If you’re planning a kitchen remodel or building a new home, you’ve probably been pouring over design books, watching YouTube videos, and checking out Pinterest boards for inspiration. But before you get too far planning your overall kitchen design or specifics like cabinetry, countertops, and flooring, it’s important to get the kitchen layout right.
If you’re doing a remodel of an existing space, your layout may be dictated by the overall square footage and adjacent rooms. But if you’re building a new kitchen from scratch, there are even more options to consider.
Regardless of whether you’re planning a kitchen remodel or designing new construction, you’ll need to answer these questions:
- Do you like the idea of an open concept design? Or, would you prefer an enclosed kitchen?
- Do you anticipate growing your family or entertaining more frequently in the near future?
- How many people are typically in your kitchen at one time and what are they doing there?
- Do you want a lot of storage options inside your kitchen? Or, do you plan to have out-of-sight storage like a walk-in pantry?
The answers to these questions, along with others, will determine which kitchen layout is best for your specific situation. Next, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most popular kitchen floor plan designs so you can evaluate the pros and cons of each.
3 Popular Kitchen Layouts: The U-Shaped Kitchen, the L-Shaped Kitchen, and the Galley Kitchen
1. The U-Shaped Kitchen
U-shaped kitchens can be surrounded by three cabinet-containing walls. Or, there may be two walls with the third section functioning as a peninsula.
Advantages of u-shaped kitchens:
- There is typically plenty of room for storage with upper and lower cabinets.
- Appliances are located in close proximity to each other so food preparation and cleanup tasks can be completed efficiently.
- Whether designed with three walls or two walls and a peninsula, u-shaped kitchens keep the kitchen area separate from adjacent living areas.
Disadvantages of u-shaped kitchens:
- These kitchens often feel smaller simply because of the layout design.
- Creative storage solutions are necessary to make corner cabinets functional and accessible.
- It is often challenging for multiple people to work together in a u-shaped kitchen layout.
This San Clemente farmhouse kitchen has a u-shaped layout but since the space was big enough, there was room for an island which helps to improve function and efficiency.
Pull-out shelves in the corner cupboard of this Fountain Valley kitchen are the perfect example of the type of storage needed to make corner cabinets functional in a u-shaped kitchen layout.
2. The L-Shaped Kitchen
This kitchen layout is exactly what it sounds like – two walls in the shape of an L that contain cabinets, countertops, and appliances. Most homes with this kitchen design also have room for an island which adds more work and storage space.
Advantages of L-shaped kitchens:
- Since they’re only enclosed on two sides, L-shaped kitchens have more of an open concept feel which is conducive to entertaining.
- With the addition of an island, this layout offers all kinds of storage options and plenty of countertop workspace.
Disadvantages of L-shaped kitchens:
- Without an island, this layout can feel inefficient since appliances and countertops are farther away from each other.
- With or without an island, L-shaped kitchens typically require more walking between work zone areas like the stove, sink, and refrigerator, than u-shaped kitchens.
This Mission Viejo kitchen makes use of two walls for its L-shaped design. To make the primary work zone more efficient, however, lesser-used items like the beverage cooler and coffee bar are located at the far end of one wall.
3. The Galley Kitchen Layout
This layout features two parallel sections of cabinets with one walkway between them. The cabinets can be on complete walls that go from floor to ceiling, or they can be on half walls or an island that allows for visibility into an adjacent room.
Advantages of a galley kitchen:
- This kitchen layout is perfect for small spaces – think apartments, small homes, or senior housing.
- Galley kitchens make the most of the available space while also making the work area super efficient.
- Since they typically have a smaller square footage and house smaller appliances and fewer cabinets, galley kitchens may cost less to install.
Disadvantages of galley kitchens:
- A galley kitchen layout may not have enough storage or work space for your needs, depending on your family size and entertainment preferences.
- Galley kitchens may not be easily expanded in the future if your family grows or your kitchen needs change.
Get the Best Kitchen Layout and the Ultimate Design With the Orange County Kitchen Design Experts
Now it’s time to answer our original question … What’s the best kitchen layout for YOU? In reality, only YOU can answer that, but it doesn’t hurt to have a little (or a lot) of help in making that decision! When you work with a professional kitchen designer, they can walk you through exactly what you need to know to make an informed choice. Then, once you choose the right layout, they can help you through the rest of the design-build or design-remodel process so you end up with a kitchen you truly love.
At Sea Pointe Design & Remodel, we’ve been helping Orange County homeowners make their dream kitchens become a reality for almost 40 years. We’ve completed kitchen remodels all over Orange County, including Irvine, Capistrano Beach, Anaheim, Dana Point, Aliso Viejo, and other cities. Why not let us help you with YOUR kitchen remodel next?
To learn more about our work, browse through our online portfolio of completed projects or visit our kitchen and bath showroom. You can also register for one of our upcoming remodeling webinars to learn helpful remodeling tips from the pros.
Then, when you’re ready to start planning your own kitchen remodel, simply give us a call at (949) 861-3400 or fill out the form below to schedule your complimentary design consultation.