Kitchen Layout: The Foundation of Kitchen Design

February 18, 2020

No matter what size or style your kitchen is, the foundation of every kitchen design is the layout. Get your layout right, and everything else will fall into place.  This is truer than ever in today’s kitchens that serve as multi-purpose living spaces combining food storage and preparation with casual dining, entertaining, and more.

In most homes, the enclosed kitchen where one person cooked the food and carried it to a separate, formal dining room is a thing of the past.  The kitchen has become a more integrated part of the home, which is reflected in both the style and functionality of this space.  From color schemes to accessories, the style of the kitchen is closely linked to the rest of the home.  As the heart of activity in the home, the kitchen is also typically the busiest room.

L-shaped kitchen design

This means that carefully planning an effective layout and workflow is more important than ever for your kitchen design.  How do you get started in planning your kitchen layout?

First, identify how you plan to use your kitchen, what you like and do not like about your current layout, and what your top priorities are in a kitchen remodel.  Your kitchen design professional can help you with this, but here are a few questions to get you started.

  • How much available space do you have and what is the shape of your room?

  • If your current kitchen footprint is not big enough for your needs, are you willing to move or remove a wall to make your space larger?

  • How often do you cook, and do you typically have more than one person cooking at the same time?

  • Do you host large family gatherings or entertain frequently?

  • Are you happy with the current positioning of your appliances and do you plan to add more appliances?

  • What are your other priorities for your kitchen remodel?  Baking? Studying? Pets? Integrated electronics for music, television, and device storage?

  • What else do you find does not work or is missing from your current kitchen design?

open plan kitchen design

Once you have a clear vision of your requirements, identify how you will achieve your goals in logical work zones that allow for easy flow of traffic throughout the room. Which work zones you include, and how they fit together in your overall layout, depends on your individual requirements  Typically these work areas will be situated along your perimeter cabinetry and countertops combined the kitchen island.  This can be arranged in a U-shaped, L-shaped, G-shaped, single wall, or galley-style kitchen design.  Here are a few tips to inspire your kitchen work zones.

  • Set up your work zones, and therefore your appliances, according to functionality, e.g. a cleanup zone would include the dishwasher and sink.

  • In a multi-functional kitchen design, use your island to help separate and distinguish different zones and manage the flow of traffic throughout the room. For example, have a food prep or clean up area on one side of the island, with a casual dining area and possibly a beverage station on the other side.  This allows the cook to continue working while guests or children sit and chat or eat, without interfering with the work of the kitchen.

  • If homework or hobbies are part of your family life, particularly where small children are involved, set up a separate area to sit and engage in these activities, away from but in full view of the cooking areas.

  • The same goes for pets, who need a safe space for their food, water, and bed, where they can be near their humans but safely out of the way of hectic kitchen activities.

  • If you have a busy kitchen and your space and budget allows, consider including extras like more than one island, a walk-in pantry closet, or more than one cooking zone complete with separate appliances.

large kitchen design with two islands

A well-organized layout and clearly designated work zones are essential to an efficient and highly functional kitchen design that allow you to enjoy your time in the kitchen even more.  Get inspired by the variety of layouts in our kitchen remodeling gallery, and then visit our Gainesville showroom to discuss your project with one of our kitchen design professionals!