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A little extra time spent determining your home’s ideal kitchen layout is well worth your while. And this means weighing up how to create a functional cooking/working space, a social/entertaining hub, good storage and whatever else matters most to you. Plus, do consider how your kitchen layout flows with others zones in your home.
To help you make your decision, here are the pros and cons of these five common kitchen layouts:
1. Galley Kitchen Layouts
An efficient and functional design for cooking, galley-style kitchen layouts have two parallel long benches housing cooking appliances, sink, benchspace and cabinetry.
- This kitchen layout is common in older homes and works well in narrow houses or period-style apartments.
- It’s a functional-style kitchen that’s great in small spaces as it doesn’t take up a lot of space.
- This design makes use of all available space in the room (no corners).
- To add a social element, you could remove one wall so one side appears like an island bench.
- This is not a social/entertainer’s kitchen as it’s narrow and not suited to open-plan living.
- There’s no room for a dining table as part of the kitchen zone.
- For some home cooks, this kitchen can feel closed in.
2. Straight-line Kitchen Layouts
This is when your entire kitchen is designed along a single wall.
- These kitchen layouts can work well in one big open-plan room (kitchen/meals/living), and is a good space-saving option for small homes/apartments.
- Everything (appliances, utensils, ingredients) is within easy reach.
- Makes for a convenient, accessible and efficient layout when the sink sits between the fridge and stove/oven/rangehood.
- The kitchen’s size depends on the wall space available (ideally you have one long wall) and can result in less bench space.
- This is not an entertaining kitchen (while preparing and cooking meals your back is to guests).
- The kitchen can appear cluttered – think one long line that switches between housing cabinetry and appliances. To avoid this, consider integrating appliances (concealing them behind cabinetry, which comes at an extra cost) such as your fridge, dishwasher and rangehood.
3. Island Kitchen Layouts
These kitchen layouts house a freestanding “island” cabinet/benchtop in the middle of the space – a handy spot for food preparation and can transform the kitchen into a social/entertaining hub.
- The island bench is great for entertaining (serve guests appetisers from here while you put the final touches on dinner), and the island can also double as a breakfast bar.
- Looks great in large open-plan living meals zones.
- A great way to add bonus storage/cabinetry to your kitchen design.
- You can tailor your island’s use to your needs. Will it be for entertaining and meal preparation? Will it house your stovetop, or your kitchen sink?
- The island bench can help connect / create flow from your kitchen layout to other rooms, such as the living area or meals zone (incorporate a breakfast bar into your island bench).
- This open-style kitchen layout offers little separation from the home’s noise/social activity.
- Island benches don’t work well in small spaces (allow at least 1m between all sides of the island).
- Best is to avoid tiny island benches – this should be a standout feature of the space/design.
- This kitchen is on display at all times, so needs to be kept clean/uncluttered.
4. U-shape Kitchen Layouts
With cabinetry designed in a U-shape, these kitchen layouts have three sides (walls/benches) and offers great storage options.
- U-shape kitchen layouts are the happy medium of kitchens – it works in small and large spaces and creates an element of privacy while connecting well with the meals/living zones.
- This design is well-suited to home cooks as it offers convenient and easy access to all elements – stove, oven, fridge, pantry, sink.
- One side of the U-shape can be used for entertaining/food preparation, just as you would a breakfast-bar or island bench.
- If space between the benches is too wide, moving from one side to the other can be a frustration for cooks.
- This shape is more common in older style and period homes, not modern style.
- Sometimes this design can feel visually bulky. To stop your U-shape kitchen from looking like a mass of cabinetry, consider placement of on-show appliances.
- Corner cabinetry can be tricky to access. To compensate, install wire-wear storage solutions for these hard-to-reach spots.
5. L-shape Kitchen Layouts
A popular style in open-plan living for its functional and social aspects, this kitchen design utilises two adjacent walls forming an L-shape.
- An efficient popular kitchen layout in medium to large spaces.
- This design easily accommodates a dining table or an island bench added to the middle.
- Depending on the layout, the return bench could be used as a social hub (similar to an island bench) for people to sit at and enjoy breakfast or coffee.
- This design is not suited to small homes.
- Creating an efficient working zone (moving between fridge/pantry to bench, stove/oven) can be tricky. Address this when planning/designing your kitchen.
- Some L-shaped kitchen layouts offer minimal bench/work space. Add an island bench for a more functional layout.
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