A Good Kitchen Layout

How To Do A Good Kitchen Layout – The Basics

Kitchen layout with island
Kitchen layout and design by Appleby Kitchens Johannesburg

A good kitchen design is one that fulfils all the functions you require of it, and at the same time is aesthetically pleasing. Once you have gathered ideas and established your priorities, you will need to decide on the layout of the kitchen, taking into account the basic work triangle as well as traffic flow through the room.

The Work Triangle

The key to any efficiently designed kitchen is its work triangle’, This is the logical inter-relationship of the cook’s three principal aids: the stove, the refrigerator and the sink, They should be sited so that you have access to each without having to take too many steps or circumvent obstacles in the process of fetching, preparing and cooking food, and of washing up, The three are positioned on the points of an imaginary triangle, which should be as compact as possible within the limits of free movement between the points.

Having established your triangle, the related components will virtually position themselves: utensil and dry food storage areas will be close to the stove; crockery and cleaning material storage areas will be around the sink, and work surfaces will be close to both.

Kitchen Shapes

These seem to be of infinite variety to the casual eye, but in fact there are just four basic shapes: the single-wall, the galley (or corridor), the L-shaped and the U-shaped.


Kitchen- ayout single wall & L shaped

The Single-Wall, or one-counter, is the only type of kitchen which cannot incorporate a work triangle. Preparing, cooking and washing up are all performed along one wall, which is an ideal arrangement for a small apartment, This is not its only application, however. You may indeed have plenty of available space but prefer to use most if it for, say, an open-plan configuration of cooking/eating or cooking/eating/sitting areas. The main drawback of this design is the difficulty in creating an efficient storage system. If the line is too short, you will not be able to squeeze in enough units and work surfaces. If it is too long, your work flow will be inefficient.

The L-Shaped Kitchen is exactly what its name suggests. The triangle is not quite as efficient here, but this is probably the best shape if you want a completely integrated eating area or like the idea of having an island work station. An island work station can be anything from a simple table – providing an additional working surface – to a complex bank comprising a hob, sink and eating counter, and so by definition is suitable only for the medium-sized to larger kitchen.

Kitchen layout galley & U shaped

The Galley or Corridor Kitchen – consisting of two parallel working areas – is an arrangement that allows for both a sensible work triangle and considerable flexibility when it comes to the room’s ancillary functions. You could, for example, make provision for an eating area beyond the work centre, or link the two by installing an eating counter between them.

The U-Shaped Kitchen, which has three working walls, is an excellent layout when space is at a premium. Here, the work triangle can be at its most compact with, again, the option of linking the eating area with the open end of the ‘U’.

About Penny

Penny Swift is a highly regarded journalist and author of books relating to homes and construction.

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  1. Brett Malherbe

    Hi I need some advice on placing a gas hob on island in the centre of a kitchen. what would the minimum space requirement be around the island. kitchen size is 5000 x 3000


  2. This is a space design issue, and it hinges on traffic flow. Rule of thumb would be 900 mm.

  3. Hi, I would like to know if extractor fans are mandatory above stoves and then whether cupboards are allowed at a higher distance above the stove if not. I have also seen new apartment designs overseas where they have microwaves above the stove, do these have special built in extractors of some sort? I would like to omit the extractor fan because the kitchen has a high ceiling and I would like to avoid having to install cables for this in the wall.

  4. No it isn’t – it is just mandatory for ventilation to meet the requirements of Part O of the NBR that covers lighting and ventilation. It states amongst other things: “ Where a kitchen contains an extraction facility for the purpose of extracting heat or vapour, such facility shall, where it is to be subjected to an atmosphere containing grease in suspension, be fitted with a means which will filter the air entering such facility to prevent such grease being carried into the system. Where such means cannot be fitted, an easily accessible trap or settling chamber shall be installed in the duct leading from such facility. Provision shall be made at every change in direction of such duct for easy inspection and for cleaning of the interior of the duct.
    “Any such extraction facility and the artificial ventilation system required therefor shall be constructed or lined throughout with a non-combustible material and shall not be connected to any other extraction facility or artificial ventilation system. The exhaust outlet shall be positioned above the roof line and constructed in such a way as to ensure that the exhaust plume from the facility is not entrained by natural forces to re-enter the building via any building opening or ventilation inlet.”

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