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Design Process

Choosing the right kitchen layout for your space is one of the most important decisions to make. Of course, much of your decision will already be dictated by the space available to you. For example, a thin, rectangular shaped space can only be transformed into a galley or one-wall kitchen. Whichever layout you opt for, it is important to consider the current position of the electrical, gas, and plumbing connections. Moving any of these outlets can be costly.

When looking at designing an efficient kitchen, you should consider where appliances and work zones are situated. The Work Triangle is an often used method for helping with placement. There are generally 6 main layout options that will suit most kitchens.

  1. Galley: One Wall - This layout is the ideal solution for small spaces, or for those people who don't cook or entertain often. Storage cupboards are installed above the countertop, and appliances, such as the oven and microwave, are usually installed under the counter. This layout only required a length of 1800 mm to 3000 mm to function effectively (standard measurements are required for kitchen width). Having more than one person in this space at one time would undoubtedly feel cramped.

  2. Galley - Two Walls - Much like a one-wall layout, a galley best suits a rectangular-shaped kitchen it does, however, require greater width ( a 1200 mm to 1800 mm walkway between the two counters is recommended). Although both ends of the galley can remain open, keeping one end closed to traffic is the more efficient use of space. As it is normal for wall cabinets to line both walls (to allow for maximum storage), consider your lighting on the counter tops themselves. A galley kitchen is usually best suited for one person at a time in the space.

  3. L-Shape - The L-shaped kitchen best applies to larger spaces. Having the counters on adjacent, rather than opposite walls, can allow room for more than one person at a time in the kitchen. Since this layout is built into a corner, it's important to consider how to deal with the corner cabinets. There are several options (such as lazy susans) that can maximize the space. A significant advantage of the L-shaped kitchen is that one of the corners of your kitchen may allow (if the space is sufficient) space for a bar or table seating as 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 cupboard and counters 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 cupboard and counters, a U-shaped kitchen can sometimes feel too enclosed. Another option for this layout is to remove the cupboards from one wall and use it as a breakfast counter instead. The recommended floor space between opposite counters 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 is a freestanding work area that can fit into any kitchen layout, as long as there is sufficient space availability to freely move around it. An island can either be fixed or mobile, and can serve a number of purposes, such as providing additional counter space or storage. A fixed island can also be electrically connected (allowing for use of a cook top, toasters, and more) and connected to plumbing, allowing a dishwasher or additional sink. Allowances for minimum clearances should be given, with special consideration of potential activities centered there, to ensure the position of the island does not block functions or 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 counter in a one-wall galley; or an island may open out onto the living area.





Helpful Links

Basic Kitchen Layout Guidelines

Kitchen Design Checklist

Kitchen Layout Options

Consider Your Appliances

Recipe for a Kitchen

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