Kitchen shapes - what are the options?
Wednesday, 20th November 2013, Jane Gibson
When it comes to kitchens, the shape and layout can make all the difference. If you're redesigning your kitchen from scratch or are simply considering other options, it's very important to get the shape right. On the other hand, you might be stuck with a particular shape because that's the shape the room is. Either way, here's what your options are and how to get the most out of them.
One-wall kitchens literally have everything on wall; while this is very handy for keeping the kitchen size down, there are also some obvious disadvantages. Such a layout doesn't allow for much countertop or storage space; it also isn't ideal if you have a lot of appliances or large ones that take up a lot of room.
However these types of kitchens are great for very small apartments or loft spaces, as they take up barely any room. If you live alone or are the only one who cooks, one-wall kitchens might be all you need. So if you're looking to downsize your kitchen to allow you to have a larger living room, this could be a good layout choice.
There are also a number of ways you can increase countertop space and storage space. One of the best ways to do this is to have a kitchen island, which will give you more of both. Of course this is only possible if you have the room to do so.
Although you can use this layout in larger kitchens, much like the one-wall shape it is generally used because it's the only layout possible given the space you have. However, whereas one-wall kitchens can allow more open-space, gallery kitchens tend to be pretty narrow. This creates a traffic problem, so if you have a family or you like to entertain a lot in your kitchen, this layout is going to present some difficulties.
Typically, gallery kitchens have all the appliances on one wall and the other wall consists of a sink, countertop space and cabinets. To get the most out of the space available, you can add some more cabinet space above your appliances, although this might not be ideal if you're fairly short and don't have space to install some fold-away steps!
There are some plus sides to this design though; like one-wall kitchens, gallery kitchens save space and create more room for other areas of the house. It also means you don't have to install any annoying corner cabinets, which can be costly.
Some people might not like the idea of an L-shaped kitchen but they can actually be a very effective and useful design. This is largely because it creates a brilliant work flow for the cook, allowing them to have some privacy by pushing traffic out of the work area. It is an excellent way to maximise a corner space or if you simply have an oddly shaped room where only an L-shaped kitchen will do.
Should you have enough space, you might want to add a kitchen table or island if your family like to hang out in the kitchen or if you enjoy having friends round. However, this design isn't recommended for larger kitchens because there are other designs, such as the U-shape, which would probably be more suitable.
This is the ideal shape if you have the space for it, as it provides you with a lot of storage and worktop space. Although there are three walls to this design, it can feel a lot more open than the other three shapes. If you love to cook with your partner, friends or other family members, this type of kitchen is perfect because of how much worktop space there is. Even if you prefer to cook alone, being able to spread the work out is a great option to have.
Again, if you have a large space to work with, adding a kitchen table or island is a great idea and will make your kitchen seem more cosy if the middle comes across as too big an open space. On the other hand, if you only have a small space a U-shape kitchen is not a good idea, because the three walls will make it seem quite enclosed.
Each of the designs really does depend on how much space you have to work with. Try to sketch out your plan first to see how it could look and try several different designs. If you're stuck for inspiration you can always visit a showroom to get a good idea of the different design techniques you could use.
One thing you should remember to implement in your layout is the 'work triangle'; ideally, for the optimal work space, you should have the three main appliances in a triangle formation. This will likely be the fridge, sink and cooker and it means the appliances will be evenly apart but within reach of each other when you need them. Of course this formation won't be possible in every shape but it should still be kept in mind.