Pros & Cons of the Most Common Kitchen Layouts

If you’re in the process of reimagining the look of your kitchen, you’ve probably realized there are many layers to a redesign. Sometimes, a kitchen remodel may consist of just a few cosmetic changes to achieve a fresh look, like changing up the hardware or refinishing the floors.

Other times, it might make more sense to undergo a bigger transformation and completely rethink the layout. The layout of your kitchen ultimately contributes to both the flow and functionality of the space. By reworking the overall blueprint – including the placement of your appliances and shape of your cabinetry – you can develop a more spacious and efficient floor plan.

Since the layout of your kitchen will impact how you cook, entertain, and socialize, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of the various types. You can even ask our experts for free kitchen design help, which can provide a customized 3D redesign of your space to help you get started.

Let’s take a look at the three most common types of kitchen layouts, including the benefits and drawbacks of each.

L-Shaped Kitchen Layout

Many will argue in favor of the L-shaped kitchen as the best kitchen layout, which is one of the most popular choices among homeowners. Featuring two adjoining walls that contain all of the appliances and cabinetry, this layout has a number of benefits – starting with the fact that it offers much more space than a galley or one-wall blueprint.

With plenty of open space, you can easily add an island or dedicated seating area in the middle of the room. A final benefit is that the L-shape makes it easy to create multiple work zones, as you can keep appliances contained to certain areas.

A potential drawback of the L-shape layout is that the spread-out nature of this design may make it difficult to access everything quickly. For instance, your stovetop may be housed across the room from the area where your cutting board rests. Another negative to this type of kitchen is that it creates corners, which can be difficult to utilize fully and to clean.

White kitchen with black accents in a U layout.

Horseshoe or U-Shaped Kitchen Layout

A second popular kitchen layout is the horseshoe or U-shaped style. Most commonly seen in smaller homes, townhomes, and apartments, this space-saving layout includes three connecting walls of counters and cabinetry and one open wall. The main benefits?

For one, the rectangular design offers a great workflow that maximizes efficiency, as everything you need is in reach. Secondly, if you’re hoping for a kitchen space that is separate from the living or dining area, this is a perfectly contained solution. With lots of storage, horseshoe layouts make it easy to use all three countertops with minimal movement.

One drawback of the U-shaped layout is that a kitchen island is likely out of the question. Unless you have an aisle in the middle of the kitchen that is at least 48 by 48 inches, you won’t be able to incorporate an adequately-sized island.

Furthermore, this layout doesn’t leave any room for seating, meaning you will have to make space for a dining area in a different room in the house. Lastly, this layout comes with lots of corner cabinets, which can be costly to install and challenging to utilize fully without the help of smart storage or lazy Susans.

Galley Kitchen Layout

A third and final type of layout that is commonly seen in kitchens (especially when space is extremely limited) is the galley style. Consisting of two parallel walls or countertops that face each other with a walkway in between, a galley layout has several advantages.

One positive is that this design is incredibly functional – after all, there’s a reason that galley kitchens are the most common layout found in restaurants. With your sink, stovetop, and fridge in close proximity, galley kitchens means it’ll take less moving around to do the same amount of cooking or cleaning. Also, you won’t have to spend a fortune on finishing materials like cabinets, backsplashes, or countertops, as a full remodel of a galley layout will be most affordable.

With a small space comes some not-so-small drawbacks, however, including the problem of crowding. If you plan on cooking with two or more people, you’ll quickly realize that galley kitchens do not allow for multiple chefs or socializing.

Another con to this type of layout is that you’ll have limited counter space and storage, which can be frustrating when prepping larger meals. Finally, galley kitchens are often hidden away without much natural light, making the space feel enclosed and even claustrophobic.

As you think about redesigning the look of your kitchen, one way to transform the space and give it an extra-trendy feel is to play with two-tone cabinetry. Check out our tips for combining two-tone kitchen cabinets in a creatively colorful design.

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