There are five basic kitchen plans, but many variations on each. Each one has some important positive qualities, as well as some negative qualities. Deciding which plan will work best for you can be difficult.
Some Things to Consider
Whether you are building a brand new kitchen or are planning a kitchen renovation, there are a few things to consider before deciding on a plan.
- Your present kitchen, if you are remodeling. It can be expensive to totally change the placement of water sources, gas, and electricity in a room.
- Your cooking style. How much will you use the kitchen? Do you prepare four-course gourmet meals or warm up frozen dinners?
- The size of your family. It can be hard to work around several people in certain types of kitchens.
- Your preferences. What styles of kitchens are you drawn to?
- Your budget. Certain floor plans will be more costly than others.
The Five Basic Kitchen Plans
As you look at different kitchen plans, be aware of special needs that you may have. Does your kitchen need to be wheelchair accessible? Will the workstations need to be lower, or the space between them wider to accommodate a wheelchair? Consider planning for these things to be changed later, in case the need arises.
The one-wall plan is exactly that. Each major component of the plan is situated along one wall of the room. Often the sink will be in the center with the refrigerator at one end and the stove at the other. This is the plan most often used for apartments, vacation homes, and efficiencies.
Pros: This is the most space-saving of the floor plans. Because everything is against one wall, the rest of the kitchen can be open into the next room. These kitchens work best with a center sink. Try to allow four feet of counter space on either side of the sink for workspace.
Cons: This is the least efficient of the plans. The cook must walk from one end of the kitchen to the other many times while cooking.
Corridor or Galley-style Kitchen
A corridor style, also called galley style when one end is closed off, kitchen is a step up from the one-wall plan. In this plan the work centers are situated along two parallel walls, generally forming a work triangle.
Pros: This kitchen is also very good for small spaces, but because of the parallel walls the cook is more able to move easily and efficiently from one work center to another. There should be at least four feet of floor space between the parallel counters to allow for freedom of movement.
Cons: The negative aspects of this kitchen are mainly in the traffic flow. It is easy to trip over family members as you try to cook, and they walk through the kitchen, especially if it is a corridor style.
The L-shaped Kitchen
This plan gives the cook two work stations on one wall, and a third center on another, adjacent, wall. The work triangle is generally out of the flow of traffic and a dining area can be set up opposite the work area for family to gather.
Pros: This is an efficient plan, suited to most kitchens, unless they are very small. Generally the kitchen sink and refrigerator are situated along the long wall of the L and the stove is on the short wall of the L. Be sure to plan for the work to flow fluidly from the refrigerator to the sink to the stove.
Cons: This plan takes more space than the other two. There must be an allowance for counter space between the work areas for prep work. The sink should not, in other words, be right up against the kitchen appliances. It is important to have adequate space between each area.
The Island or Peninsula Kitchen
The kitchen island, or peninsula, floor plan features a freestanding workstation parallel to the wall. It generally holds the sink or the cooking area, but can be simply a prep area. In the peninsula style the workstation is attached to the wall at one end.
Pros: This plan works best in large spaces. It is a good plan for larger families and cooks who prepare meals for many people on a regular basis. The work stations are separated by more space, and therefore it is easier for several people to share kitchen chores. An eating area can be set up at the island so that the cook can visit with family or friends while cooking.
Cons: There needs to be at least 42 to 46 inches of space on either side of the kitchen island for traffic flow, and at least 46 inches at the free end of the peninsula. Because of this the island kitchen requires more space than most other plans.
There are special considerations for the peninsula variation. The cooktop or sink both work well on the peninsula as long as the plumbing is easily accessible to make the change. This variation also takes up less space than the island kitchen, and so is suitable for a smaller area.
The U-shaped Kitchen
The U-shaped kitchen is similar to the peninsula. It puts each work station on a separate wall, making it versatile for the large family or person who entertains a lot. An island can also be added in the center of the U as another surface for preparation or for an extra sink.
Pros: Because of the size of the space, traffic usually does not interrupt the work triangle. There is more storage because each center is situated on a wall, with space for countertops and cabinetry.
Cons: This plan uses a minimum of eight feet by eight feet of space. The more space that a home has available for this design, the better.
Resources on the Web
- Smart Draw: You can download a free trail of this software to help you design your kitchen.
- Fine Homebuilding: Gives diagrams and easy-to-understand explanations of what works and what doesn't in a kitchen plan.
The kitchen is the heart of the home, the area where most people spend much of their time. Great kitchens can be valuable assets to any home. Create the kitchen of your dreams with careful research and planning.