Top 6 Kitchen Layouts

Learn about different layouts, like L-shaped, one-wall and galley kitchens, and download templates for your renovation.

Kitchen Cabinets and Island in Wood

Kitchen With Rustic Wood Cabinetry

Denver Parade of Homes; Photo by HDR Homes View original photo.

Denver Parade of Homes; Photo by HDR Homes

Design by Wonderland Homes

By: Kristen Hampshire

The traditional work triangle that separates the sink, range and refrigerator has evolved into a more practical "work zone" concept.

"We have gone from the traditional kitchen, where one person prepared meals to a multi-purpose room and a multiple-cook room, and this evolution has changed us from looking at one work triangle to multiple triangles, or 'zones,'" says Mary Jo Peterson, principal, Mary Jo Peterson Inc. "With that in mind, we have to increase clearances and look at adding comfortable spaces in the kitchen."

Still, these tried-and-true kitchen layouts still apply to today's lifestyles—with modifications.

Basic Kitchen Layout Types

One-wall. Originally called the "Pullman kitchen," the one-wall kitchen layout is generally found in studio or loft spaces because it’s the ultimate space saver. Cabinets and appliances are fixed on a single wall. Most modern designs also include an island, which evolves the space into a sort of Galley style with a walk-through corridor. Download a sample floorplan.

One-Wall Kitchens

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Space-Saving Layout

Sponsor, Pangaea

Island Addition

Sleek Look

Arts & Crafts Style


Mary Broerman

Wall of Luxury

Designer, Vanessa DeLeon

Single Wall Style

Designer, Christopher J. Grubb

Double Purpose

Small Kitchen Style

Galley. This efficient, “lean” layout is ideal for smaller spaces and one-cook kitchens. The galley kitchen, also called a walk-through kitchen, is characterized by two walls opposite of each other—or two parallel countertops with a walkway in between them. Galleys make the best use of every square inch of space, and there are no troublesome corner cabinets to configure, which can add to a cabinetry budget. Download a sample floorplan.

Galley Kitchen Remodel Ideas

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Sleek, Modern Layout

Designer, Andreas Charalambous

All Within Reach

Designer, Gail Drury

Modern Mix

Designer, Erica Islas

Small Space Kitchen

Designer, Christopher J. Grubb

Perfect for Outdoor Entertaining

Have a Seat

Designer, Nicole Sassaman

Kitchen Artwork

Designer, Andreas Charalambous

Fit for a Chef

Designer, Andreas Charalambous

Dashes of Color

Kitchen Storage

L-Shape. An L-shaped kitchen solves the problem of maximizing corner space, and it’s a smart design for small and medium sized kitchens. The versatile L-shaped kitchen consists of countertops on two adjoining walls that are perpendicular, forming an L. The “legs” of the L can be as long as you want, though keeping them less than 12 to 15 feet will allow you to efficiently use the space.

With an L-shaped layout, you’ll eliminate traffic: The kitchen will not become a thoroughfare because it’s just not logistically possible. Plus, you can easily add a dining space and multiple work zones to this layout. However, avoid this layout if your kitchen is large and can support other configurations, such as adding an island, or if multiple cooks will be using the space. Download a sample floorplan.

L-Shaped Kitchen Designs

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Flexible Design

Small-Space Kitchens

Functional Kitchen Island

Designer, Gail Drury

Overhead Kitchen Storage

Designer, Greta Goss

Eat-In Kitchen

Flowing Floor Plan

Room for Two Chefs


Alan Hilsabeck, Jr.

Designer, Alan Hilsabeck Jr.

Universal Design in Kitchen

Lightened Up

Kitchen With Industrial Flair

Horseshoe. The horseshoe, or U-shape, kitchen layout has three walls of cabinets/appliances. Today, this design has evolved from three walls to an L-shaped kitchen with an island forming the third “wall.” “This design works well because it allows for traffic flow and workflow around the island,” says Mary Jo Peterson, principal, Mary Jo Peterson Inc. “You can get more cooks into the kitchen.” Download a sample floorplan.

Horseshoe Kitchens

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Design That Works With Traffic

The Island Wall

Designer, Jennifer Duneier

Small Yet Efficient Kitchen

Outdoor Access

Room for a Pantry

Fun and Functional Kitchen

Bright and Open

Smart Kitchen Storage

Angled Kitchen Island

Stone Focal Point

Island. A working kitchen island may include appliances and cabinetry for storage—and it always adds additional work surface to a kitchen. It can provide a place to eat (with stools), to prepare food (with a sink) and to store beverages (with a wine cooler). The island can turn a one-wall kitchen into a galley style, and an L-shaped layout into a horseshoe.

Kitchen islands are incredibly functional, but the No. 1 misperception about islands is that everyone ought to have one. The reality is, many kitchens simply don’t have enough clearance to include this feature. Download a sample floorplan.

Kitchens With Islands

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Island Paradise

Designer, Gregory Augustine

A Better Work Triangle

Designer, Gail Drury

Cooktop Kitchen Island

Designer, Rouzita Vahhabaghai

Traditional Kitchen Island

Designer, Candice Olson

Double Duty

Designer, Gail Drury

Grab a Bite

Designer, Phyllis Harbinger

Display Shelves

Designer, Dave Stimmel

Make It a Galley

Designer, Tina Muller

Give It Character

Chef’s Island

Designer, Shane Inman

Gathering Place

Small Kitchen Island

Entertainment Central

Peninsula. A peninsula kitchen is basically a connected island, converting an L-shaped layout into a horseshoe, or turning a horseshoe kitchen into a G-shaped design. Peninsulas function much like islands but offer more clearance in kitchens that do not allow appropriate square footage for a true island. Download a sample floorplan.

Peninsula Kitchens

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Room Divider

Works Like an Island

Designer, Rebekah Zaveloff

Office Area

Designer, Christopher J. Grubb

Creative Space Planning

A Blend of Materials

Kitchen Entertaining

Designer, Gladys Schanstra

More Space to Work With

Designer, Daniel Bodenmiller

Make Room


Mary Broerman

Designer, Mary Broerman

Incorporate the Triangle

Designer, Jennifer Duneier

Create Counter Space

Designer, Marie Burgos

Next Up

Kitchen Islands

Learn about different types and use our checklist to see if this independent structure will work for you

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