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Determining Your Kitchen Layout

by Ray Horsley • April 17, 2019

This is the very first step in kitchen remodeling. Are you just replacing the existing cabinets or are you changing to a new layout? Grab a piece of graph paper and a tape measure. Begin entering the distances from doorways, windows, plumbing and electrical outlets. These are the existing features of your room that will determine the shape of your kitchen. If you are going to change the shape, then you may need to move one or more of them. You may need to move the plumbing to another location if your sink will be in a different location. You may need to move an electrical outlet up if you are extending the countertop past it. These tasks have to be completed before the cabinets can be installed.

Deciding on a Layout

Once you know where everything is, you can determine what layout will work best for you. Let's explore the most popular ones.

The Straight Layout

Straight Kitchen Layout

This is a simple layout that lends itself well to smaller spaces like condos, apartments and small bungalow type homes. It's less efficient than other plans. You are forced to walk back and forth along a line between the stove, refrigerator and sink. But, this isn't too important in a small space. This layout maximizes a minimal space. It would be inappropriate, though, for a larger kitchen.

The Galley Layout

Galley Kitchen Layout

A galley kitchen is super efficient to work in. It can accommodate date more than one cook at a time. It has been called the "two-step" kitchen. It typically takes only two steps to reach the refrigerator, stove or sink because they are positioned as a triangle. This works great if it isn't necessary for household traffic to pass through the kitchen. In that case, a galley kitchen can seem crowded.

The "L Shaped" Layout

L Kitchen Layout

This is the most popular layout. It's the typical American kitchen plan. It's easy to see why. The appliances and sink can still be positioned in a triangle, though they are further apart than a galley kitchen. This is typically true between the refrigerator and the stove. It's easy to add an island or a dining area to this layout.

The "G Shaped" Layout

This layout is great for implementing a breakfast bar or a pass-through to another room. Typically, two sides are open. It lets you keep the appliances in a triangle configuration and it offers the most countertop space. It's a great layout for entertaining.

The "U Shaped" Layout

U Kitchen Layout

Like the "G Shaped" kitchen, this layout offers lots of countertops and the maximum amount of storage. But, it can seem a bit closed-in if it's not big enough. This type of kitchen is perfect for serious chefs and cooks. It defines it's own space, completely separate from the rest of the home. Having a window over the sink is preferable.

In Conclusion

  • Your space determines your available layouts.
  • If you change appliance or sink locations plumbing and electrical may need to be moved.
  • A straight kitchen maximizes limited space but is the least efficient layout.
  • A galley kitchen is super efficient and can accommodate more than one cook. It should be clear of household traffic.
  • A "L shaped" kitchen is the most popular. It's easy to add an island or a dining area.
  • A "G shaped" kitchen makes a breakfast bar possible and is great for entertaining.
  • A "U shaped" kitchen offers the most storage space and countertop area. It can seem closed-in and is more for serious chefs and cooks. A window is preferable.

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