Kitchen Layouts and Essential Spaces
Get a good base for your kitchen design by starting with the right layout for your space. Take a look at the basic shapes and elements of a successful kitchen.
The work triangle is the shape created between your three essential kitchen workstations: the refrigerator, the stove, and the sink. The perimeter of the triangle is usually between 12 and 23 feet. Smaller triangles can be more efficient because you spend less time and energy walking between stations.
The galley layout is often used in compact spaces. This layout is characterized by two parallel work areas. Traditionally, the sink and dishwasher as well as the refrigerator are positioned on one wall, and the stove is situated on the other.
An L-shaped layout is made up of two perpendicular workspaces, which creates a natural work triangle.
The U-shaped kitchen consists of three adjoining workspaces. One element of the work triangle can be placed along each wall. Because of the separation of workspaces, this layout is ideal for multi-cook situations.
The G-shaped kitchen has 4 sides, the fourth side being a peninsula. This layout provides the most cabinet and counterspace.
If possible, locate the refrigerator at the end of a cabinet run and leave at least 15 inches of open counterspace on the handle side of the refrigerator so you have a place to set your grocery bags when you come in.
It is best to have 12 inches of counterspace on either side of a range so that you have a landing space for hot pots. This also allows you to turn pot handles to either side of the cooktop. Ovens should have at least 15 inches of open counter on one or both sides for hot pans and casserole dishes.
There’s always a lot of activity around the sink. Include 24 to 36 inches of workspace on each side to allow for dishwashing and other tasks.
Usually the dishwasher is installed to the right of the sink for lefties and to the left of the sink for right-handers. This is just a general suggestion though, so do what feels right to you.
It’s important to leave ample open counterspace for food preparation. Try to allow for a minimum of 42 inches.
Ample food storage is essential to a successful kitchen design. Your needs will vary based on the size of your family. Take an inventory of your current pantry to assess how well it functions as well as to identify problems that need to be addressed.
In-kitchen dining spaces can be used as either a more casual alternative to a formal dining room or as a replacement for the separate dining room all together.
While not necessary to a functional kitchen, if you have room, it is nice to include an office space for menu planning. Here you can store cookbooks, create grocery lists, and search online for new recipes.
See more kitchen layout ideas in our Kitchen Layouts video.