Small Kitchen Plans

Dreaming about a new kitchen? Use these guidelines to make your small kitchen efficient, functional, and comfortable.


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The traditional kitchen layout is based on the idea of creating a work triangle, with imaginary lines drawn between the sink, range, and refrigerator. But if you have a small kitchen, you might need to rethink the traditional work triangle. Here's how you can plan for greater efficiency and better use of the space you have.

Single Wall. If your kitchen is limited to one wall, here's how to make it work. This space-saving plan functions best when the sink is centered on the wall and flanked by the refrigerator and the cooktop or range. If possible, allow 4 feet of counter on each side of the sink to provide plenty of space for food prep and cleanup. Use all your wall space to max out storage, either with open shelving or cabinetry that goes to the ceiling.

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Two-Wall Galley. Parallel walls contain three workstations. This compact plan lets the cook move easily between areas, but traffic will interfere unless there is at least 4 feet of space between the counters. Ideally, position the sink and refrigerator on one wall and the cooktop on the other. A two-wall galley kitchen usually has windows on one side. You can create the illusion of more space with a mirrored backsplash.

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U Shape. This floor plan is most efficient with one workstation on each of the three walls, in the shape of the letter U. The primary cook can pivot from one station to another, while a second cook can share one leg of the triangle. The base of the U should be at least 8 feet long to help cooks feel comfortable.

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L Shape. With workstations on two adjacent walls, this plan adds an island. It works best in a 10x10-foot or larger room and makes space for a second cook. It should route traffic out of the L's crook.

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