Most Functional Kitchen Layout

Apart from being the most utilized area in the house, the kitchen is the heart and hub of any home! It’s where families share the warmth of togetherness and prepare and enjoy their daily comfort food. This essential space should be designed with much care and thought about which kitchen layout is the most functional.

An L-shaped layout is the most functional kitchen design, with enough counter space and storage. The design includes an effective triangular sink, refrigerator, and cooktop layout, which is ergonomically correct to create an efficient workflow.

The L-shaped beauty, simplicity, and adaptability make it the layout of choice for many modern kitchens. In this article, find out why this layout is so functional and how to fit the kitchen elements into an L-shape design!

Which Kitchen Layout Is The Most Functional?

The L-shaped kitchen is the most functional and most popular design for kitchens! This shape is the most ergonomically correct as it reduces the walking time between kitchen stations to create an efficient workflow. Stylish, classic, and highly flexible, the L-shape can be adjusted to fit many sizes and kitchen styles.

Which Kitchen Layout Is The Most Functional?
Which Kitchen Layout Is The Most Functional?

What Makes A Functional Kitchen?

A functional kitchen has sufficient counter space, storage, and a practical layout, including the kitchen triangle. There should be enough space between cabinets and free-standing appliances to create a free-flowing and comfortable working area. The L-shape layout ticks all these boxes.

What Are The 3 Elements Of The L-Shaped Kitchen?

Three elements that impact the functionality of a kitchen are the cabinets, appliances, and worktops. These elements can be slotted into the layout to ensure a practical area with free-flowing traffic in an L-shaped kitchen.

  • Cabinet space can be utilized in all areas of the L-shape, even in the corner space, and if an island is added, it will add extra storage space.
  • Appliances are free-standing or built-into cabinets, such as refrigerators, range cookers, and dishwashers.
  • Worktops are designed from granite, marble, quartz, and wood, which are durable and easy to clean. Consider materials that don’t chip easily and are heat resistant.

What Is The Layout Of An L-Shape Kitchen?

What Is The Layout Of An L-Shape Kitchen

In an L-shape (like the letter L), the cabinets and appliances are installed along two right-angled walls with an open area in the center. The efficient and classical kitchen triangle, arranging the refrigerator, stove, and sink in a 3-point shape, forms part of the L-shape layout.

An L-shaped kitchen is tucked into corners with two open ends allowing for different entries and exits. The design allows traffic to flow freely through the room for more space to move when preparing meals.

The standard layout of the L-shape kitchen consists of the following:

  • Two sides (legs) of base cabinets and countertops 
  • One leg is longer than the other, providing the most counter space.
  • The shorter leg has a counter run with 1 or 2 appliances, one fixture (wall oven), and one appliance (refrigerator).
  • A minimum clearance aisle in front of the two legs of base cabinets is 3’6″ (1.07m).

If the room is large enough, a center island, either rectangular or square, can be added for increased workspace, dining area, and storage, depending on the room’s size and shape.

Fitting an L-Shaped Kitchen Into Different Wall Lengths

Fitting an L-Shaped Kitchen Into Different Wall Lengths

The best fit for kitchens with different wall lengths is to place tall cabinets on the shorter L-shape leg, which could include a built-in fridge-freezer or house an oven. Place the tall cabinets far from the window to avoid blocking the natural light.  

The sink and cooktop are fitted into the longer leg, with the cooktop placed on the far end of the leg and not in the corner to allow prep space on either side. If the window is above the shorter leg’s cabinets, reverse this layout.

Where To Position Wall Cabinets In A L-Shape Kitchen?

Upper cabinets are usually placed on the longer leg as there is more wall space. This layout, however, depends on the position of the window. Add floating shelves or glass front doors to cabinets in the corner and onto the shorter leg to create an open feel. It allows condiments and glassware to reach the cooktop below easily.

Where To Place The Sink And Cook Top In An L-Shape Kitchen?

Placing the cooktop and sink on the different legs of the L-shape will give you more countertop space.   This layout distinguishes between the wash and cooking zone for functional and more efficient use of space.

Placing the sink below a window will give you a view of the outside area while doing the dishes, maximizing the use of this asset. Find a space for the sink first, then place the other two triangle work zones, the cooktop, and refrigerator, in their positions. Make the distance and access between these work zones ergonomically comfortable.

Where Does The Refrigerator Fit In A L-Shape Kitchen?

Where Does The Refrigerator Fit In A L-Shape Kitchen

The refrigerator is usually placed towards the end of one of the L-shape legs, be sure to leave enough room for door clearance. The refrigerator should be accessible to other family members without walking through the main cooking area while preparing meals.

Why Include An Island Into An L-Shape Kitchen?

If the kitchen area is large enough, an island can be added to house the cooktop or sink, leaving more counter space on the two legs. In this way, the island improves the balance of the working triangle. The island could also accommodate some seating space for a breakfast bar or small dining area at the end farthest from the cooktop or sink.

Why Include An Island Into An L-Shape Kitchen

Install lower cabinets and drawers on both sides (depending on the island’s width) or one side of the island for additional storage space.  

Position the island for convenience and ease of work, not too close or far from major appliances, such as wall ovens or dishwashers. Be mindful not to block the areas before refrigerators and other fixtures.

How To Include A Dining Area In An L-Shape Design?

If the kitchen area is not large enough for an island, you can add a small table and four chairs in the center area of the L kitchen. The table can be used for extra workspace if needed.

What Size Kitchens Fit An L-Shape Design?

The L-shape layout can be adjusted to fit most sizes and shapes of kitchen areas. Here are a few examples of kitchen sizes and how to fit the L-shape layout:

How To Fit L-Shape In Apartment Size Kitchens

Apartment kitchens are usually small and narrow, with doors on both ends, so the kitchen fixtures are confined to wall space. Fit the L-shape by installing the drainboard sink with an attached apron tightly fitted into the corner.  

This layout will free up extra space for a small countertop section on the short leg. Adding some open shelving at the end of the leg will give a spacious feel to narrow kitchens.

How To Fit An L-Shape In An Open Floor Plan Living Area

You can include a partition in an open-plan living area to separate the living from the dining space. A small L-shaped kitchen can be fitted in the dining area. Depending on the size of the area, a small island can be included for extra workspace and storage.


The most functional layout for kitchens is the L-shape design.   This layout ergonomically fits the cabinets, sink, and cooktop into the kitchen triangle for an efficient workflow. The L-shape layout provides enough countertop space, and tall upper and lower cabinets can be installed for ample storage.

The L-shape can be adjusted to fit most sizes and shapes of kitchen areas and is most popular for its classic and stylish design.


Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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