home which will be your pride and joy. A space you can enjoy every single day.
With this in mind we bring you our ultimate guide to kitchen layout.
In this comprehensive guide, we will be taking a look at a selection of common kitchen layouts and assessing what makes them popular, how you can layout your kitchen and how it may fit with your existing space. We will also be providing a series of design tips, tricks and guidelines for getting the most out of your kitchen – whatever layout and design you have to work with.
Of course, in many cases, the layout of your kitchen will be dictated by the existing space, and don’t worry – we’ve got great solutions no matter the size or unusual shape of your kitchen.
So without further ado, let’s explore our ultimate guide to kitchen layouts.
Understanding Your Kitchen Layout
Before getting started, it is important to highlight at this stage that there is technically no such thing as the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to design a kitchen. Just as long as you are delighted with the final result, it is entirely up to you how you choose to organise your kitchen cabinetry, furniture and style the space.
That said, there are numerous fundamental design principles to follow when looking to make the most of the space you have available. Whether dealing with the smallest corner in an open-plan apartment or looking to improve the functionality of combined kitchen and dining space, it is important to have a clear and defined vision in mind.
Visualising your ideal kitchen is about more than simply coming up with the colour scheme you want and a list of appliances you need. A good place to start is to think about how your new kitchen could be divided to create a series of separate zones – each of which will be dedicated to a specific task. And it’s important that you consider what tasks you undertake in your kitchen – after all, our choices may be as individual as we are.
For example, if you have an abundance of kitchen utensils, you could ensure appropriate storage solutions for your pots, while pans and utensils are positioned as close as possible to your cooker and hob. Likewise, your primary food prep surfaces should ideally be located close to your refrigerator and dry storage units, with convenient access to a bin.
When you have lots of available space, a range of kitchen layouts may be available to you – which do provide more freedom when it comes to design. You may choose to incorporate a kitchen island, or add a nook for cosying up in post dinner.
Where space is limited, it’s often more a case of making your kitchen layout work for you. For example, being clever with storage and surface space for a galley kitchen will not only make life easier, but will also add value if you’re thinking of selling your home.
When considering how to lay out your kitchen units, firstly consider how you like to use the space. Are you a real foodie with a passion for cooking? If so you may need lots of space for prep. Do you love a kitchen gadget? In that case you may want to consider adding more worktop space to allow for all of those mixers, coffee machines and whatnot.
However you choose to design your kitchen, one important tip to be mindful of is to avoid attempting to cram too much into any given space. Irrespective of the layout and design of the kitchen, a cramped and cluttered environment rarely makes for a practical or pleasant experience for those using it.
Oftentimes, less is more – particularly when looking to make the most of a relatively compact kitchen space.
And understanding kitchen layout isn’t just about positioning your kitchen units. Knowing how and when you are most likely to use certain parts of your kitchen allows you to get clever with lighting, flooring and furnishing too.
The Kitchen Triangle
Also referred to as the working triangle, the kitchen triangle is a popular interior design concept for creating a practical and convenient kitchen layout. Quite simply, the objective of the kitchen triangle is to create a smooth and seamless working flow between the most important areas of your kitchen.
The three main points of the kitchen triangle are your cooker, your fridge and your sink. Where the principles of the kitchen triangle are applied, you should never have to walk more than one to three steps to get from any point in the triangle to any other point in the triangle.
This makes using your kitchen whether for entertainment, meal preparation, or relaxing easier to navigate.
When following the principles of the working triangle – to the letter is not an option, it is still important to be mindful of traffic flow and general accessibility issues that are individual to your kitchen. Think about the kinds of obstacles or inconveniences that could stand in your way, when moving frequently from one high-use area of your kitchen to the next.
It can sometimes be tempting to space things out as far as possible with a larger kitchen to create a spacious and airy feel. However, doing so without being mindful of the kitchen triangle can result in the space not being as practical as it should be. For a smaller kitchen, it’s important to consider how easily you can access every element.
For example, if the fridge is located on the other side of the kitchen from the cooker and behind a large central island, popping in and out for items while cooking on the hob is not going to be convenient and is likely to grate on your nerves every single time you prepare dinner!
While some kitchen designers argue that the kitchen triangle no longer applies – the reality is ensuing dedicated zones combine well together and kitchen flow is not interrupted is as relevant in 2021 as it was back when the concept was conceived in the 1920’s.
L Shaped Layout
One of the most popular kitchen layouts of all time is the L-shaped kitchen. As the name suggests, an L-shaped kitchen comprises two primary walls in an L-shaped configuration and typically opens into another interior space. This makes the L-shaped layout perfect for houses and apartments where a spacious open-plan design is the preferred option.
L-shaped kitchens can vary in size from cosy and compact to extensive and quite enormous. They can also be designed to suit any interior décor preference – anything from modern minimalist to the classic country cottage feel. There is also limitless scope for experimentation with colours. Open and airy kitchens like these are perfectly compatible with dark coloured kitchen units and patterns.
The most common approach to L-shaped kitchen design is to position the sink on one axis and the cooker on the other, in a way that creates plenty of free worktop space for food preparation. Introducing a kitchen island to an L-shaped kitchen is also highly recommended where space permits, in order to maximise work areas. An island can also provide additional storage space, again making the very most out of every inch of your design.
You could also consider installing a breakfast bar on the boundary of your L-shaped kitchen, creating a casual dining space to further enhance the practicality and comfort of your kitchen.
One of the biggest benefits of the L-shaped kitchen is that it can help to create more floor space. This in turn makes maneuvering around the kitchen so much easier, and also provides the illusion of more overall space – thanks to the uncluttered look.
Likewise, U-shaped kitchens can be designed to fit small and large spaces alike. This type of kitchen comprises three walls to create a U-shape, resulting in a square or rectangle configuration depending on the layout of the property.
A U-shaped kitchen in a particularly expansive home brings almost limitless scope for experimentation – similar to the L-shaped kitchen outlined above. Where there is limited space to play with, it is important to be mindful of any potentially protruding accessories or appliances that could make a smaller U-shaped kitchen feel cramped and uncomfortable.
Typically, two of the walls in a U-shaped kitchen will feature plenty of cabinets (often up to the ceiling) to create plenty of storage space. However, the third wall will almost always be left open to prevent the space from becoming cramped and claustrophobic. It is also important to ensure sufficient countertop space is available along one wall of the kitchen for food preparation.
Achieving the ideal working triangle in a U-shaped kitchen is relatively easy with strategic appliance positioning. In terms of colours and design schemes, lighter shades and brighter hues are ideal for making a smaller U-shaped kitchen look and feel more spacious. Think stunning neutral coloured kitchen units, or high gloss kitchen doors.
Think about the kinds of colours, tones and materials that will reflect light around the space and make best use of the natural light that enters through the windows or doors.
A galley kitchen consists of two sets of cabinets positioned opposite each other, fitted to two opposing walls down what tends to be a relatively narrow space. Galley kitchens take their name from the somewhat confined kitchens of ships, which despite being narrow can be exceptionally efficient.
As with a U-shaped kitchen, achieving the ideal working triangle with a galley kitchen can be surprisingly simple.
The key to effective galley kitchen design once again lies in creating zones and ensuring there is plenty of worktop space available for performing daily tasks. The sink will usually be placed on one side of the room and the cooker on the other, with plenty of cabinets and raised storage solutions to make the most of the vertical space available.
Floating shelves in particular are a popular feature in contemporary galley kitchen, which along with maximising storage space can be an attractive design feature in their own right.
Galley kitchens in particular have a tendency to feel cramped, crowded and uncomfortable when decorated in dark colours and oppressive patterns. Experimentation with lighter and brighter tones is therefore advisable, as is the installation of multiple lighting sources to avoid problematic shadows and dark corners.
For particularly narrow galley kitchens, choosing handleless kitchen cabinet is a great way to squeeze out just that little more maneuverability, and also offers a clean sleek finish, which adds to the appearance of space.
Feature lighting and task lighting should be used to complement the primary lighting source in a galley kitchen.
Additionally, if you are designing for a galley kitchen – consider where you can get extra storage space. Think high level units in unused spaces, or adding mechanisms to corner unis to get the most out of the available space.
Last but by no means least comes the kitchen island, which is less a kitchen design in its own right and more an indispensable feature for almost any type of kitchen. If you have the space available to accommodate a kitchen island, there is nothing better for boosting the practicality, efficiency and enjoyment of a kitchen space.
A kitchen island can be incorporated seamlessly and beautifully into any kitchen layout, making the working triangle even easier to accomplish. Whereas some kitchen islands are used simply as worktops, others feature the kitchen’s primary cooker, sink and waste disposal system. Where the functional components of a kitchen are centralised, the rest of the space in its entirety can be used for other tasks.
The only ‘rule’ to follow when it comes to kitchen island design is to ensure that the island is not so large as to become an obstacle or a nuisance. As a general guideline, make sure you will still have at least one metre of space between the surfaces, fixtures and appliances in your kitchen, after installing the island.
When choosing to install an island, it’s important that the flow of your kitchen remains uninterrupted – put simply your island should compliment your layout – not restrict it.
In terms of colour choice, it is entirely up to you whether you go for something bold and eye-catching or elegant and understated. If you have neutral coloured kitchen cabinets, the installation of a contrasting red, blue, green island really can work wonders.
Additionally, in keeping with the current kitchen trend of mixing materials, choosing contrasting wood facias for your kitchen island brings an element of interest, and a showstopping worktop can make your island a real focal point.
Kitchen islands are often the “showcase” of the kitchen, but should always offer both practicality and an aesthetic draw.
A great way of bringing light and life into your kitchen, just as long as you have the space available to accommodate it.
Get your dream kitchen
Once again, it is important to remember that the only ‘correct’ approach to kitchen design is the approach that suits your preferences and requirements. Though given the nature of the kitchen as a primarily functional space, practicality and convenience must be prioritised – particularly when you have limited space to play with.
Having a full and defined plan of action in mind is essential, before you begin the process of tearing out your current kitchen. If you are not completely sure what type of kitchen would best suit your home, we would be delighted to provide you with an obligation-free consultation.
At Kitchen Warehouse, we provide objective and impartial advice on all aspects of kitchen design and new kitchen installations. Our kitchen design blog provides you with an almost unending number of ideas, and you can browse our website to find a kitchen style that suits you.
From the most traditional styles, to the most up to date designs, we provide great kitchens at an affordable price.
Investing in a new kitchen is about far more than keeping up appearances. It is about creating a comfortable, convenient and enjoyable living space the whole family can enjoy – all while making a major contribution to your home’s market value.
For more information on any of the above or to discuss any of the services we provide in more detail, contact a member of the team at Kitchen Warehouse today.