Have you always dreamed of the perfect kitchen, but you don’t have that enormous open-concept, catalog-ready space to work with? The good news is there are many design solutions that can make a U-shaped, L-shaped, or galley-style kitchen functional and beautiful.
With a smart layout and a creative design, your kitchen can work for you and feel cozy and elegant at the same time!
Here are a few design ideas to help you get the most out of your kitchen layout:
1. Skip the Big, Bulky Island
Kitchen islands have become a staple of kitchen design and for good reason! They give you extra counter space, extra storage, and sometimes a place to eat in your kitchen. The problem is that big, built-in islands tend to take up space and can make a small kitchen feel even smaller.
Luckily, there are ways to get the benefits of an island without filling up your whole space, and many of them offer more flexibility and uniqueness than a traditional large island.
Choosing a peninsula design rather than an island saves some space while still providing extra storage and even an eating area. If you have limited space, cart-style, drop-leaf, and reclaimed-furniture islands also provide similar benefits to traditional kitchen islands, but typically don’t take up as much space. They can also add a cozy, cottage-like feel that’s difficult to achieve in larger spaces.
2. Opt for Open Shelving or Glass Cabinet Doors
If you have limited space or a lack of natural light, full cabinets—especially in a dark color—can make your kitchen feel closed-in and claustrophobic. Avoid this by choosing open shelves or glass doors for your upper cabinetry, which instantly makes your kitchen feel more open, homey, and fresh.
Open shelving also allows you to do more with your kitchen walls. You can extend tiles or stone all the way to the ceiling, or select a bright paint color or patterned wallpaper for a unique look.
3. Take Advantage of Space-Saving Solutions
One of the best ways to optimize your kitchen’s layout is to think of every nook and cranny in your space as usable. That little drawer under your oven? Those awkward corner cabinets? The open space above your island? All of these areas can either be wasted space or unique design opportunities.
There are endless smart and practical ways to save space in your kitchen without compromising design. Here are a few ideas:
- Optimize your storage space with creative cabinet designs, like deep drawers, lazy susans, pull-out pantries, and spice drawers.
- Use your island, peninsula, or other countertop space for cooking prep, eat-in dining, and to serve buffet-style dinners. Choose backless stools that you can tuck underneath your counters when they’re not being used.
- Save space in your cabinets by including a hanging pot rack.
- Keep your countertops clear with a magnetic knife strip and a built-in microwave over your range.
- Include a built-in nook or window seat with benches that double as extra storage.
4. Extend Cabinets up to the Ceiling
Standard kitchen cabinetry typically leaves open space at the top. Although this can offer a light and airy feeling, it wastes usable space. Particularly in smaller L-shaped and galley kitchens, this space is valuable!
Cabinets that extend all the way up to the ceiling can also create an elegant, sophisticated aesthetic and draw the eye to vertical lines and ceiling details like recessed lighting, moulding, overhead beams, or pot racks.
5. Remember, It’s Your Kitchen
At the end of the day, it’s pretty simple. The best kitchen layout and design for you is the one that works for your individual needs and lifestyle.
Does everyone in your busy family all need to eat breakfast quickly before work or school? Focus on organizing your kitchen around seating and counter space. Are you a master chef? Choose top-of-the-line appliances and make sure you have convenient storage space for all your pots, pans, utensils, and gadgets.
Prioritize the things that are important to you and make those the centerpieces of your kitchen layout. That way, whether you have a large U-shaped kitchen or a small galley, your space will be designed for you.
Looking for ways to optimize your kitchen’s layout through smart design choices?
With a team that combines the knowledge and experience of a skilled general contractor and award-winning interior designer, we know how to create beautiful, functional design solutions that are tailored specifically to you and your home. Whether you’re remodeling your kitchen or your entire home, we’re here to help.