Different Shapes of Kitchen Layouts

Updated April 17, 2017

No matter how beautiful the cabinets or expensive the counter material, a kitchen is useless without the right layout. A well-designed kitchen keeps function paramount. Traditionally, the work triangle is thought of for functionality. The work triangle places the major appliances such as the stove, refrigerator and sink in points to form a triangle. This makes it easy to use the space. More recently, there is a focus on centring work stations around a major appliance to accommodate multiple cooks. There are a handful of kitchen designs that create a natural flow between work zones. The layout shape often is dictated by the kitchen space.


An L-shaped layout provides ample counter space, while leaving room for a table or island. The cabinets are placed on two adjacent walls forming the "L" design. A natural work triangle is created with major appliances on each line of the "L" and additional appliances near the corner. An extra prep sink for washing vegetables or top range grill also may be added on the island for specialised stations. Make the best use of the space in a smaller L-shaped kitchen with ceiling-height cabinets to store seasonal items.


Seen in spacious kitchens and smaller versions, a U-shaped kitchen has counter space surrounding the cook. It also has the advantage of maximum storage space. In a smaller kitchen, the layout keeps workstations functional and compact. Those fortunate to have a larger kitchen can integrate multiple workstations in the design. With separate areas for food prep, washing dishes and baking, multiple cooks can make a meal together easily. An island can make a larger kitchen more manageable and cosy.


Similar to the U-shaped kitchen, the G-shaped kitchen adds a partial fourth wall of cabinets off the "U." The fourth wall or peninsula serves as a way to visually separate the space from the rest of the living area. Create extra space in a cramped kitchen by eliminating a wall. It also can add casual breakfast bar seating to the ample storage and counter space usually found in a U-shaped kitchen.


A galley kitchen takes advantage of small or narrow kitchen spaces. With this corridor design, cabinets line both sides of the walls. Designed for ease of food preparation, the galley kitchen usually is suitable for one cook at a time. Consider adding light strips under the cabinets to brighten the space.

Single-Line Kitchen

Ideal for smaller homes, the single-line kitchen has cabinets against only one wall. Because of the space, the work triangle is a work line with all stations against one wall. Maximise counter space with lazy susans in the cabinets and an over-range microwave incorporated in the upper cabinets. Ceiling-height cabinets also increase storage in this restricted layout. Include a small island, if space permits, to increase the work area or add seating.

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About the Author

Monica Dorsey began her writing career in 2001, authoring career and college advice articles online and in print. Her work has appeared in publications such as "Philadelphia Metro,” "Collegebound Magazine” and PC&U publications.