Your Guide to Kitchen Floor Plans
Developing kitchen floor plans in the planning phase has a direct impact on how efficient your new space will be
once it's complete. Finding what style best suites your space is dependent on your personal values, lifestyle and
the space available.
Understanding the basic principles of kitchen floor plans can be a huge help in the design process. The most
basic principle is the Classic Work Triangle.
In simple terms, the work triangle is an imaginary line from each of the primary work stations in the kitchen;
the sink (cleaning area), the stove/oven (the cooking area), and the refrigerator (the storage area). The main
purpose of this triangle is to regulate work flow and minimize excess travel. In the ideal kitchen design layout,
the sum of this triangle is 15-22 feet.
The rule of thumb for a basic work triangle is:
- No one side of the triangle should be greater than 9 feet or less than 4 feet.
- The triangle should not be interrupted by traffic or cabinetry.
- The perimeter of the triangle should measure no more than 26 feet and no less than 12 feet.
Of course not every kitchen space allows for all these rules to be met so according to your space take these
rules with a grain of salt.
Six standard kitchen design layouts:
The One Wall Layout
These kitchen floor plans are normally found in smaller kitchens with long
and narrow spaces. Although it does not follow the classic kitchen triangle, it's linear design still allows
for uninterrupted traffic flow.
This type of kitchen is ideal for small spaces but can be a challenge to
plan in order to maximize workspace and functionality. Here are a few suggestions to help you make the most of the
- Look for appliances that are as narrow as possible or specially-designed combination units.
- For extra storage space convert a nearby closet into a separate
full storage or pantry.
- Use a mobile unit for extra storage and workspace.
The Gallery or Corridor Layout
These kitchen floor plans, similar to the one wall layout, are usually found
in smaller kitchens. Because of it's nature it can be difficult for
traffic patterns and therefore, functions more efficiently with one cook. The benefit of the gallery layout is
that the kitchen triangle can be incorporated allowing for a better functioning kitchen.
For the best configuration of appliances, locate the sink and stove on one side of the gallery and the
refrigerator on the other. Try to maximize convenience by providing as much counter space near the appliances used
If possible consider converting one wall into a half wall and installing a counter top with bar stools on the
other side. This can be a great solution to opening up your space and allow for a more interactive kitchen
The L-Shaped Layout
The L-shape layout requires two adjacent walls of a corner space allowing for
a possible open kitchen design layout. It is a great solution to kitchen floor plans for a variety of reasons.
This layout makes good use of space by maximizing traffic and minimizing crowding. It actually requires a
similar amount of space as the gallery layout but allows for more flexibility in the location of workstations.
The kitchen triangle can easily be incorporated allowing for an efficient and better functioning kitchen.
The U-Shaped Layout
The U-shape layout can be thought of as a gallery or corridor shape plan but
with a closed end. This layout maintains a good work flow as it utilizes the kitchen triangle very well. In
most layouts such as this, the sink, stove/oven, and refrigerator are each placed on separate walls which
creates great workspace, a good flow and maximizes functionality.
The down side of these types of kitchen floor plans is that it requires plenty of floor space; at least when
compared to the other layouts. A minimum of 8'x8' space is needed in order to allow for efficient operation.
The Island Layout
Islands can be a great addition to any kitchen. They can be incorporated into
both an L-shape and U-shape layout depending on amount of space you have to work with. In order to incorporate
this design into your space you must have a minimum of 42" of aisle space on all sides to allow for
circulation and adequate space for opening cupboard doors.
Including an island in your kitchen design layout is a very popular way to add additional workspace and a great
way to develop an interactive kitchen design.
Follow this link for more information on kitchen island designs.
The Peninsula Layout
A peninsula layout is when an island is anchored to a wall or line of cabinets. It can be used as a breakfast bar with bar stools, an extra counter
top and can even provide additional storage space.
These kitchen floor plans work very well in an open concept layout by adding a barrier between the kitchen and
dining or living space. It can be a perfect alternate to a kitchen island if your space has clearance restrictions.
Common kitchen design mistakes can be avoided by following these key points:
- Limit your focal points.
Including interesting design elements into your kitchen is a great idea but don't over do it. Incorporating
staggered, cabinet heights, arches, glass doors on cabinets and more can make the space look cluttered with way
too much going on.
- Avoid winding the cabinetry around the room like a vine.
This can make the
ceiling look lower and the room look cluttered. Rather, consider incorporating a pantry or even a piece of
artwork on an empty wall.
- Position drawers properly.
Locate drawers close to the sink and dishwasher, and place
drawers for pots near the oven.
- Don't place the stove at the end of the counter.
The stove should be placed between
cabinets with counter on either side. This creates a more practical work space and is also much safer.
- Pay attention to code.
Whether renovating an old or building a new kitchen, it is best
to consult with your designer or municipal office for all code requirements. Building codes are set for your
safety and if not met can result in rejection of an insurance claim.
- Leave enough space between island and counter.
A minimum of 42" between island and
counter is recommended to keep your kitchen functioning well.
- Place task lights and outlets properly.
Avoid a kitchen that is too dark by providing
more than one type of lighting. Place outlets in practical spots and maintain 18" clear
from any water source.
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