The best designs for kitchen layouts take into consideration how a kitchen is used on a daily basis and what arrangement of cabinets, appliances, and work areas will function most efficiently. Whether it's a new kitchen design or a kitchen remodel, how you design a kitchen layout will establish the foundation for all the other design elements that will go into the room.

The layout is the most important functional element of a kitchen.

Step 1

Determine the basic floor plan. Kitchen layouts typically fall into the following categories: • One wall kitchen — appliances and cabinets along one wall • Galley kitchen (a.k.a. corridor kitchen) — appliances and cabinets along two walls facing each other • L-shaped kitchen — wall cabinets and appliances form an "L" • U-shaped kitchen — wall cabinets and appliances form a "U" • Island kitchen — an L- or U-shaped kitchen with the addition of an island • Peninsula kitchen — one cabinet wall is open to another space

Step 2

Design the work triangle. Based on research in the 1950s, the most-used work areas in the kitchen are at the sink, stove, and refrigerator. The concept of a work triangle optimizes the flow between those work areas for the most efficiency — they shouldn't be too close together or too far apart.

Step 3

Decide on how many prep areas are needed. If multiple cooks will be using the space, design your kitchen with enough room for a second sink, and make sure you have extra room for chopping and dicing.

Step 4

Decide what other functions will take place in the kitchen. Today's kitchens are the busiest rooms in the house. In addition to cooking features, will you need a separate pantry, a home office, or a place to watch TV?

Step 5

Lay out the design on graph paper. Use manufacturer's specifications to make sure you have the correct measurements of all your appliances and cabinets. Also consider using kitchen design software. These programs include templates with basic designs, and you can add your own ideas to create the kitchen of your dreams. These programs also check for clearances and other architectural and building code essentials.