Make sense of floor plan lingo.
When talking to a designer, you'll likely hear the phrase "work triangle," which is the area defined by the locations of the refrigerator, the range or cooktop, and the sink. If you keep the triangle compact, you'll limit travel time between these key appliances. This concept is becoming more flexible as design guidelines evolve. The labels for layouts will be fairly consistent:
The L-shape kitchen, the most common plan, requires less space and offers more flexibility in the location of workstations. This plan works well when the kitchen adjoins a casual space.
Islands tend to work best in L-shape kitchens that measure at least 10x10 feet and open to another area. Equip the island with a cooktop or sink, or outfit it with barstools for casual dining.
Pay particular attention to your work triangle here; if the appliances are too close together, you'll be hemmed in at the corner. Consider a half-wall to open the room to an adjacent space.
With this "corridor" plan, try to consolidate counter space near the appliances used most often. To create storage space, consider a bank of base cabinets or a pullout tower pantry. Use restraint -- it's easy to close this plan in.