The Five Classic Layouts


Galley Kitchen

There is the Galley kitchen, which works if our kitchen is more like a corridor. It gives us two parallel workspaces for shelves, food prep.


galley kitchen

Studio Kitchen or One-wall Kitchen

The one-wall kitchen for those of us who are seriously space-deprived. Many of us live, or have lived, in studio apartments. Ideal for a solo cook, the one-wall studio kitchen accommodates our oven (if we have one), bench space, and sink.


Island Kitchen

The Island kitchen includes a section that may float and can be used as seating, cupboards, food prep. If the island is built-in, it can be plumbed and used for the sink or dishwasher.


L-Shaped Kitchen 

We have the L-shaped kitchen, where the kitchen wraps around two perpendicular walls.

The great thing is that L-shaped kitchens tend to be efficient at getting you to the zones you need.

There is also space in the middle where you can add a dining area.


Horseshoe Kitchen

Now we are in the lap of luxury as we have three wall spaces to work with. If you don’t have a third wall, an L-shaped kitchen with an island will give you the third work zone.

benches and sink

Designing for Liveability and Efficiency

The Food Triangle is an important concept when you are thinking about which design (Galley, Studio, Island, L-shape or Horseshoe) will work in your space. This is your work triangle.

For practicality, the Food Triangle is about making sure we have smooth access to three zones: food storage zone (the fridge), the washing zone (cleaning and food prep) and the cooking zone (oven and stove).

Our Food triangle should be just a few steps to each zone, but the length depends on your lifestyle and comfort. 

Think about a typical meal preparation involves. You get things out of the fridge. You wash and prepare vegetables, you scrape peelings into the compost. You start stir-frying on the stove. Somehow you need to get the food to the bench, and the prepared food to the stove. Do a few hypothetical walk-throughs with different zones. Is it too far from point A to point B? Is there an island bench in the way?

Imagine: the kids are crying. The out-laws are arriving in five. The more efficient we can get this space, the better the food triangle will perform. We can’t have trip hazards, jutting furniture or obstacles in our way.

This golden triangle will become a well-worn path sp careful consideration of basic processes will pay off in the long run.


Waste Dispatch Systems

If you’re the Systems Manager in your house, you know you’ll need to have handy access to food waste (the compost bin) and the rubbish and recycling station. You can have these built-in, or use containers that are easily brought in and out. Got kids? Put a colour coded sticker on each bin and have them learn to put waste in the right station. Foot-controlled pedals are fun, hey kids?



Ventilation is necessary above cooking spaces. We also need to get the heights or bench space and our sink right as well so that the kitchen is ergonomic. Also, remember that the fridge and oven are better not too close. The oven will cause the fridge to work harder.


Styles for your Kitchen 

Show Personality

open shelvesColour palettes are a very individual thing. The French provincial farmhouse is still highly desirable with its muted whites, duck-egg blue, and wood paneling.

Dark palettes are also worth considering. Matte finishings including tapware, handles and knobs look very en-clique.

A perennial favourite, the art deco kitchen, is still stylish. Go for a black-and-white palette and use pops of yellow, turquoise, blue or red to contrast. Steppe forms for tiling can make a signature look. It may not always be practical but it is not unusual to see a chandelier in a Balmain or southern highlands kitchen.



Marble with high contrast looks elegant and classic. It will retain a timeless appeal for many years.

Terrazzo is a composite material that looks amazing. It is set with small pieces of glimmering marble, quartz, granite or glass for a sparkling effect.  If you can picture it, a great example of terrazzo is the Hollywood Walk of Fame. There are companies in Sydney and around Australia who can produce terrazzo for you.

Timber is always classic, so sustainability is a guiding principle you’re in for a treat. Sustainable Plywood looks very funky and is not expensive as well as a good ethical choice. Project boards can be cut to form various shapes including curved structures. 

Splashbacks are back. Practical and used as a focal point. Burnished copper or eye-popping colour looks sensational. They are also practical and easy to clean.



A few open shelves also allow you to show off a few feature pieces. Cupboard doors on some will disguise food packaging and messy objects, but leaving a few shelves open will let you easily access your cookbooks. 

You can also display signature ceramics, art glass, jars of pulses, beautiful vases, or


The Heart of Our Home

Do you remember a few years ago new apartments were being released without kitchens? 

Thanks to Master Chef, that trend died fast.

Our kitchen is the heart of the home.  Kitchen Design is an opportunity to be creative, but also practical.

Whether it’s for ourselves, our cozy coupledom, or a busy Sydney family, our kitchen can be all things to all people. A place for cooking, conversation, sharing. And cleaning up afterward.


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