How to plan a perfect kitchen layout

A kitchen
Plan ahead: Careful planning can add a sense of space. Below an example of the ‘golden triangle’ Credit: Jack Trench

This article was first published in April, 2013. It has been updated for the current season.

When embarking on a new kitchen the first and most important step is to plan the layout in a way that makes the best use of the space.

Though every home is different, there are four or five classic layouts, each with their own benefits: single and double galley kitchens with one or two continuous runs of cabinets; L-shaped kitchens that are built into a corner and offering optimum counter space; and U-shaped kitchens, which surround the cook on three sides with everything within easy reach.

Think carefully about how you plan on using your kitchen. Over the past few years one of the most common requests we have had is to create a multi-use space where clients can cook, eat, open the post, entertain and help with the children’s homework. It’s a reflection of the way many of us are choosing to live these days. Dining rooms are increasingly redundant, sacrificed to create a single, larger space where people can gather.

An island can be the ultimate multitasking space Credit: Jack Trench

Central to this is the installation of an island (or a peninsula), the ultimate multitasking space.

A work zone and social hub, the island provides additional work surfaces and can also include a breakfast bar. You can make it work even harder by incorporating sockets for charging phones and laptops and by adding integrated coat pegs under the lip of the counter.

You could also add wine storage or bookshelves. In the case shown above, the extra storage space gained by the island allowed us the luxury of not having wall cabinets so that the space remained light and open. And with the new generation of extractors (integrated into the ceiling as shown above, for example) there is no reason not to have your hob located on the island itself. The island can also delineate the kitchen zone without cutting it off, a plus if you like to socialise with guests while cooking.

Sight lines are another important layout consideration, particularly when designing for an open-plan space. The sight lines from key views and entrances should be kept as clear as possible so that the room feels open and spacious.

Keep the bin within easy reach of the hob zone Credit: Jack Trench

Regardless of the layout, there are some key things that should be a part of everyone’s plan. Keep the dishwasher near the sink, and try to keep the bin within easy reach of the dishwasher, the food preparation area and the hob zone. This is all part of the ‘golden triangle’ (left), a three-point rule for the placement of the sink, fridge and cooking areas. This is a good rule of thumb and is simply about keeping the most-used areas of the kitchen in close enough proximity to each other.

Finally, plan down to the last detail: utensil drawers, pots and pans stored next to the hob and oven, knife block and drawers adjacent to food preparation areas and, most important of all, measure all your crockery and tableware – you’ll want them to fit perfectly in your new kitchen.

Houghton French Grey Wine Rack

£399, The Cotswold Company

Save space by incorporating a wine rack into your kitchen island or a smaller standalone drawer unit.

This wine rack from The Cotswold Company has room for eighteen bottles and features a drawer with a polished steel cup handle suitable for all wine related accessories such as corkscrews, openers, foils, and cutters.

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Majolica Dinnerware

from £17, Heals

The crockery use choose is just as integral to your kitchen design as the appliances and furniture. Make sure to measure all crockery and tableware so it will fit perfectly.

This dinnerware collection has been handcrafted and painted in Cape Town and consists of bowls, jugs, mugs, and plates.

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Marseille Distressed Granite Top Kitchen Island

£749, The Cotswold Company

An island can add an additional work surface to your kitchen and can be a great way of getting extra storage space, or even an area for charging electrical devices.

This distressed kitchen island comes with enough drawers and cupboards for all your cutlery and crockery, and an open shelf space complete with a rattan basket ideal for tea towels. It also features a wine rack capable of storing up to 12 bottles.

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Bramante Kitchen Bar


Not only can an island provide additional space for you to work with, so could a breakfast bar - especially one that can be removed when not in use, keeping your kitchen clutter free.

The stylish, ultra sleek bar from doubles up as both a storage unit and a breakfast bar that can be enjoyed in any room of the house.

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Joseph Joseph LockBlock 6 Piece Knife Block Set

£150, Amara

To make the best use of your kitchen space, where you place everything is key. Keep your knife block close to food preparation areas for easy access.

This Joseph Joseph knife block comes with six high quality knives (a paring knife, serrated knife, santoku knife, chef's knife, bread knife, and a carving knife) has been specially designed, for your peace of mind, to make sure children can't get into it.

Store pots and pans as close as possible to the hob and oven as you can get either hidden away in cupboards of out on display with a rail.

Available in brass, matt nickel, or blackened bronze, this Rowen & Wren hook rail can be used for hanging pots and pans just above the job for easy access at all times.

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