Top 6 Kitchen Layouts

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

Kitchen With Rustic Wood Cabinetry

Design by Wonderland Homes

Photo by: Denver Parade of Homes; Photo by HDR Homes

Denver Parade of Homes; Photo by HDR Homes

Design by Wonderland Homes

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."

Popular Kitchen Layouts

Basic Kitchen Layout Guide

Here's a guide to the pros and cons of the most popular kitchen layouts.

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

The one-wall kitchen layout is generally found in studio or loft spaces like this one. Cabinets and appliances are fixed on a single wall, making it the ultimate space saver. A counter-high table offers an additional work surface. Photo by Seth Lolich Gardner.

Photo By: Sponsor, Pangaea

Island Addition

Modern variations of the one-wall kitchen layout include an island, which evolves the space into a sort of galley style with a walk-through corridor, as seen in this gourmet kitchen from the 2009 HGTV Dream Home.

Sleek Look

When designing a one-wall, or single wall, kitchen, consider the placement and spacing of the elements of your work triangle: refrigerator, sink and stove/oven. In this layout, the designer built in counter space between each element to suit the homeowner's needs. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Gilmer Kitchens.

Arts & Crafts Style

This single wall kitchen has an updated Craftsman feel with simple door details, rustic hardware and open shelves. Design by Mary Broerman. Photo by Greg Epstein.

From: Mary Broerman

Wall of Luxury

In this layout the refrigerator extends onto a separate wall, but for the most part the focal point is the main wall, which consists of high-end appliances, dark-toned cabinets, blue under-cabinet lighting and a stylish backsplash. Design by Vanessa DeLeon.

Photo By: Designer, Vanessa DeLeon

Single Wall Style

Wall cut-outs were created in this soaring kitchen to create a sense of more open space. A backsplash with stainless steel tile insets creates a fun focal point. Design by Christopher J. Grubb. Photo by Jeromy Robert.

Photo By: Designer, Christopher J. Grubb

Double Purpose

This small kitchen works double time, with cabinets and appliances on one side of the room and a dining area on the other side.

Small Kitchen Style

Small kitchens don't have to be small on style. Custom faux-finished cabinetry in a shade of blue with cloisonne gives this kitchen an eclectic country feel. Design by Jill E. Hertz.

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

A galley kitchen's layout is characterized by two parallel countertops with a walkway in between them. In this design by Andreas Charalambous, the dining area is on one end of the kitchen and the entryway is on the other.

All Within Reach

In a galley kitchen, the sink is typically on one side and the range is on the other. Design by Gail Drury.

Photo By: Designer, Gail Drury

Modern Mix

This sleek, modern kitchen combines navy walls, marble countertops and ebony-stained hardwood floors with stainless steel accents. Design by Erica Islas.

Photo By: Designer, Erica Islas

Small Space Kitchen

Limestone flooring, rich cherry cabinets and granite counters maximize the wow factor in a small space. Design by Christopher J. Grubb. Photo by Scott Mayoral.

Photo By: Designer, Christopher J. Grubb

Perfect for Outdoor Entertaining

This simple galley kitchen opens up to the home’s backyard area, making it easy to cook and serve food outdoors. The layout also lets in plenty of natural light.

Have a Seat

Opening up one wall in a galley kitchen makes room for a bar-height counter that lets guests in on the cooking action. Design by Nicole Sassaman.

Photo By: Designer, Nicole Sassaman

Kitchen Artwork

This homeowner removed some of the upper cabinets to make room for artwork, extending the art gallery feel of the living room inside the kitchen itself. Design by Andreas Charalambous.

Photo By: Designer, Andreas Charalambous

Fit for a Chef

This state-of-the-art galley kitchen features Poliform cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and a back-painted glass backsplash that reflects the mood of the homeowner in the changeable LED light that shines on it. Design by Andreas Charalambous.

Photo By: Designer, Andreas Charalambous

Dashes of Color

This galley kitchen combines red and black colors with stainless steel finishes for a bold statement.

Kitchen Storage

When designing a galley kitchen, make sure you have enough aisle space and 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

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. Design by Alicia Friedmann

Small-Space Kitchens

An L-shape layout is often a smart choice for a smaller kitchen. In this retro-inspired kitchen, shorter "legs" mean less distance between the sink, stove and refrigerator, allowing the space to be used more efficiently.

Functional Kitchen Island

If your L-shaped kitchen is large enough to accommodate one, an island is a great addition for entertaining and extra counter space. This kitchen's spacious island with a sink allows the cook to face guests while preparing food.

From: Drury Design

Overhead Kitchen Storage

While large windows provide a gorgeous view and fill this kitchen with natural light, they take up space that could be used for storage. An island with shelving and a ceiling-mounted pot rack solve the problem, adding additional storage for dishes and cookware. Design by Greta Goss

Photo By: Designer, Greta Goss

Eat-In Kitchen

L-shaped kitchens are often open enough to accommodate a small table, creating a casual space for family meals. This contemporary kitchen has both a table and an island with extra seating.

Flowing Floor Plan

A doorway connects this L-shaped kitchen to the backyard, opening up the space and making outdoor entertaining easy. Design by Rate My Space user Perri

Room for Two Chefs

Unlike some kitchen layouts, L-shaped kitchens are often large enough to accommodate multiple people. This kitchen's dual professional-style ranges and ample counter space allow two cooks to work at the same time, while the office nook and central island can be used for snacks or studying. Design by Alan Hilsabeck, Jr.

From: Alan Hilsabeck, Jr.

Photo By: Designer, Alan Hilsabeck Jr.

Universal Design in Kitchen

This kitchen's L-shaped layout makes it spacious enough to accommodate a wheelchair. The lowered countertops at the island are also wheelchair accessible. Design by Rate My Space user njhaus

Lightened Up

By minimizing the amount of cabinets on the walls, the designer kept this kitchen light and airy. Base drawers and cabinets still provide plenty of storage space. Design by Kenneth Brown.

Kitchen With Industrial Flair

Professional-grade appliances and an efficient layout make this kitchen worthy of a restaurant. Stone walls and floors balance the stainless steel elements and keep the space from feeling cold. Design by Tina Muller

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 horseshoe, or U-shaped, layout has three walls of cabinets and appliances. An island is often added in large kitchens. The design allows for traffic flow and workflow around the island. Design by Rate My Space user SANDCASTLES

The Island Wall

An evolved version of the horseshoe design is an L-shaped kitchen with an island forming the third "wall," as seen in this kitchen. A small island becomes a casual dining area. Design by Jennifer Duneier

Photo By: Designer, Jennifer Duneier

Small Yet Efficient Kitchen

In this U-shaped kitchen, the sink, range and oven are positioned to allow the cook to easily move from one to the other. Two windows and an opening over the stove keep the space from feeling closed in. Design by Tanya Griffin

From: Tanya Griffin

Outdoor Access

A door leading to the backyard gives this small U-shaped kitchen a more open feel, takes advantage of the natural light and makes outdoor entertaining convenient. Design by Yvonne Landivar

Room for a Pantry

This European-inspired kitchen has a classic horseshoe layout with the sink on one wall, the stove on the second wall and the refrigerator on the third wall. The homeowner also added a walk-in pantry and island. Design by Lori Dennis

Fun and Functional Kitchen

Designed by Lou Ann Bauer, this horseshoe-shaped kitchen features a unique, colorful design and a spacious, functional layout. The central island offers a lower countertop for prepping food and a higher countertop for casual dining. Photo by David Duncan Livingston

Bright and Open

Vaulted ceilings make this horseshoe-shaped kitchen feel spacious and airy, while a large window floods the room with light. Varied cabinet heights prevent an artificial ceiling line from isolating the vaulted ceiling, allowing it to flow more naturally. Design by James Howard

Smart Kitchen Storage

In this cozy English Country-style kitchen, designer Shane Inman took the cabinetry all the way to the ceiling to maximize storage space. Even the ends of the cabinet runs are utilized for shelving and a small desk.

Angled Kitchen Island

A bar turned slightly toward the kitchen defines the space while maintaining an open feel. A cheery blue was selected for the wall color to make up for a lack of natural sunlight. Design by Teal Michel

Stone Focal Point

All eyes are drawn to the massive stone area surrounding the range in this elegant U-shaped kitchen. Design by Elizabeth Rosensteel

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

Kitchen islands are popular. According to the National Association of Home Builders, 80 percent of home buyers consider an island desirable or essential. But that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. Consider your space to make sure you have enough clearance on all sides of the island. Design by Gregory Augustine.

Photo By: Designer, Gregory Augustine

A Better Work Triangle

The island in this kitchen features a second sink to use for food preparation, creating a compact and convenient work triangle. Design by Gail Drury.

From: Drury Design

Cooktop Kitchen Island

When designing a cooktop island like this one, make sure you have the structural ability to build a ventilation hood directly above. Photo by Maxwell Mackenzie. Design by Rouzita Vahhabaghai.

Photo By: Designer, Rouzita Vahhabaghai

Traditional Kitchen Island

For many homeowners, a basic island helps make a small kitchen feel larger and adds a much-needed work surface. Design by Candice Olson.

Photo By: Designer, Candice Olson

Double Duty

This working island functions as a cooking area with a built-in stove and prep space and as a bar with seating.

From: Drury Design

Grab a Bite

This eight-foot-long island is great for grabbing a quick meal and as additional space for food prep. Design by Phyllis Harbinger.

Photo By: Designer, Phyllis Harbinger

Display Shelves

This island houses the main sink and includes bar seating and built-in display shelves. Design by Dave Stimmel.

Photo By: Designer, Dave Stimmel

Make It a Galley

This extended island gives this L-shaped kitchen a galley-like feel and features plenty of cabinet storage, counter space and seating. Design by Tina Muller.

Photo By: Designer, Tina Muller

Give It Character

Islands can be fun as well as functional. This one is designed to complement a Mediterranean kitchen, with unique features like decorative wheels, architectural details and aged texture on the cabinet doors. The rustic hanging pot rack above it adds more Old World charm.

Chef’s Island

This custom-designed stone island features a deck-mounted pot filler and custom-designed hood mixed with state-of-the-art appliances.

Photo By: Designer, Shane Inman

Gathering Place

The island in this horseshoe, or U-shape, kitchen features a second sink and acts like a dining area that can seat several people.

Small Kitchen Island

An island doesn’t have to be big, especially if you have a small kitchen. A simple island like this one is highly functional and doesn’t take up much space. Design by Didier Michot.

Entertainment Central

The island in this L-shaped kitchen allows the homeowner to prepare food on one side while entertaining guests sitting on the other side.

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

A peninsula is basically a connected island, converting an L-shaped kitchen layout into a horseshoe or U-shape. In many kitchens that have this layout, the peninsula serves as a room divider that separates the kitchen from a dining or living room area, as seen in this design.

Works Like an Island

Peninsulas function much like islands but offer more clearance in kitchens that may not be able to accommodate a true island. This bungalow kitchen is long and narrow, so rather than an island, it has a peninsula with enough seating for three. Design by Rebekah Zaveloff.

Photo By: Designer, Rebekah Zaveloff

Office Area

In addition to adding counter space for the kitchen, this peninsula has built-in drawers next to the seating area, turning it into potential office space. Design by Christopher J. Grubb.

Photo By: Scott Mayoral ©Design by Christopher J. Grubb.

Creative Space Planning

In this narrow kitchen in a Victorian row house, a peninsula separates the main sink from the bar sink, creating much-needed counter space. The peninsula also conceals a pull-out freezer drawer system. Design by Rebekah Zaveloff.

A Blend of Materials

In this layout, the peninsula converts an L-shaped kitchen into a G-shaped design, adding more space to prepare food and entertain family and guests. The design also serves an aesthetic purpose. The organically shaped butcher block bar works well with the tumbled slate backsplash, giving this kitchen a modern country feel. Design by Judith Balis.

Kitchen Entertaining

The peninsula in this horseshoe, or U-shaped, kitchen creates a small sitting area for entertaining guests. Design by Gladys Schanstra.

Photo By: Designer, Gladys Schanstra

More Space to Work With

This peninsula offers additional counter space, cabinet storage and bar seating. Design by Daniel Bodenmiller.

Photo By: Designer, Daniel Bodenmiller

Make Room

This peninsula functions as a room divider and additional work space. The original layout had peninsula cabinets suspended from the ceiling, which were replaced with decorative lights to create a more open layout. Design by Mary Broerman. Photo by Greg Epstein.

From: Mary Broerman

Incorporate the Triangle

In this kitchen, the primary sink is designed into a peninsula, making it an important part of the work triangle and converting an L-shape layout to a U shape. Design by Jennifer Duneier.

Photo By: Designer, Jennifer Duneier

Create Counter Space

For this small kitchen, a peninsula provides much-needed counter space and a location for the primary sink. Design by Marie Burgos.

Photo By: 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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