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Kitchen layouts: What you need to know

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Before tearing down cabinets and installing new appliances, think seriously about how you use your kitchen – you may benefit from a new arrangement


Whether you’re planning a kitchen as part of your new build or thinking of ways to update what you’ve got, it’s usually a good idea to start with the layout. This is really the fundamental part of your kitchen.

In this article, we’ll run through the most popular kitchen layouts and outline some of the pros and cons of each.


Perhaps the most famous layout, the galley kitchen takes its name from the food preparation area of a ship or airplane. It’s a good option if you don’t have much space to work with – for example a small townhouse or apartment. In most cases, galley kitchens are open-ended feature two lines of cabinets with appliances on both sides.

Note: Given the shape, it’s important to ensure appliances and drawers don’t open onto each other. You don’t want to have to wait for the dishwasher while someone is fiddling with the oven.


L shape

As you can probably guess, an L shape kitchen features cabinets set into the corner of a room. It’s another good option for smaller spaces, as it gives your room to operate while freeing up space for a dining area.

Note: You may want to consider an L shape kitchen if it’s part of a larger, unified living area, given the space you’ll save.

U shape

Just like a galley or L shape kitchen, this option is great for small spaces. Picture the former with one end closed off and you’ve got a U shape kitchen. If you want, you can have a wall opening to connect the kitchen to a dining room or living area.

Note: You may run into problems with the size and shape of this kitchen, as there’s often no room for a table. It can also be difficult to accommodate all of the required appliances.

G shape

This is the U shape kitchen’s big brother. Picture a U shape kitchen with an extension for an island-like counter. It’s a particularly good choice if the space you’ve got doesn’t have the clearance for an island, but you still want all of the entertainment options they afford.

Note: Make sure the extension isn’t so long as to make getting into the kitchen a pain. You may also want to make sure the gap is large enough for appliances.


This one is largely self-explanatory. A line kitchen features the stove, fridge and sink in a single line, so you don’t waste time moving between each working area. They’re commonly found in small houses and apartments, as the extra space often allows for a table.

Note: Line kitchens work because they’re designed for small spaces. Installing a line kitchen in a larger space will mean you waste time moving between appliances and work areas.


If you’re running out of work space in your kitchen and you have the room, consider adding an island. Given their free-standing nature, islands make it easy add multiple new workspaces. They’re also excellent if you like entertaining.

Note: You may want to think about adding a second sink when you install an island, especially if you’ve got multiple people working in the kitchen.

The layout of your kitchen is the most important element to sort out when renovating or starting fresh. It’s relatively easy to swap out cabinets down the line – but it can be a real pain to change the layout.

First published date: 25 July 2017

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