All Kitchens Great and Small: Making the most of your space

Kitchens come in all shapes and sizes. They all have the potential to be a great space. But how do you make the best decisions when it comes to laying out your ideal kitchen while being mindful of the space that is open to you? The ‘work triangle’ – the path between cooking, cleaning and food storage areas – brings efficiency, but nowadays we demand more! With floor area, height, shape and light to consider, we look at the best layouts and solutions for a spectrum of spaces.

Large Rooms

You may think that kitchen decisions come easier with more space but this isn’t always the case. Your ideal kitchen layout will depend on how you will use the kitchen, your preference of style and the number of people who use the space. There’s a delicate balance to be achieved between function and aesthetic. You want to avoid your space becoming both too cluttered and too cavernous. In addition, your preference between a traditional or modern handleless concept has a bearing.


If you’re blessed with a very large space you can consider a U-shape cabinet layout plus island in the central section. Cabinets across three walls accommodate a huge amount of storage, allowing you to keep all your appliances out of sight. This is especially appealing for those modern handleless styles that require sleek lines and uninterrupted surfaces. An island is a multifunctional surface, so your kitchen can fulfil a number of identities; from a daytime cooking and homework space to an evening social zone.


With the surrounding cabinets continuing to jut into the room, the workspace is formed like a ‘G’. It’s the perfect choice if you need the functionality of a kitchen island whilst still enjoying one continuous stretch of worktop space. This layout maximises cabinet space and is popular for traditional kitchen designs that keep a dining area completely separate. The end of your ‘G’ can easily be utilised as a breakfast bar, snack area or homework zone for families with kids.


This is a more open-plan layout that works fantastically for flexible living and dining. An L-shaped configuration of cabinets accommodates dining and lounge areas to become included in the kitchen space. There’s lots of scopes to move freely around the space, so it’s great if your family includes more than one cook and you want to keep off each other’s toes!

Small Rooms

If space is limited, your choice of cabinet layout is narrowed. For square rooms, a U-shape without island makes sense, and for rectangle rooms a galley or L-shape is the way forward. What becomes more important in this instance is vertical layout and storage. These aspects are more flexible and can make a difference in tailoring the space for you.


When the floor area is finite, it’s the inside of cabinets that can make the real difference. In order to make your cabinet interiors more efficient, use pull out solutions to access the back of corner units. This will make the workflow of your kitchen more effective. Utilise each and every corner of space, from hanging spices on the back of cabinet doors to hanging cups or utensils from the underside of cabinets.

Vertical Solutions

Older houses and flats may often have smaller kitchens, however, they often benefit from high ceilings. So use this height to maximise kitchen space. This doesn’t just mean letting the space above your cabinets becoming a dumping ground. Build up cabinetry to make the most of that space. Or for something completely different in a traditionally styled kitchen, what about a Victorian sheila-maid?


Reflecting natural light will help your small kitchen space to feel larger, which is why many choose lighter worktops and cabinet fronts. Your lighting decisions are also key in adding character to a smaller kitchen. When wall space or display space is limited, look instead to feature lighting to create a talking point. Beautiful designs of pendant lighting will work wonders here without wasting floor space.

A great kitchen is one that achieves balance. A balance between efficiency and appeal, design and function. And now more than ever, a balance between our different ‘selves’: our family, working and social lives. It comes down to more than just a ‘work triangle’, so talk to our designers at Zen Küchen to find your perfect balance.

Want to share this post?

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

Want to Join Our Newsletter?

We’ll explore:

  • Where to find Inspirational Ideas
  • How to find your perfect kitchen designer
  • And expensive mistakes to avoid 

After you subscribe, you’ll be sent an email to confirm your subscription. You can unsubscribe at any time. We’ll promise to keep your data 100% safe in line with our privacy policy.