As you’re mulling over the kitchen design of your soon to be renovated cooking space, it may seem hard to believe that most kitchens can be broken down into variations of six very basic layouts:
Ideal for studio apartments or fairly small homes, an efficiency kitchen layout includes just one wall of cabinetry, countertops, and appliances. Typically, the sink is situated between the the fridge and the stove, with a wee bit of work space on either side. This style of kitchen offers much flexibility for the smallest of homes. The kitchen can serve as a room divider and allows for an extremely open overall floor plan, which is why this design is so popular in studio apartments. However, with virtually no counter space and no opportunity for the appliance triangle, cooking connoisseurs and home chefs can really struggle with this layout. Additionally, many homeowners prefer a little more definition between their eating space and the rest of the home. There’s something to be said for open-concept designs, but this just may be too open.
A galley kitchen looks like a corridor, with a pass through between two sides of cabinetry and appliances. Galley kitchens can either be totally enclosed on both sides, partially open (think food service windows in restaurant kitchens, or fully open on one side with an island vs. a wall. These types of kitchens maximize space for efficient cooking. Things can be easily accessible, even in small spaces. And, with the option for less cabinetry and wall space, galley kitchens can be more affordable in design, as you’re not paying as much for costly cabinetry, countertops, or even backsplashes. That said, if you feel like you need more storage space, a galley kitchen design is likely to be insufficient. Most galley kitchens lack upper cabinet space, or even pantries, and are less likely to be expanded than other designs.
With two walls of cabinetry, a simple “L” is formed in this kitchen layout design. This is great for the “open-concept” idea of a kitchen, which means lots of entertaining, socializing, and even “homeworking.” An L-shaped kitchen is allowed to take center-stage, as do most kitchen spaces these days. There is sufficient counter and storage space, which means great task zones for cooking and meal prep. However, things can seem a little bit too spread out for some with this type of design. Appliances are often outside the ideal working triangle, which can make accessibility awkward during busy cooking times.
This type of design is actually more common in older, smaller homes, from the 1950s and 60s. The great thing about this type of layout is that three walls are readily available for cabinets and appliances, which means you’ll have a relatively large storage capacity for the available space and appliances will be closer together for ease of access. This is also a closed design, which means more separation from the rest of the house. At the same time, if you’re the type of person who really needs space when cooking, you may feel rather cramped and lacking in counter space for your meal prep. And, although you may have a great deal of cabinetry, sometimes corner cabinets can feel inaccessible.
The peninsula design is an ingenious way to adapt a small kitchen space. Most often this type of design is created from an original u-shaped kitchen, with the addition of a partial fourth wall, creating an added “G” shaped peninsula. This little added counter and storage space works very well for any size kitchen – you’re adding an island that is attached to a wall on one side, without closing off any walkways. This means the kitchen is still open, but a little bit more separated from the rest of the house than a u-shaped design. That said, even if you leave the walkways open, things can feel a little tight if you’re not careful. It also does not leave much room for more than one cook in the kitchen, thus the adage, “too many cooks in the kitchen” can become a reality.
This type of kitchen design requires the most space, and is often the home chef’s dream. With an island cabinet in the middle of the cooking space, you’re creating a new area for food preparation (the possibility of an extra sink or stovetop), storage, bar seating, and an entertaining and socialization center. The island can also help create more flow from your kitchen to other rooms in an open-concept kitchen, which adds a touch of “hominess,” as well. However, if things are noisy as you cook in the kitchen or in the rest of the house, the lack of separation can be a turnoff for a few people, as well as the fact that everything in the kitchen, the island, and the rest of the house is always on display. This means no opportunity for kitchen or family room clutter, if that’s something that is important to you.