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4 Popular Kitchen Design Layouts and their Unique Advantages and Disadvantages

by Kyle Lindstrom August 29, 2022

4 Popular Kitchen Design Layouts and their Unique Advantages and Disadvantages

There are many different ways that a kitchen can be laid out. Depending on the available space, some of these designs will work better than others. Below is a list of four different kitchen design styles with a list of their advantages and disadvantages, and a photo to provide a visual example. For the sake of unity, all example photos are in the contemporary design style, however the general layouts referenced in this article are the same no matter what style the kitchen is built in. 

  1. L-shaped Kitchen

Example of L shaped Kitchen

L-shaped kitchens are two runs of appliances and cabinets that meet and form a corner. The two sections of cabinets/appliances are called the legs and can be customized to fit the layout of the kitchen.


  • Creates definitive working zones
    • L-shaped kitchens almost always have the stove or range on one leg, while the sink is on the other leg. This design helps create a natural division between cooking spaces (around stove) and cleaning spaces (around sink) and helps your kitchen to become more efficient.
  • Efficient for small to medium sized kitchens
  • Makes use of the working triangle
  • Good for socializing
    • Of all the kitchen design, this allows the cook the greatest ability to socialize with family and guests while at work.
  • Works well in open floor planning


  • Difficult to use corner space
  • Not efficient for large kitchens
    • However, in larger kitchens with a bigger floor plan, a L-shaped kitchen can become much more efficient with the addition of an island
  1. U-shaped Kitchen

Example of a U shaped Kitchen

U-shaped kitchens are a combination of the L-shaped and galley kitchens. They feature three cabinet/appliance sections joined to create a kitchen that is closed on three of its four sides. The U-shaped kitchen is one of the more expensive kitchen designs and can be used to make large, elaborate kitchens, often with an island in the middle, or smaller kitchens that create ample storage and counter space.


  • Larger designs are best suited for multiple cooks
    • This is especially true when an island is included in the design.
  • Plenty of counter space
  • Ample storage space
  • Defined work zones
    • Because of the spacious nature of the design it is easy to designate countertops around appliances for specific purposes.
  • Efficient if planned well


  • Difficult to use space around corners
  • Requires careful planning
    • A U-shaped kitchen with too much space in-between its sections can become laborious to work in. Conversely, a U-shaped kitchen with too little space between sections can easily feel cramped and create difficulties opening doors and appliances. A U-shaped kitchen requires the most forethought and planning of all kitchen designs.
  • Generally the most expensive to fabricate and install

Galley Kitchen

Example of a Galley Kitchen

Also called a corridor Kitchen, these kitchens are made of two workstations that oppose one another with an entryway on either side. People tend to love them or hate them without much in between. Corridor kitchens are a great choice for small homes, condos, or small secondary kitchens in larger homes (i.e. mother-in-law suite ect.).


  • Maximizes a small kitchen space
  • Easily customizable along its length
  • Eliminates useless corners for maximum efficiency
  • Easy to make various workstations in kitchen
  • Efficient to move around 


  • Not good for multiple cooks
    • In such tight quarters it is difficult to move around another person. Galley kitchens are maximally efficient for one, but the least efficient design for two or more people in the space at a time.
  • Does not fit with an open floor plan
  • Can become congested as it is a throughfare of the home
  • Not efficient for large kitchens
  1. One wall Kitchen

Example of a One Wall Kitchen

The single line (or one wall) kitchen is the simplest of all the designs as it is confined to just one wall. This is a good design for homes that are considerably space limited, or are embracing an open floor plan. 


  • Least expensive to create
  • Leaves room for future flexibility
    • Space permitting, an island can be added in or the kitchen can be converted into an L-shape design.
  • Smallest footprint of any kitchen
    • In this design the kitchen is not a room, but a wall, so it is very minimizing on the overall kitchen footprint. Where space is a primary concern, this kitchen is a great option.
  • Works well in an open floor plan
  • Can work well with an island or a bar height table


  • Has the lowest value contribution of all the designs explored
    • Not conducive for every demographic, especially families with kids which in not the best for resale value.
  • Often has limited storage and/or counter space.
  • Does not use the working triangle
    • Because everything is on one wall, a cook will constantly be moving about on a line which is less efficient than a working triangle. In the future an island may be built to remedy this problem. 
  • Difficult to socialize in while cooking
    • In a one wall kitchen, your back will always be towards your guest or family.

Additional Kitchen Layout Elements


Example of Kitchen Island

An Island is a freestanding countertop/cabinet combination that is in the middle of a kitchen. It works great in L-shaped, U-shaped and single line kitchen designs assuming the kitchen has the open floor space. Islands are advantageous with their additional storage, and prep space. They sometimes even provide seating options. Kitchen Islands can be modified even further to include a sink, stovetop, or even a dishwasher. They are a great addition to any kitchen with the space to host them and contribute helpful solutions to storage and prep space. Partnered with good design they can even make working in the kitchen more efficient.


Example of a Peninsula

Peninsula’s are like islands in that they provide preparation and/or seating space, however they differ in that they are not freestanding but are instead connected to an existing counter or cabinet. Peninsulas are less expensive to install than islands and can still make a big difference in a kitchen short on preparation space.

Thank you for reading, I hope this article was helpful to you in your pursuit of the best kitchen in light of your own individual needs.  Happy Building!


- Photo Credits -


Cover Photo: by Alone Gross on Unsplash 

Photo 1 found on Pixaby

Photo 2 by Max Vakhtobovych on Pexels

Photo 3 by R ARCHITECTURE on Unsplash

Photo 4 by Point3D Commercial Imaging Ltd. on Unsplash

Photo 5 by R ARCHITECTURE on Unsplash

Photo 6 by Max Vakhtobovych on Pexels

- Works Cited - 

“Pros and Cons of One Wall Kitchens .” Custom Home, Group, 22 Aug. 2022.  

Adams, Chris. "The Galley or Corridor Kitchen Layout." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020,




Kyle Lindstrom
Kyle Lindstrom


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