Your kitchen doesn’t only need to look good, it needs to function well too. Your choice of layout could be the key to getting the kitchen that works hardest for you.
Image: This wooden oak kitchen from Stoneham is in a U-shape with an added peninsula
One of the best things about working with a kitchen designer on the plans of your new space is that they can help you create a space that not only looks amazing, but that has great flow for both everyday cooking and special entertaining.
The layout you decided on may be determined by the space you have to work with, but using islands and peninsulas, you can almost create any of these layouts to best suit your working style and create a good journey around your kitchen while you use it.
“It can be difficult to decide the perfect layout for your kitchen but the best place to start is by determining its shape and size. The shape and size of your kitchen will affect the design and how many units you can have in which layout,” explains Darren Watts, design director at Wren Kitchens.
The L-shape kitchen
Image: Hampton H Line Oxford Blue and Scots Grey, Masterclass kitchens
When we talk about an L-shape kitchen, we’re not necessarily talking about a kitchen that goes around a corner in an L-shaped room, though these kinds of kitchens do exist.
Rather it’s a layout that uses two adjoining walls of a room for a continuous flow of worktops and cabinets. “This design keeps the central area free, so you can add an island to fill with cocktails, dinner party dining table, or keep it bare to create a more open feel,” Magnet Kitchens tells Good Homes. “The L-shaped kitchen is perfect for entertaining, as it is compact yet spacious and allows plenty of room for mingling or even a spot of dancing with loved ones.”
Read more: Design ideas for an L-shaped kitchen
The U-shape kitchen
Image: GoodHome Garcinia Gloss Anthracite kitchen, B&Q
Creating a U-shape with cabinets is perfect for both smaller and larger kitchens. In smaller kitchens, the U can be created across three adjoining walls, while in a large open-plan space: “consider adding a peninsula to bring your design into a U‐shape,” says Masterclass Kitchens.
This shape creates the perfect equilateral work triangle between sink, hob and fridge, and allows a good flow for even two people working in the kitchen at the same time.
The parallel kitchen
Image: Schmidt Kitchens
Though it’s perhaps best known as the galley kitchen, this conjures ideas of small, narrow spaces, whereas this isn’t always the case. It features two parallel worktops, which are easy to bounce between while preparing food in the kitchen. This style of design works particularly well for kitchen with thoroughfares through to the garden where there are large doors to the outdoor space.
Read more: How to make a galley kitchen look bigger
Island and peninsula kitchens
Image: Kin kitchen range by Mowlem & Co
Islands and peninsulas can be incorporated into any of these other designs if space allows, offering another worktop space to add into the cooking mix. Islands are suited to mid to large sized kitchens, especially in open-plan spaces, while peninsula designs can round out kitchens of any size to help zone a kitchen area.
"The beauty of an island unit is the flexibility it offers in terms of style and function. It can play host to a mixture of worktop textures and heights, provide extra preparation and storage space, and allow you to include seating options that give your kitchen an individual edge," explains Julia Trendell, design expert at Benchmarx Kitchens.
These elements really help to make the kitchen the hub of the home, meaning that prep can be done while facing into the family room so that you can keep an eye on the kids, and can also include integrated seating to allow for the kitchen to become a place to dine, do homework and more.
You may want to consider what elements you want on your island or peninsula. A hob or sink may mean that you can look out into your home while cooking or washing up, but on a small island, may affect the enjoyment of those who want to use the island to sit at.
“Although breakfast style seating is often synonymous with island units, you are certainly not restricted to this," continues Julie. Table height levels and bench seating can be effectively included into an island design to give you a hub for the whole family to use. Discussing your needs with your fitter and kitchen designer early on in the planning process is worthwhile, as they may be able to suggest solutions you haven’t considered."
Are you planning a new kitchen? Let us know! Tweet us @goodhomesmag or post a comment on our Facebook page. Or, tag us in your own kitchen photos on Instagram, using the hashtag #ThisGoodHome.