Pros and Cons of Basic Layouts for Kitchen Countertops

kitchen countertops

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Kitchen layouts are an important consideration when planning a remodel. In most cases, the layout will depend on the dimensions of the space, but it could also be a matter of preference. Kitchen countertops are a major factor in the choice of layout, as the workspace accounts for much of the function in the kitchen.  Choosing the layout is thus primarily the configuration of the kitchen countertops.

If you are aiming to change the layout of your kitchen, or planning a new kitchen, you need to know a bit about the different basic layouts. Here are the pros and cons of basic layouts for kitchen countertops.

One wall

One wall

The most common kitchen layout for smaller homes is the one wall layout, where all the kitchen countertops, cabinets, appliances, and sink are along one wall of the room. It also works for larger kitchens, especially if you have an open space layout.


  • Workflow is unrestricted
  • Space efficient as there are no corners and barriers
  • Simple design, easy construction
  • Cost-effective linear configuration for plumbing, electrical, and gas pipes
  • Ideal for open space layouts


  • Tends to limit workspace and countertops
  • Incompatible with the kitchen triangle
  • Restricts seating that does not compromise the workspace
  • Kitchen islands are not possible   


galley kitchen

The galley-type layout, also known as corridor style, is a kitchen design derived from galley kitchens commonly found in ships. It makes the best use of a confined and narrow space typical in ships. In many cases, it is the best and often only layout possible in modern apartments and condominiums.

This layout involves placing kitchen countertops, cabinets, and appliances along one of two walls facing each other, open on either one or both ends. In one-ended galley kitchens, there may or may not be a door.


  • Space efficient in terms of workspace and storage
  • Utilizes the kitchen triangle
  • Easy access to all areas of the kitchen


  • Works best with just one person at a time due to narrowness of the space
  • Thruway from one area to another in the home can be difficult
  • One-ended layouts often result in dead space
  • Seating areas are unlikely
  • Keeping any appliance or cabinet door open may result in injury

L Shape

L-shaped kitchen

The L-shape layout is the most common design for residential kitchens. Often found in one corner of the home, it places kitchen cabinets, countertops, and appliances along two walls perpendicular to each other, forming the L-shape. This is usually open-ended in newer homes, and boxed in older ones. In either case, everything you need in the kitchen is along those two walls, unless you also have a kitchen island. The L-shape layout is the default for many 10×10 kitchen remodeling package.


  • Classic layout for a kitchen triangle
  • Maximizes space for countertops
  • Kitchen islands possible for addition workspace and storage
  • Seating area possible without compromising workspace


  • Refrigerator may be farther to the cook top than desirable in larger kitchens
  • Corners are usually dead spaces, requiring special accommodations to make cabinets and drawers accessible

Double L

double L kitchen

Older and larger homes often have a closed area for the kitchen, and have a double L layout. This involves using the four walls of the room to house the various elements of the kitchen, typically with kitchen countertops in at least some part of each wall. It may have a full kitchen island, although this is more common in an open space layout. In some cases, a kitchen countertop bends to form a smaller L within the confines of the larger L.


  • Kitchen countertops and cabinets are usually ample as all four walls are potential hosts for them
  • Comfortable for multiple users, depending on the area of the kitchen


  • Requires a large space for foot traffic
  • Entails planning for and setting up multiple outlets, plumbing, and other utility accommodations

U Shape

U-shaped kitchen

The U Shape kitchen is a wider, one-ended galley kitchen, with the closed end able to accommodate an additional kitchen countertop and cabinets. In some cases, the closed end serves as the pantry or utility closet, although this would disable the use of a kitchen work triangle. The open end is one-way access to the room.


  • Typically compatible with a kitchen work triangle
  • Allows for added workspace and storage


  • Not enough width to accommodate a kitchen island and still maintain the recommended 48 inches of aisle space
  • Seating area is awkward


While some of these kitchen layouts may not be possible for some spaces, these basic kitchen layouts make sense in most cases. One of them is bound to be ideal for your needs, especially when it comes to kitchen countertops. If you are not sure which one that is, ask professional countertop specialists for advice. Granite ASAP is your best bet in the state of Virginia, including the cities of Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, Fairfax, Chantilly, Herndon, Centreville, Tysons, and Washington DC.

We carry a wide range of natural stone slabs as well as top brands of engineered quartz in the country. Over 100 colors of granite and marble slabs are available for inspection at our Chantilly, Virginia showroom. If you prefer engineered quartz, we can offer you products from the Cambria, Caesarstone, Silestone, and MSI brands, each one carrying the manufacturer’s warranty. You can choose what you want and we will deliver it ASAP!

Feel free to ask any questions over the phone, or get in touch using our contact form. We offer free estimates and quotes for any of your kitchen remodeling or bathroom remodeling needs.