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Which Kind is Your Kitchen?

Whatever shape and size your kitchen may be, most layouts follow a few basic arrangements. Over the years, these designs have proved to be efficient and workable.

An L-shaped kitchen comprises counter space on two adjoining walls that are perpendicular to each other. Usually, the long leg accommodates two of the three basic needs (stove, refrigerator, sink) while the short leg holds the other. No traffic lanes flow through the work area.


U-shaped kitchens involve work space on three adjoining walls, two parallel walls that are perpendicular to a third. There are no traffic lanes flowing through the work area. A huge kitchen may have provisions for a cooktop at each end.


A G-shaped kitchen is built exactly like a U-shaped kitchen. The only difference is an additional elongated partial wall or peninsula, which kind of separates the work area from an adjoining breakfast area or family room. This kind of kitchen is particularly suitable if two cooks are going to be sharing the workspace.


Galley-shaped kitchens, the most compact kitchens, could have a single galley or comprise two-way galleys. Sometimes called step-saver kitchens, they accommodate the stove and sink on one wall, and house the refrigerator on the opposite one.


In a single galley, all appliances and storage is on one wall. The walkway in between is narrow (about 36 inches to 40 inches, at least) and care should be taken to ensure that this main traffic lane is not disrupted.


A kitchen can also be designed around a kitchen island or a peninsula. In the former, a freestanding island provides extra counter space that can function as an overflow-surface for serving meals. The latter is named for the free-standing work surface jutting out from the side wall and surrounded by space on three sides.


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