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Kitchen Design

Updated on August 22, 2016

Your kitchen is much more than just a place to cook. A kitchen is where relationships are developed and solidified, family members touch base, new friendships are made, and love is expressed through careful preparation of food.

Kitchen design can make the time you spend there delightful or frustrating. There are a few essential design rules to increase efficiency and enjoyment of your kitchen space.


Your kitchen must be functional. You need enough counter space to accomplish the most common tasks like chopping, dicing, grating, cutting, mixing, rolling and blending.

If you like to have company while you cook, a large central counter would be best. If all you do is warm your meals in a microwave, you may not need as much counter space. Customize to fit your individual needs.


One of the most important rules in the kitchen is to have sufficient lighting. Consider lights above the counters, under the counters and a central one in the middle of the kitchen.

The lighting will create the mood in your kitchen. It is advised that you have alternative lighting for day and night. While you are cooking, you need it to be illuminated well, and then during the meal, the lights can be dimmed a little.

Good illumination
Good illumination
L-shaped kitchen
L-shaped kitchen

Traffic Pattern

Your time spent in the kitchen will be more enjoyable if you plan the traffic patterns well. Daily meal preparation should be simple and effortless without walking long distances. Visualize what tasks are involved in your usual preparation routine and then plan your kitchen layout.

There are four main kitchen layouts to choose from.

  • L-Shape
  • U-Shape
  • Galley
  • Island Style

L-Shaped Kitchen

The L-shaped kitchen usually gives enough counter space with plenty of storage areas. It also minimizes the walking distances between the sink, refrigerator and stove.

You can use one corner of your kitchen for the dining table and chairs. It is suggested that you use cabinets that reach to the ceiling, where you can store seasonal or seldom-used items.

Try to allow as much natural light as possible to penetrate the kitchen.

U-Shaped Kitchen

A U-shaped kitchen can provide the ideal layout with an efficient working triangle. The distance between the fridge, stove and sink should not be more than 25 feet, but not less than ten feet. With the U-shaped kitchen, those three elements are divided properly and increase space needed for storage and cooking.

U-shaped kitchen
U-shaped kitchen

Galley or Parallel Kitchen

A galley or parallel kitchen is long and narrow like the galley of a ship or airplane. They usually have a sink/counter on one side and the fridge, oven and stove on the other side with a walking aisle in between. This set-up can be great if you cook alone, but not suitable for several cooks at once.

Galley style kitchen
Galley style kitchen
Island-style kitchen
Island-style kitchen

Island-Style Kitchen

Island-style kitchens are those where the island is used not onlly for food preparation, but also for dining and storage.

These kitchens are usually larger than normal, with adequate space in the middle for the island. Islands can be fixed or portable.

For smaller areas, a folding island can also be used.

Large Island-style kitchen
Large Island-style kitchen
Modified U-shaped kitchen
Modified U-shaped kitchen

Design Your Dream Kitchen

You can create the kitchen of your dreams by considering your lifestyle and also utilizing the basic rules of kitchen design:

  • Functionality
  • Illumination
  • Traffic Pattern


Submit a Comment

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Hello,hello - that is cute - I like that and have never heard it before.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

    A weeldesigned kitchen puts the heart into the house. Thank you for you well written hub and great photos.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks Pamela99. It is always good to know the basics when designing anything. I also learned from studying this.

    Coachb51 - Let us know how your kitchen redesign goes. I'd love to see it when it is finished. Aloha.

  • coachb51 profile image

    coachb51 7 years ago from West Point, MS

    I am hoping to re-design my kitchen soon and very much enjoyed this hub.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    This is an interesting hub with the basic designs for your kitchen. Thanks for some good ideas.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks reddog1027. Same here - I am dreaming along with you for my future kitchen.

    Why thanks dallas93444. Glad to know that you confirm my understanding about the work triangle and it's importance. I appreciate very much your comments.

  • dallas93444 profile image

    Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

    As a former real estate developer and builder, I understand what you are saying! The kitchen is the most important room in the house. The "work triangle" in the kitchen is the most important tool to design an efficient, effective kitchen.

  • reddog1027 profile image

    reddog1027 7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

    A simple and well written hub. I now have the info I will need to start planning my dream kitchen!