A Guide to Common Layouts for Solid Oak Kitchens
One of the most important parts of kitchen design is deciding on a layout that will suit your home and lifestyle. Whilst the colour and style of your favourite kitchen components are very important, it is the layout that determines how easy it is to cook, eat and socialise in solid oak kitchens.
At its most basic level, the layout addresses the position of appliances, cabinets, wooden worktops and other furniture in relation to existing windows and doors. New homes afford the luxury of choosing a layout that works best for you and your family, whilst a refurbished kitchen will be constrained by the existing shape of the room.
The most commonly used kitchen layouts are the one-wall, galley, U and L-shape designs, most of which can also be combined with a kitchen island for increased storage and counter space.
Most commonly found in smaller homes, a one-wall kitchen is typified by a run of wood cabinets along one wall of the kitchen.
This design works well when all appliances, cooking utensils and ingredients are kept within easy reach. Most commonly the oven hob will be in the centre of the kitchen, with sink at one end and refrigerator at the other. This design allows for plenty of usable worktop space either side of the hob for cooking, and to comply with safety regulations.
To save even more space and improve the kitchen’s aesthetic, in-built appliances such as fridges and freezers can be kept out of sight in the kitchen cabinets.
Often associated with narrower spaces, a galley kitchen is perhaps one of the most efficient of all kitchen designs; after all, the name comes from the small, fast-paced kitchens found on board a ship.
Many restaurant and commercial kitchens are also laid out in this fashion, with the cooks working in a long, narrow space between their work surface and range of appliances.
One drawback of a galley kitchen is that it may not offer enough space for a dining area and limits interaction with family and guests.
Galley kitchens don’t have to be fully enclosed, and can – as shown in the accompanying picture – be open on one side to bring in more light and create a better connection with the rest of the home.
The U-shaped kitchen layout is perhaps the most effective of all kitchen designs as it conforms closely to the ‘kitchen triangle’ layout of appliances, which is deemed to be the most efficient.
It is essentially a wider take on the galley-style kitchen but with one end closed to provide additional space for cabinets or an appliance, whilst the other end remains open to adjoining dining areas to provide a more social aspect.
Compact variants of a U-shaped kitchen are commonly found in smaller houses to maximise on available space, whilst in a larger home the U-shaped kitchen can benefit from the addition of a kitchen island to provide even more work surfaces and storage, or a focal point for dining and socialising.
Open-plan living has become increasingly widespread in modern houses and loft-style apartments, and with the decline of the formal dining room, L-shaped kitchens have become more popular.
The layout requires two perpendicular walls, and can be adapted for small apartments or much larger rooms with the addition of a kitchen island.
With an island, this layout’s open design is ideal for those who like to entertain, or for multiple cooks to work in tandem whilst still staying involved in conversation. Alternatively, a good old-fashioned table and chairs can provide a social dining space at a much lower price.