Understanding the Most Common Kitchen Design Styles

Today’s kitchen isn’t just used for cooking. This multi-functional space has become the favorite spot for family gatherings, parties, work and conversations over a glass of wine.

The layout and design of your kitchen must fit your family’s lifestyle. Whether you’re building a new home, planning a kitchen renovation or want to make the best choice in your house hunting process, keep these common kitchen design styles in mind.

Kitchen layouts

There are six common kitchen layouts for you to consider for your home. Some of them are space dependent, but others are designed to fit certain lifestyles and patterns of use.


The one-wall kitchen design is typically found in small homes. Appliances are lined against one wall in the home (usually a studio or loft condo). The sink is placed between the refrigerator and the stove for easy cleanup. One downside to this kitchen layout is the limited counter space for food prep. A kitchen island can be added for more space in larger homes.


Galley kitchens have a narrow design optimized for cooking, not socializing. Restaurants often use this design for maximum efficiency when prepping, cutting and plating food. Having the kitchen open on both ends of the galley is ideal for allowing maximum light and easier access. A downside to the galley design is that there’s often no room for a dining area.


Similar to a one-wall design, the U-shape kitchen is typically smaller in design and best suited for a one-cook family. The layout places the refrigerator, range and sink each on a different wall. These kitchens often offer limited space, so a dining area or kitchen island is usually not an option, especially in older homes.


An island kitchen is usually a larger version of the traditional U-shape design. Newly built homes often feature large kitchen islands and an open-space concept, making your kitchen an accessible social space. The island is a great space for homework, food prep and a breakfast bar.


The L-shape kitchen is a common design in small and medium sized homes. The “L” is formed by the kitchen essentials running along two walls—usually 12 to 15 feet in length for maximum efficiency. This design usually offers enough space for dine-in kitchens, but it’s not meant to be a thoroughfare.


The G-shape kitchen design is also known as a peninsula kitchen. Think an L-shape kitchen with an attached island to one side. This design offers many of the same benefits of an island kitchen without having an obstructive piece of your kitchen in the middle of an open area.

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