The efficient u-shape plan is versatile and usually puts one’s workstation on each of three walls. The pros of this are great storage and counter space on three sides that maximize efficiency but this is not the best plans for entertaining or for accommodating multiple cooks. Major traffic jams in the kitchen! Another thing to consider is you have to have the basic 8×8 foot space and anything less won’t provide the minimum 4 feet work space that is recommended for the center of the room. In a large kitchen for maximum efficiency, locate one workstation in a freestanding island.
The L-shape plan allows two workstations on one wall and the third on an adjacent wall. This layout is much more efficient concerning space than the U-shape plan especially if the main workstations are located close to the bend of the L. The L-shaped plan is not well suited for small kitchen spaces and you need to allow enough open counter space between the two workstations that share the same wall. This is at least four feet. Other things to consider is the arrangement of the workstations which are critical. The work needs to flow from the refrigerator to the sink and then to the stove cooktop and serving area. An ideal eating nook is the area opposite the bend of the L.
The island plan is a popular design because it features a freestanding workstation usually including the sink or stovetop. This is a wonderful plan for large kitchens where the work triangle exceeds the twenty-six foot rule that dictates that for maximum efficiency. Island plans are not well suited in kitchens where two work stations must be on opposite walls. The island is a convenient location for specialty countertops such as butcher block for chopping veggies or marble for rolling out those delectable desserts.
Another idea is a rolling island which can roll outside to your patio or deck when entertaining guest. When one end of the island is anchored to a wall or line of cabinets, this is called a peninsula plan. The peninsula kitchen packs all the versatility of island but does not require as much space. Like islands, the peninsula plan gives the cook a workstation and a view into another room rather than just toward a wall. After meal preparation, a peninsula can double as a serving buffet or bar.
The one wall plan is normally seen in smaller homes, vacation homes and apartments. This floor plan is definitely the most space saving but is least efficient for the cook. Normally there is a door at each end which translates into lots of through traffic. This can create quite a few problems as well as frustration for the cook. One wall kitchens work better when the sink is in the center beside the refrigerator and the stovetop. If you have the space, allow four feet of counter space on each side of the sink.