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Kitchen Design

For most, choosing the cabinetry and surfaces is the most important – and fun – part of the new kitchen project. However, if you’ve not taken care to plan the right layout for your space it could result in a design that falls well below your expectations.

Of course, your first step on the road to a new kitchen should be to find a designer who takes note of your must-haves and wish-list and listens to what you want from your new kitchen. After all, it can be a long and often confusing process, so having someone who not only has the technical knowledge but that you trust to listen and take into account your individual needs is vital.

Of course a designer can only work with the space they are given and each room ‘layout’ has its own particular constraints. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just tiny spaces that take some thought, even the largest of rooms can be difficult to get right to ensure you’re not walking the length of the kitchen to put vegetable peelings in the recycling bin every time you prepare a family meal.

The one thing all layouts have in common – whether you have a compact single galley design or a large open-plan kitchen diner – is the working triangle. The working triangle is simply the space between the three main elements of any kitchen – the cooker and prep area, the fridge and the sink. When you move about the kitchen preparing meals, you move between these three elements regularly so positioning them practically and within easy reach of each other is the starting point of your successful design.

The perfect layout creates an open, equilateral triangle shape. This isn’t always possible – in a single galley design for instance – but as a general rule no one side of the triangle should be more than 2.5 metres or less that 1 metre to ensure there’s clearance for doors to open or for two people to works together with ease. As the fridge is generally the appliance most used by all the family, it’s a sensible idea to place that at the point of the triangle that’s closes to the living space. This also helps to prevent children coming into the main area of the kitchen every time they want a drink or a snack. The other two elements are up to you but remember to plan in space for pan drawers by cookers and site your dishwasher if you’re having one as close to the sink as you can.

There are five main kitchen layout shapes:

Oblong kitchens that have access at both ends usually require a galley layout – whether double or single – with units placed along one wall or facing walls.
While it might seem like design choices are limited with this configuration, it can work well if carefully planned and there’s often still plenty of storage space and appliances can at least be kept close together. In very narrow galleys, single wall designs are the best choice.

An Original kitchen with a galley design.

This is a practical layout for square or long narrow kitchens. The units are fitted along two adjacent sides of the room to create the shape that gives it its name. It provides good storage in a limited space and leaves the other walls free for access, making it ideal for smaller kitchens. It can work in larger rooms, too, with the free space given up to a dining table for instance. Due to its open design there’s plenty of room for more than one cook.

For the awkward space at the joining of the “L”, invest in one of our clever storage solutions such as a “magic corner”.

This L-shaped Shaker design combines oak and painted cabinets with a bright red glass splashback to add colour to the neutral palette.

Suitable for oblong shaped rooms with an exit at one end, this layout has units fitted along three walls to help maximize space. It can also be utilized in larger rooms that you want to divide off – with the layout created by placing units along one wall and the remaining arm used for a breakfast bar or peninsula. It’s a great design for keen cooks as keeps everything they need to prepare a meal close at hand.

Keeping the fridge outside of the "U" area leaves more space for the chef to cook peacefully without anyone walking through.

This style of kitchen is a more modern version of the kitchen table design of old and sees a run of units along one wall or in an L-shape around the corner, with the addition of a separate freestanding unit sitting at its centre. A popular contemporary design, the addition of an island unit not only creates extra space for food preparation and storage, it also has the potential for providing a relaxed dining area such as a breakfast bar. Because of the space necessary between the base units and any island – ideally at least 1.2 meters so doors can be opened with ease – this design is only suitable for larger rooms.

A bespoke island is central to this Arbor kitchen design.

Continuing to grow in popularity thanks to our love for multi-functioning kitchen dining and living rooms, this design is one often seen as the core of a new extension. Key features – cooker, fridge and sink – are often arranged along one wall, on in an L-shape, with the remaining space used either for a dining table or for a general living and relaxing area. It’s a good solution for those with young families as parents can keep an eye on children playing elsewhere in the room while they prepare meals.

Making the most of the natural lighting, this open plan Shaker kitchen creates a light and airy space for cooking and entertaining.

Visit your local Harvey Jones showroom to discuss your layout and plans with one of our designers. If you already have an idea for your project, book a complimentary design consultation to find out how to build on your project.  

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Our blog contains guides and tips to help with designing the kitchen and beyond. Browse some of the related articles below.


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