When designing the layout for a kitchen, there’s a well known design rule called the Work Triangle to consider. Before we get into what this actually is, let us first say that your lifestyle should determine the functionality of your kitchen, and not the other way around. The work triangle is used only as a suggestion for good space planning, with the ultimate goal of the triangle being efficiency.

The aim is to keep the person doing the cooking close to the major work stations, without being so close that everything is cramped. This kitchen design process does have its flaws however! The work triangle assumes there are only three major work stations and one cook, so for those with larger kitchens and families who cook together, this design method may not be suitable. Whilst the work triangle can be a helpful tool in the design process, don’t let it prevent you from thinking outside the box (or the triangle) when designing your dream kitchen. Below we have picked out a handful of the most popular kitchen designs and highlighted key points and tips for making each as efficient as possible.


If kitchen space is limited within your home, then a one-wall kitchen design layout could well be the solution. Out of all of the major kitchen designs, a one-wall design has the smallest footprint, housing all cabinetry and appliances along one wall. Quite commonly, the layout of this design houses the fridge on the end of the kitchen run, with the sink positioned next to it and counter space either side. The oven and hob are typically at the other end of the run, again making sure there is worktop space either side for safely placing food after cooking. There is also the option in some circumstances to install an oven into tall cabinetry, which would leave further space for storage. The dishwasher, if required, is placed underneath the worktops, and the rest of the carcassing is used for storage. Additional storage can also be installed onto the walls above the worktops, or shelving can be used to break up the design, preventing a chunky appearance.


This is one of the most popular kitchen layouts, especially in the day of the combined kitchen diner. The design is perfect for multipurpose spaces, with the kitchen area neatly kept to two sides leaving the rest of the room free. The L-shape enables the overall space of the room to appear bigger, by concentrating all of the storage and appliances to two sides of the room. This leaves the other sides open, which particularly in the case of a small kitchen, is perfect. With the proper planning, you can design and organise and efficient workspace with enough room for two users – nothing is worse than getting under one another’s feet! Even in the larger kitchen, this layout is suitable. Guests are able to socialise in the kitchen without intruding into the busy cooking area. The L-shape is also often combined with an island to allow extra workspace and storage, or provide an excellent seating area if a worktop overhang has been accommodated for.

When considering the cons of this design, if design space does not allow, for example the other sides of the room are not open and very close to the long run of units, the cooking area would not be functional for more than one cook. This may not be suitable for those who like to cook together, or socialise with guests while preparing meals. It is also crucial that the interior of the cabinetry is organised efficiently so that any worktop space is not limited.

U-shape and Galley

A U-shaped kitchen has an open end for access and cabinetry on three adjoining walls. U-shape and galley designs are very similar in design, with the exception that a galley kitchen does not have one end closed off. In the larger sized kitchen, both designs can potentially have an island in the middle. The main pro to both of these designs is that they are superb for storage and offer a lot of worktop space. Of course, the U-shape offers a whole additional run of cabinetry over the galley style, but the latter can be just as useful with utilising the space for a seating area instead. When planning the layout of either designs, it’s important to consider the space available, a narrow closed in kitchen is not going to be practical for more than one cook.

A key aspect to think about in the design process is the positioning of the sink and hob. If the sink is positioned in the middle run of a U-shaped design, then the hob can be positioned on either of the other runs. On a galley design, the hob is usually located on the opposite run to the sink. The logic behind this is to allow as much workspace either side and around the hob as possible.


The ever popular kitchen island- an often sought after addition to any kitchen design. While not a kitchen design in its own right, it can make a practical feature to enhance any layout if space allows. Design wise, it can run parallel to the kitchen units and be long and slim; alternatively it can be much larger and broad with room to house a sink and other appliances. Islands can provide extra preparation space, a form of boundary or separation between the cooking and socialising area, and even incorporate seating. Many island designs have a worktop overhang which is perfect for bar stools, similarly, kitchen islands can also be integrated with a low level, table-style seating at one end for standard dining chairs.

When it comes to aesthetically designing the island, it is common for the island carcassing to be of a different colour to the main kitchen units. Having a bolder colour on the island, combined with a oak block or granite worktop, can turn it into a stunning statement piece.

For any more help and advice, or if you’re looking to start designing a dream kitchen of your own, please feel free to call us on 01962 733016, email info@alresfordinteriors.co.uk or pop into our workshop and we can get your kitchen project off the ground today!