Here are 5 Popular Kitchen Layouts (Plus Their Pros & Cons)

Cabinets, colour schemes & worktops can be changed, often with minimal fuss–that is if you compare it to the effort required when changing a whole kitchen layout.  So as you’d imagine, it pays to get it right first time. 

In this article, we’re going to explore 5 of the most popular kitchen layouts, as well as their pros & cons.  By the end, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on what layout is best for you.

A word of warning before we begin:  just like any big purchase it’s always best to sleep on your final decision. Once you’ve made that commitment it will be difficult (although not impossible) to go back and change anything about your kitchen – so make sure you’re 100% ready and confident before committing to the layout of your choice.

The L Shaped Kitchen

Pros:

If you have a big family or lots of guests, then this layout could be for you. Yes, you’ll have to put in some extra worktop space, but that means that more than one person can be cooking at the same time, so it’s worth it if you value efficiency.

Cleaning up after cooking is quick & easy because the extra worktop space means items are less likely to clutter. If you have the sink in one section, this leaves the other space free to use as an island or secondary preparation area.

If your kitchen is part of another room then this is also ideal because there’ll be more space to move around. That way, it feels much less claustrophobic than other layouts (like a C or G shaped kitchen).

Cons:

Unless the room is quite long, there might be the issue of storage. Corner cabinets tend to be hard to reach, so you might either resort to stacking things on top or having to use somewhere less practical.

It’s an easy space for kids to get into – so if you’ve got young children, there won’t be much of a boundary to stop them from getting close to any hazardous appliances.

Open plan kitchens (where the kitchen forms part of another room) can be more expensive than closed-off layouts because you may need to renovate other areas too, such as knocking through walls and rewiring electrics, not to mention – the extra effort of making sure it matches with the rest of your property since it won’t be its own exclusive area.

The C Shaped Kitchen

Pros:  

Similar to an L-shaped kitchen, having separate counter areas works really well when cooking with multiple people, but with a C shaped kitchen, you get a little more worktop space.

Having the sink in one section keeps this area tidy and makes clearing up simple.

If your other rooms are open plan (like living room/dining room) then a C shaped kitchen also means you can keep your living space free from clutter.

You get added storage space as one end of the C section will usually come with lower cabinets and a worktop that can be used as a seating area.

If you’ve got young children, C shaped kitchens can usually be gated off with a child gate, but this depends on how wide the entrance is.

Cons:

Unlike that of an L shaped kitchen, if your space is small, then a C shape kitchen might be a little difficult if you’re having to cook with multiple people, especially if you opt for an island.

The shape of the kitchen may also limit your appliances – for example, if you have a fridge freezer or dishwasher facing into the kitchen it doesn’t leave much room for other things like tableware, unless you’ve got a decent sized flooring space (like in the picture above).

With the sink in one corner, this might leave an awkward amount of space on either side which can be hard to utilise well.

Also, because there’s no real central point you’ll find yourself having to walk round more than necessary (like with an L-shaped layout) which can cut down on floor space and make your kitchen feel less spacious.

The Galley Kitchen

Photo by Jason Briscoe 

Pros:

Having your appliances lined up along one wall means you’ll get the most out of your space. You can also use this layout to work around an oddly-shaped room; for example if one wall is particularly full on cabinets or work surfaces, you can place them along the shortest wall to free up some room.

This layout makes it easy to cook with multiple people, although this might not be the case for kitchens with a small width.

If you’re cooking in a relatively small kitchen, then having one long line of appliances means you won’t have any awkward leftover space that’s hard to utilise well and this will give the impression of a bigger area.

Cons:

Galley kitchens work best in larger properties with plenty of floor space, and typically offer less storage in comparison to other types of kitchen layout. Unless there’s a high enough ceiling (like in the picture above) and the room is wide enough, a galley kitchen might feel a little cramped.

In narrow galley kitchens where the appliances are placed next to each other, you can get repetitive strain from opening & closing doors all day which is not good for your back either! Galley layouts also mean that corner cabinets will usually store low items only so it’s hard to stack things neatly inside.

The One Wall, Or I Shaped Kitchen

Photo by Jorge De Jorge

Pros:

The main pro of an I-Shaped kitchen is that it’s well suited to people who like to cook alone or don’t have a large family – (think of chefs in professional kitchens who spend all day cooking solo).  There’s plenty of room for essential appliances.

If you have a small kitchen, then an I-Shaped layout offers the best of both worlds where you’ll make good use of your space without worrying about cables getting in your way.

Cons:  

This design is generally unsuitable for families or people who have lots of guests over because there’s little room for two separate worktops. There are also no wall cabinets to speak of – so everything will feel open and exposed which can be difficult if you’re not great at keeping on top of things.

One long wall with appliances along the other side usually offers very little storage, and no room for large kitchen units to go so you might need to get creative when it comes to fitting things in.

The G Shape Kitchen

Photo by Cat Han

Pros:  

A G-Shaped kitchen is great for families because there’s plenty of room to move around, loads of counter space and storage that won’t get in the way of cooking or cleaning up afterwards.

If you have the sink on one end, then it offers an excellent work triangle (the 3 points where all kitchens converge) meaning you’ll be able to move without bumping into people/appliances everywhere.

If you’ve got young children, it’s easier to explain the boundaries to them if you don’t want them going past a certain point, unlike with an L shaped kitchen attached to an open-plan living space.

Cons:

You may find yourself running out of wall cabinet space quickly – not to mention this design doesn’t really allow for any overhead cabinets either so anything stored above head height will be out of reach.

If shelves or large storage units aren’t added to one side to one side, then a G-Shaped kitchen might give the impression of wasted space and can feel a little empty.

Overall

So we’ve covered the basics when it comes to the pros & cons of the above kitchen layouts. But remember, it all depends on how you like to use your space, what size of property you have and whether or not you’re likely to entertain guests.

The most common layouts are U-Shaped & L-Shaped kitchens but there are countless variations these can be adapted into – including the popular galley style which is great for smaller homes.

Something that can really with your decision making is by speaking to an experienced designer who’s worked on similar properties & layouts to yours.

Want an Expert Opinion?

At Zen Kuchen, we design & fit kitchens in and around London, plus we’ve got over 50 years of combined expert craftsmanship knowledge. If you’re stuck on deciding a kitchen layout, it’s imperative that you get it right to avoid any expensive mistakes.

If you’d like to book a free appointment at our showroom, our expert designs can discuss which layouts are ideal for your property and we can guide you on the right cabinets and worktops for your lifestyle. Just click here to visit our contact page.

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