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Design Inspo

The Best Kitchen Layout Ideas for a Remodel

It’s time for that kitchen remodel you’ve always dreamed of. Get your kitchen design right with some planning and these versatile layout design ideas.

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It's not every day that you get to design your dream kitchen. Spending so much time lusting over the idea of it can make it easy to get caught up in the aesthetics only (marble waterfall countertops, mosaic backsplash, that Viking Tuscany series range) and forget that it has to be functional, too! Luckily for you, we've rounded up our favorite functional kitchen layout ideas (with enough space for all the cooks in the kitchen), so you can focus on the daydreaming.

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First, Think Functionality

Listen, we get it—thinking functional might not always be top of mind, but it's a very important step in the design process! Whether your kitchen will be large or cozy, you’ll need to consider ease of workflow and where you will place your appliances. 

You may be tempted to spread your devices out in a larger kitchen (simply because you can), but keeping them at an ideal distance is crucial for a well-functioning kitchen. You don’t want to walk the equivalent of a 5K just to make your favorite chicken pho meal. This is where a helpful interior design suite can come in handy and help you mock-up your kitchen space. 

The All-Important Work Triangle

The work triangle is one essential concept to review when planning a kitchen makeover. It’s the route you travel to your most used work zones and needs to be an uninterrupted path of comfortable distance.

Imagine the lines of a triangle connecting your kitchen sink, refrigerator, and cooktop. Each side of this zone should be between four to nine feet long, with the sum of the three sides totaling no more than 27 feet for an optimal workflow. If there will be more than one cook in the kitchen, have your layout accommodate two separate work triangles that can share one side but don’t overlap.

Smaller Cleanup Work Triangle

It’s also wise to keep your sink, dishwasher, and trash close together for easy clean-up after meals. A remodel is an excellent opportunity to add some clever kitchen storage (like a hidden minimalistic compartment) with a pull-out trash and recycling bin next to your dishwasher.

In a kitchen with limited space, place your clean-up station at one end of the kitchen with the refrigerator at the opposite end. Set up the range in the middle so that cooks can avoid needlessly retracing their steps. 

Plan Ahead for Utilities

Pick your appliances before planning your cabinetry; it should be sized to fit the appliances rather than the other way around. Utility placement also decides the placement of large appliance outlets for your electrician.

While you’re at it, consider the other small appliances you use and the number and location of outlets they’ll require. Have you ever lived in a house with not enough outlets, or too many outlets in the weirdest places? That's what we're trying to avoid here. Don’t forget to look at the size of your plugs to ensure your backsplash height won’t interfere with inserting them into an outlet. You’ll be grateful you thought of these things before it’s too late!

Classic Kitchen Layouts

A sleek kitchen designed in Spoak by Ruby Davis.

Are you working with your existing layout in this remodel or gutting the space and starting fresh? Either way, one of these six classic kitchen floor plans can work for you:

The One-Wall Kitchen

A kitchen that runs along a single wall is common in small spaces. An advantage to this type of kitchen is the shorter distance between your three main work areas. It can be small, but with all of the appliances on one side of the kitchen, you can avoid excess traffic in the work triangle. 

Since there is only one wall for storage, take those upper cabinets all the way to the ceiling, making them closed storage. Try flat-front lacquered white upper cabinet doors over black lower cabinets to minimize the heaviness of the woodwork. Coordinate it with a white table and Bertoia chairs running parallel to your counter for extra prep space and a bold statement piece.

The Galley Kitchen

A galley kitchen layout works wonderfully when there is a door or window at one end of the kitchen. Much like the one-wall layout, the galley has no corner cabinetry to plan around. There is zero wasted storage space.

Plan your galley work triangle carefully to cut down on unnecessary traffic. Placing all the appliances on one wall may help, as well as ensuring plenty of space between cabinets for multiple users. Run long bars across the opposite wall for an industrial-looking pots and pans station.

The L-Shaped Kitchen Layout 

The L-shaped layout is common in small and large kitchens because it’s versatile. Your work triangle is easy to manage. Plus, if you’re not working around windows, there are many open shelving and kitchen cabinet options for those blank walls. Just remember to keep each leg of your “L” shape under 15 ft. for comfortable food prep. 

Squeeze out the most storage space from your L-shape by using awkward corners for extra storage, like corner cabinets with lazy Susans or a corner pantry. If your corner has windows, trade storage for entertaining space and build a cozy banquette breakfast nook beneath them. 

The U-Shaped Kitchen

The u-shaped layout is not as standard in today’s open plan-concept culture, but it’s a smart way to make use of a large kitchen space. Keep your work triangle at the back end of the room, away from walkways and doors, to get the most from this layout. It’s easy to feel boxed in with this three-walled layout, so vary open shelving with closed cabinets or try glass front cabinets for a lighter look. 

For U-shaped kitchens that are on the smaller side, gain a flexible work surface and island substitute with a stainless steel-topped rolling cart. Roll it into the center of your kitchen and then reposition it to adapt to any job at hand. Then, move it to another area altogether while nesting your primary-colored Pyrex collection on its lower shelves. 

The Island Kitchen 

Modern kitchen designs and remodels typically center around creating an open concept with a large kitchen island. It provides extra counter space and, if you add a sink or range top, makes having two work triangles a possibility. 

With bar seating on one side, the island can transition the space between the kitchen and dining room. Expand your entertainment options by using Spoak’s online visualization tool to see if you can fit an L-shaped island in your L-shaped kitchen. Be creative with your island layout: a drop-level workstation for homework (or remote work) is a clever way to build your life into this floor plan. 

If you’re looking to really jazz things up, try installing a row of Scandinavian copper pendant lights (on a dimmer switch) over a rustic wood island to clearly establish the dining area, allowing it to transition smoothly from day to night. 

The Peninsula Kitchen

If you have an L or U-shaped kitchen but not enough room for an island, a kitchen peninsula can serve the same function. It’s a favorite way to retain kitchen cabinet storage and a seating area after removing a shared wall to create an open living room floor plan.

A bar area helps define the kitchen and bridges the space between it and other living areas. Make it magazine-worthy with a marble waterfall edge that matches your kitchen counters.

Take These Measurements to Your Design Suite

You’ve probably already got a good idea of what you want your new kitchen to look like. Take these measurements to Spoak’s Design Suite and create a mock-up that will prevent any confusion with your builder.

When it comes time to planning, remember these useful remodeling tips:

  • Your lower cabinet depth needs to be at least 24 inches. 
  • Keep the distance between lower and upper cabinets at least 18 inches.
  • Parallel kitchen cabinets must be at least 42 inches apart for one cook and 48 inches for two.
  • You’ll want 150 square inches of counter space.
  • You need 24 inches of countertop space on one side of the sink and 18 inches on the other. 
  • Your fridge is 15 inches of counter space next to it, preferably on the side with the handle. 
  • Try to keep 15 inches of free space above the refrigerator. 
  • Flank your stove with 12 inches of counter workspace on one side and 18 inches on the other. 
  • Your island stove needs nine inches of counter space on each side of the burner.
  • If you have a separate oven, keep 15 inches of counter space on one side. 
  • You need at least 36 inches for a kitchen doorway. 
  • Plan at least three inches of backsplash. 
  • Keep a 36 inches wide pathway all the way around your island. 
  • Your island countertop height of 36 inches needs 15 inches of legroom in front of the counter chairs. 
  • Your 42 inches bar top needs 12 inches of legroom for barstools. 

Mock It Up

Now you have the basic layouts, workflow, and clearance measurements a homeowner needs for a kitchen remodel. While making your kitchen design ideas a reality, check out BeSpoak School to learn real-world design applications. It’s a great way to boost your interior design confidence while discovering the best layout for your kitchen. 

Photo Credit: (Left) Design Files


Forget Open Shelving: It’s Now Trendy to Hide Kitchenware | NAR

Feeling closed in? The answer may be an open floor plan | The Seattle Times

How to Make a 3-D Model of Your Home Renovation Vision | The New York Times

The kitchen triangle – a layout rule to heed or ignore? Experts answer your questions | Home and Gardens

Once you’re ready to get started on your kitchen remodel, join Spoak to start seamlessly mocking things up.

Date Posted
February 26, 2023



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