What Kind of Kitchen Layout Works for You?


When it comes to your kitchen, the layout is one of the most important factors.

Do you want a trendy open kitchen or a more traditional closed kitchen?  Do you want a ton of storage?  Will your kitchen dogmatically adhere to the kitchen work triangle?  Whether you are looking for a new house, remodeling your current kitchen, or planning for your future kitchen needs; one of the first things to consider is the layout.

There are a number of ways kitchen layouts are designed but nearly all kitchens are either L-shaped kitchens, Galley kitchens, or U-shaped kitchens.  Innovative people do try to tweek and alter their layouts to create more efficient designs but the vast majority of kitchens can still be described as having one of these three layouts.

11th Street Residence


The L-shaped kitchen has cabinets and appliances running along two perpendicular walls creating an “L” shape.  This popular layout is very open.  Kitchen islands are most at home in L-shaped layouts.  With a large kitchen, especially one with an island, this layout can be more expensive than the other two.  But the L-shaped kitchen is also one of the best for entertaining.  Great cabinets and beautiful countertops can make the kitchen the visual centerpiece of your home.

My best friend had a beautiful and open L-shaped kitchen that made his kitchen/living room area a great place for entertaining but a few years after buying the home he would often tell me that he hated how the layout forced him to keep a spotless kitchen.  “If the kitchen was dirty, the house was dirty.”

Lombardy Lane, Laguna Beach


The Galley kitchen describes a kitchen that has two rows of cabinets facing each other, usually open on both ends.  The simplicity of this straightforward design makes organization easy.  Galley kitchens tend to be closed designs with the two walls creating a clear distinction between the kitchen space and the nearby rooms, but by removing a wall and row of upper cabinets this design can work well for an open kitchen.  Galley kitchens work well with small spaces and can be less expensive.

I have seen some great looking Galley kitchens but personally, the design always makes me think of studio apartments.open-kitchen-i-shaped-kitchen

I Shaped Kitchens

Similar to the Galley style kitchen, the I shaped kitchen runs along the wall as well. However, it will only be on one side of the kitchen. This style of kitchen is great for broad, spacious kitchen spaces.  They go almost hand in hand with open style kitchens or kitchens with an open floor plan. This is a modern style kitchen that combines the living room and the kitchen (sometimes the dining room). I shaped kitchens are particularly good for entertaining guests and giving the house a bigger and more room-ey feel. 

St. Francis Woods Residence


The U-shaped kitchen is somewhat self-explanatory.  The cabinets and appliances are arranged along the walls roughly creating a “U” shape.  This design will often resemble an L-shaped kitchen with a large peninsula instead of an island.  The U-shaped layout can be perfect or problematic depending on what you are looking for.  With three opposing “walls”, this layout is ideal for the kitchen “work triangle” so most U-shaped kitchens have their major appliances positioned in this way.  Some people like how smaller U-shaped layouts keep all their appliances relatively close to one another while other people feel that this can make the kitchen cramped.    This layout also works well with traditional closed kitchens if that is what you prefer.  If you want a more modern open kitchen you will need to lose one wall of upper cabinets in favor of a peninsula.

Growing up my mother had a decent sized U-shaped kitchen that she liked but I remember her often complaining that she didn’t have the space to add the island she always wanted.

***Keep in mind, there is no such thing as a perfect kitchen layout, only a layout that is perfect for your particular kitchen needs.***


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