Kitchen Layout

Designing your kitchen layout can be a fun and rewarding experience, with the right information. Once you\’ve decided on the type of kitchen you want, be it a contemporary design, traditional or Art & Craft type, the next step is to start designing your kitchen layout. Start by making a sketch of the room with graph paper and counting each square as 3 inch.

When looking at designing an efficient kitchen, you should consider where appliances and works zones are situated. The Work Triangle (placement of the three major kitchen components; refrigerator, stove and sink; in a triangular pattern) is an often used method for helping with placement.


In general, experts recommend designing your kitchen using the classic work triangle that connects your refrigerator with your sink and stove:

* No one side of the triangle should be greater than nine feet or less than four feet.

* The triangle should not be interrupted by traffic or cabinetry.

* The perimeter of the triangle should measure no more than 22 feet and no less than 12 feet.There are generally 6 main layout options that will suit most kitchens.

1. Galley: One wall

Ideal for small spaces, storage cupboards are installed above benchtops, and appliances like the oven and microwave are usually installed under the bench. This layout only requires a length of 1800 mm to 3000 mm to function effectively.

2. Galley: Two walls

Two wall galley suits a rectangular shape kitchen and require a greater width (a 1200 mm to 1800 mm walkway between the two benches is recommended). Although both ends of the galley can remain open, keeping one end closed to traffic is the more efficient use of space. Lighting can be an issue as it\’s usual to have over-bench cupboards lining both walls (to allow for maximum storage), particularly on the benchtops themselves.

3. L-shape

The L-shaped kitchen layout best applies to larger spaces. Having the benches on adjacent, rather than opposite walls, can allow room for more than one person at a time in the kitchen. Consider how to deal with the corner cupboards (there are several options such as a carousel) that can maximise the space. A significant advantage of the L-shaped kitchen is that one of the corners of your kitchen will be free, allowing (if the space is sufficient) room for a casual meal area.

4. U-shape

The U-shape layout is suited to all kitchens, although is usually best matched to larger, square-shaped spaces. This layout allows for maximum storage and workspace, however, as the cupboards and benches line three of the four walls, the floor area is reduced (especially when compared to an L-shaped kitchen). Unless the space is large enough to cope with the surrounding cupboards and benches, a U-shaped kitchen layout can sometimes feel too enclosed. Another option for this layout is to remove the cupboards from one wall and use it as a breakfast bench instead.

The recommended floor space between opposite benches is 1500 mm to 2200 mm this allows efficient use of the layout and enables two or more people to move about the space easily.

5. Island

An island allows for multiple work centers or work stations within the kitchen that allow more than one person to work efficiently without getting in anyone else\’s way. It might block the clear paths of the classic work triangle, but an island creates 2-4 small work stations along its perimeter. These stations become a major work centers if a second sink is added or the cooktop is pulled away from the wall and set into the island.

An island can either be fixed or mobile. A fixed island can also be electrically connected and connected to plumbing, allowing a dishwasher or an additional sink. Allowances for minimum clearances should be given and special consideration should be made to ensuring the position of the island does not block kitchen traffic.

6. Open plan

This layout allows the kitchen to open out to another room in the house, most often the living room. The \’open plan\’ combines an easily-accessed enclosed space, usually a food storage area, such as the pantry or fridge, and an open space. An open plan kitchen can incorporate other layouts. For example, the open plan area may be above the bench in a one-wall galley; or an island may open out onto the living area.

Floor space required for best work and traffic flow

There are also a few other floor space that you will have to take into consideration when planning the layout of your kitchen for best work and traffic flow. Allow about 600 mm space for squatting in front of an under-bench cupboard, 1000 mm for opening drawers to full extent, 1200 mm space for a person sitting at a bench and another person passing, 1500 mm for two people passing, 1100 mm space to walk between wall and seated person (distance from wall to front legs of chair) and 600 mm for space for sitting from front legs of chair to wall (with no passing behind the chair while someone is seated).

Positioning the cabinets

Once you’ve worked out the floor space, determine the rough position of the major appliances (refrigerator, range and ovens) and the sink. Remember to double check the layout to make sure you\’ve allowed the proper amount of counter space in each work center outlined above. Double check to make sure your work triangle is within guidelines.

Remember to plan a sink base cabinet under the sink and choose the types of cabinets that will be used along each appliance. Size the cabinets so that there is a no more than a 3 inch gap (which can be filled with filler strip later), working from the nearest corner to the sink and each appliance. Ensure that each cabinet planned serves their functionality next to the appliance they are being placed with, i.e., mixing bowl and utensil storage near the mixing/preparation center, cooking utensils near the range, and dish storage near the sink.

Finally, add up the materials you will need–cabinets, countertops, appliances, electrical, plumbing and heating supplies, light fixtures, fan and all the surface materials such as floor coverings, wallboard, wallpaper and paint.