How to choose the right kitchen layout shape

kitchen layout shape

Undoubtedly, the kitchen is one of the most functional rooms in a home. Every year, thousands of Australians look to renovate kitchens to suit their needs. However, let’s face it – a kitchen renovation is a massive (and often expensive) affair.

If you’re looking to renovate your kitchen or you’re building a new one, choosing the right kitchen layout shape is vital. If you choose the wrong shape, you’ll make a costly mistake. Moreover, the wrong shape means your kitchen will not reflect your personal requirements.

Now, when it comes to kitchen layouts, there are many styles and designs for you to choose from. But according to Houzz’s 2017 Kitchen Trends Study, of those homeowners looking to renovate, currently renovating or have renovated their kitchen in the last 12 months, 34% chose a U-Shaped Layout, 23% chose an L-Shaped Layout, and 18% opted for a Galley Layout.

If you’re unsure what these layouts look like, don’t worry, I’m here to help you out. As the owner of Ross’s Discount Home Centre, I certainly know everything there is to know about kitchens, including their layout shapes. Today, I’ll explain the various layout options and offer some handy tips to help you design your new kitchen.

First, let’s look at these layout shapes and a few others to see which is best suited for your needs.

1. Island kitchens

Island kitchens are considered to be the most functional of all kitchen layouts. An island layout features appliances and kitchen cabinets on one or both sides, and it also includes an additional work surface. This work surface lies separate from the main benchtops and looks like an island on the floor, hence the name.

There are many advantages that the island layout offers. The additional work surface can be used to prepare food, house a sink, provide a place to eat, and even store beverages.

Island kitchen layouts are ideal for those people who want to transform their kitchen space into a social hub. Such layouts offer plenty of space to cook and entertain guests, and they seamlessly integrate with open-plan living spaces.

However, an island layout is not suitable for every kitchen. Such a layout requires massive kitchen space (I recommend a minimum of 15m), and smaller spaces simply cannot accommodate this layout. Moreover, such a layout is always on display and noise, and activity from other areas will inevitably reach the kitchen. Consequently, this also means added pressure to maintain the kitchen and keep it clean.

2. U-Shaped kitchens

U-Shaped kitchens are considered the ideal layout for home cooks, and according to Houzz, they are the most popular layout of 2016. However, you’ll find this layout lends more to traditional homes rather than a modern homes.

A U-Shaped kitchen consists of 3 walls of cabinets or appliances, with an open space in between. Depending on the amount of open space available, a central dining table may also be included.

A U-Shaped layout is ideal for large families or in kitchens where multiple cooks will be working together. They are also immensely flexible, and they can be installed both in narrow, long spaces and large, square spaces. Moreover, they offer a better degree of privacy than island layouts while still conforming to an open-plan design.

While such a layout seems to be the ideal choice, it suffers some drawbacks. First of all, it requires a large number of kitchen cabinets which is costly. However, having more cabinets is also a benefit. Additionally, if you don’t choose your cabinets wisely, your kitchen can look bulky and out of place.

3. L-Shaped kitchens

L-Shaped kitchens are probably the most common of all kitchen layouts; however, the Houzz survey suggests that this layout has fallen in popularity of late.

An L-Shaped layout includes 2 walls of cabinets or appliances, with the main benchtop along one of these walls. It is ideally suited for medium to large areas.

It is a smart design as it eliminates traffic issues. Moreover, it also makes it possible to add multiple work zones and even a dining space if required. It is flexible, adaptable, social, stylish and functional.

L-Shaped kitchens suffer from very few drawbacks, which is why they remain to be the second most popular layout today. The only negative I can think of is that this configuration is more about fitting everything in, which can make workflow and cook somewhat inconvenient.

4. Straight Line / One Wall Kitchens

The Straight Line / One Wall Kitchen Layout is only suitable for limited spaces such as studio apartments and lofts. It is a great space-saving solution as all cabinets and appliances are fixed only to one wall. However, some large modern kitchens also adopt this layout as it allows people to dine in the kitchen.

If you have a square-shaped kitchen or an open-plan kitchen with limited space, then this layout may be your best option.

The only drawback of this layout is that the appliances must be fully integrated into the cabinets. Else, the design will look very cluttered and unkempt.

5. Galley kitchens

Galley kitchens, otherwise known as walk-through kitchens, are a traditional kitchen layout that is commonly found in older apartments and terrace houses. However, as shown in the Houzz survey, Galley kittens are increasing in popularity – they were the third most popular shape in 2016.

Galley kitchens consist of a corridor between two walls that house cabinets and appliances. This layout is suitable for small to medium-sized kitchens.

The biggest advantage offered by Galley kitchens is that they make the best use of available space. Moreover, there are no corners that need to be taken care of, and kitchen cabinets can easily be integrated into them. This layout also allows socialising and eating in.

However, one common problem associated with Galley kitchens is that they tend to feel claustrophobic and dark. This is especially true if tall kitchen cabinets are used and if there is no natural source of light.

There you have it – a full rundown on five of the most common kitchen shapes with considerations on each. I’m sure you’ve noticed that the placement of kitchen cabinets is what largely determines a kitchen’s layout. Therefore, it is very important that you choose your cabinetry wisely – this is what will define the look of your kitchen.

My top 5 kitchen design tips

With the kitchen shape sorted, let’s take a look at some handy tips to help you design your kitchen.

1. Keep your kitchen triangle unobstructed

The kitchen triangle consists of your cooktop, sink and refrigerator – the three most used areas of any kitchen. You should ensure that you provide easy access to all these areas.

2. Design keeping storage space in mind

There’s no such thing as excess storage space, especially in kitchens. So, go ahead and get as many kitchen cabinets as you please. They will allow you to keep things tucked away when not in use, allowing for a neat and tidy appearance.

3. Consider benchtop space

The benchtop is where you will prepare food and also place your cooktops and freestanding appliances. You should always design to include sufficient benchtop space.

4. Consider ventilation and lighting

With the amount of cooking you’ll be doing, steam, grease and water will inevitably be produced. You must make sure that your kitchen is well-ventilated and well-lit to keep your kitchen space visually appealing. Consider investing in a good rangehood and fluorescent lighting.

5. Take the help of professionals

A kitchen renovation is a massive project that takes up a lot of time, energy and sometimes, money. Unless you have handled renovations of such a scale earlier, I’ll advise you to hire professional designers or shopfitters. Professionals will also use their experience and expertise to offer you some valuable suggestions regarding your kitchen design.

Where to get quality kitchen products

When it comes to finding the best quality kitchen products, look no further than Ross’s Discount Home Centre. We offer everything ranging from wall, base and pantry cabinets, benchtops, sinks, tapware and appliances. We’re also exclusive retailers of Alpine Cabinets – a leading Australian manufacturer of kitchen cabinets. Our cabinets come preassembled and are designed to offer easy installation. Moreover, our cabinets do not require additional side panels and feature a high-quality painted surface, unlike cheap flat packs. By choosing our Alpine cabinets, you’ll be able to create your desired kitchen shape in no time at all.

Really, with us around, there’s no need to look elsewhere – we’re your one-stop shop.


When designing your kitchen, you must first consider which kitchen shape will suit your needs best. Some common layouts include Island kitchens, U-Shaped kitchens, L-Shaped kitchens, One Wall / Straight Line kitchens and Galley kitchens. The layout of a kitchen depends completely on the placement of kitchen cabinets.

And, when you go about designing your kitchen, keep your kitchen triangle unobstructed. Also, your design should include enough storage space and benchtop space. Finally, remember to consider the ventilation and lighting in your kitchen.

For the best kitchen products in Perth, consider us at Ross’s Discount Home Centre. We offer the best quality kitchen cabinets, appliances, benchtops, sinks and tapware at incredibly affordable prices.

So, shop for your kitchen cabinets and other kitchen products from our online store. You can also drop by our showroom in Guildford and our sales experts will be glad to help you with your purchases.


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