L-Shaped Kitchen Layout: 20+ Design Ideas and Tips (2024)

By: Andrew Saladino | L-Shaped Kitchen Layout: 20+ Design Ideas and Tips (1) 9 min

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The L-shaped kitchen layout is the most widely used residential kitchen layout — and for good reason. It has the ability to take a small or medium-sized kitchen and make it functional for multiple family members, regardless of your kitchen's dimensions.

There are multiple design options for L-shaped kitchens, so you can adjust the layout based on your needs. Read through our guide to discover efficient design tips for each L-shaped kitchen layout and how you can best implement them into your home

If you're interested in remodeling your kitchen to follow an L-shaped design, you might be interested in replacing your old cabinetry. If so, check out our extensive selection of ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets.

Classic L-Shaped Kitchen | Double L-Shaped Kitchen | L-Shaped Kitchen Design With Island | Broken L-Shaped Kitchen Layout

Designing an L-Shaped Kitchen Layout

If you're looking to maximize space in a small area without sacrificing efficiency, L-shaped kitchens are a great option. This ergonomic layout is formed by two adjacent walls or runs of cabinetry, often referred to as the "legs" of the L

L-shaped layouts are best for:

  • Improving traffic flow due to their open-concept design
  • Providing plenty of flexibility, no matter your room dimensions
  • Promoting efficient workflows with dedicated food prep, cooking, and cleaning stations
  • Combining cooking, living, and dining spaces for easy entertaining

L-shaped kitchens also provide plenty of options for a functional kitchen work triangle, or the space between your sink, stove, and refrigerator. A work triangle acts as a guide to help lay out your kitchen workspaces and traffic paths. A general rule of thumb is that each leg of the triangle should measure between 4 and 9 feet for optimal kitchen efficiency.

The major downfall of most L-shaped kitchen designs is that countertop space can be limited, so be sure to give yourself ample room for a prep area when selecting the placement of your appliances.

Classic L-Shaped Kitchen

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The classic L-shaped kitchen layout consists of two adjacent countertop legs that form a right triangle, with one typically longer than the other. In most cases, L-shaped kitchens utilize two walls at a right angle with countertops against each wall. However, the layout can also be formed with a countertop on one wall and the other countertop protruding outward, creating a peninsula perfect for a breakfast bar.

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Design Tips for Classic L-Shaped Kitchens

L-shaped layouts can be found in virtually any size or style of home, but you can use a few simple L-shaped kitchen ideas and tricks to help this floor plan work best in your space

  • Customize your work triangle: One of the most challenging aspects of L-shaped kitchens is where to place the work triangle. If you place your sink, fridge, and stovetop too far apart, walking back and forth between each station will only add more time and effort to your cooking routine. On the contrary, a small work triangle may lead to a cramped and congested workspace. When designing your layout, aim to have each side of the triangle measure between 4 and 9 feet.
  • Tuck away countertop appliances: You likely won't have a lot of countertop space to spare if opting for an L-shaped kitchen design. To maximize your work areas, consider installing a small appliance garage to house your toaster, blender, or coffee maker when not in use.
  • Opt for ceiling-height cabinets: Make the most of your storage space while simultaneously making your kitchen appear taller with wall cabinets that extend to the ceiling. Place your least-used items, such as seasonal serving ware, on the top shelves so your more important kitchenware is accessible below.
  • Organize your corner cabinets: L-shaped kitchens don't offer as much storage space as some other kitchen layouts, so utilizing all existing cabinet space is essential. Install a carousel unit or pullouts to improve the accessibility of your corner cabinets.
  • Create a faux "U" shape: Link your dining area to your kitchen by constructing a U-shaped layout with L-shaped banquette seating. Choose two benches or an L-shaped sofa, and place them directly next to the end of your cabinetry to form a "U." For a seamless design, match the upholstery to the color of your cabinets and dining table with the same material as your countertops.
  • Create cohesive work stations: Using the same cabinets, countertops, and hardware on both legs of the "L" not only creates a cohesive look, but will make your space seem larger, since your eye won't be drawn to any one particular spot.

Double L-Shaped Kitchen

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The double L-shaped kitchen design features a classic L-shape layout paired with an L-shaped kitchen island on the opposing side. This creates a rectangular shape with gaps for traffic flow. A double L-shaped layout works best in large kitchens that may need less of an open-concept design to maximize functionality.

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Design Tips for Double L-Shaped Kitchens

If you have room to spare, a double L-shaped kitchen layout presents plenty of opportunities for efficient work triangles, large prep areas, and workflows optimized for multiple cooks. Here are a few tips to help this large kitchen layout meet all your needs.

  • Keep walkways wide: You may be tempted to add as much countertop and storage space as possible to your kitchen design, but don't forget to take traffic paths into account. Kitchen walkways should be at least 42 inches wide for one cook or 48 inches wide for multiple cooks. If you don't leave enough space between your L-shaped layout and the island, even a large kitchen can start to feel cramped.
  • Install primary and secondary lighting: A double L-shaped kitchen layout will likely have multiple work areas on opposite sides of the kitchen. Illuminate your large space with both primary lighting and task lighting — such as recess lights — to ensure you're able to see what you're prepping, cooking, cleaning, or eating.
  • Highlight your island: Make your L-shaped island your kitchen's main focal point by accentuating it with eye-catching pendant lights, contrasting countertops, statement bar chairs, or colorful patterned tiles.
  • Try two-toned cabinets: Want to experiment with bold cabinet paint colors without overpowering your entire design? Two-toned kitchen cabinets are one of the latest kitchen design trends that feature contrasting cabinet colors to help add visual interest to your space. Use a dark cabinet color for your base cabinets or kitchen island to ground your space, while keeping your wall cabinets light to keep the room from feeling closed off.
  • Create multiple work triangles: A large kitchen layout means more opportunities to add not one, but two work triangles! Installing a secondary sink in your kitchen island allows you to double the workflows to benefit multiple chefs.
  • Maximize seating: If you have a large family or you're someone who loves to entertain, create a wrap-around bar by adding seating to both legs of your L-shaped island.
  • Add an island range: Channel hibachi-style dining with a kitchen island stovetop. Entertain family and friends with your stir-fry mastery and be part of the conversation while you prepare a meal.

L-Shaped Kitchen Layout With Island

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L-shaped kitchen layouts won't always work in large, open kitchens, but one way to make this layout more functional is by adding a kitchen island. An island offers even more cabinet and countertop space, plus an added seating area for quick meals and entertaining.

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Design Tips for L-Shaped Kitchens With Islands

Kitchen islands are one of the most versatile design elements for your kitchen. Paint it bold, choose luxurious countertops, dress it up with unique barstools and pendant lights—the possibilities are endless. Here are a few design tips we recommend for L-shaped kitchens with islands:

  • Get creative with color blocking: Make your kitchen island the center of attention by choosing a statement cabinet color that draws the eye. Navy blue and sage green, for example, are both trending colors that can complement multiple color schemes.
  • Create cozy bench seating: Add a bench to the back side of your island for a cozy take on bar seating. Because your guests won't be facing you, you'll have a bit more division between the cooking and dining area.
  • Add drama with waterfall countertops: Sleek stone waterfall countertops are the envy of the kitchen design world, and a stand-alone kitchen island is the best place to put this feature on display.
  • Stay flexible with a rolling island cart: Keep the open-concept floor plan and get the extra prep and storage space by opting for a moveable kitchen island or cart. These affordable stationary island alternatives are a great solution for small L-shaped kitchens or rental kitchens.
  • Install statement lighting: Highlighting the island itself isn't the only way to zone your breakfast bar. Creative pendant lights like Mid-Century paper lanterns or vintage barn fixtures will bring even more personality into your space.
  • Opt for a bar table in lieu of an island: Keep your layout looking open and spacious by choosing a large bar table instead of an island. This is a great solution if you don't necessarily need the extra storage space but would still like a casual eating and entertaining area.

Broken L-Shaped Kitchen Layout

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If you have multiple walkways through your kitchen area, a broken L-shaped kitchen might be the best choice for you. A broken L-shaped layout works around entry and exit-ways by cutting off counter space and cabinetry, then adding it to adjacent but disconnected walls. This layout still gives you the ability to have a well-spaced work triangle without disrupting the traffic flow in your kitchen.

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Design Tips for Broken L-Shaped Kitchen Layouts

There are a few important design considerations to take into account when planning a broken L-shaped kitchen layout. Keep your kitchen trendy and functional with these broken L-shaped kitchen layout ideas:

  • Keep workstations away from the door: Broken L-shaped kitchens have multiple traffic flows, so it's essential you keep your food prep and cooking stations as far from the door as possible. We suggest placing your prep and cooking stations against the same wall so you won't have to cross traffic paths with pots of boiling water or sharp knives.
  • Add a wall of cabinets: Accentuate the height of the doorway by adding floor-to-ceiling cabinets to one leg of the "L." You can also place your refrigerator against this wall.
  • Mix your countertop materials: Use the break in the "L" to zone your work areas with a variety of countertop materials. Butcher block and stone, marble and quartz, and black and white stone all pair well together and will add visual intrigue and contrast to your design.
  • Create distinct workstations: You can also use the broken "L" shape to create separate work areas for food preparation, cooking, and cleanup. This works especially well if you're planning on having multiple cooks in the kitchen.

Pros and Cons of L-Shaped Kitchens

L-shaped kitchens offer numerous benefits for homeowners looking to optimize a small to medium floor plan, but this layout does have its drawbacks. The best kitchen configuration for you will depend on the type of kitchen space you need, how you will use the kitchen, and more. Here are the pros and cons of L-shaped kitchens to help you pick the right kitchen layout for your space.

Pros of L-shaped Kitchens

L-shaped kitchens are one of the most popular kitchen layouts due to their versatility and functional floor plan. Some of the benefits you can expect from an L-shaped design include:

  • An optimal open-concept layout
  • Increased home value
  • Improved workflows with distinct prep, cooking, and cleaning areas
  • More efficient workflows for small L-shaped kitchens
  • The opportunity to add a kitchen island

Cons of L-shaped Kitchens

If you're working with a large space or plan to have multiple cooks working at a time, you may want to consider a different kitchen layout. Some of the drawbacks of L-shaped kitchens include:

  • Corner storage spaces can be challenging to access
  • Large work triangles may be too spread out in bigger kitchens
  • Single traffic flows may not be suitable for multiple cooks

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L-Shaped Kitchen Layout FAQs

Still wondering whether an L-shaped kitchen layout will work best in your space? We answered some of the most frequently asked questions to help you decide.

What is an L-shaped kitchen layout?

An L-shaped kitchen consists of two sides that come together at a right angle to form the letter "L," as the name suggests. Generally, this design features appliances on one leg of the "L" and a space for prep and storage on the other. An L-shaped kitchen floor plan is ergonomically designed to maximize storage, facilitate the work triangle, and make cooking, cleanup, and traffic as simple as possible in any size kitchen.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an L-shaped kitchen?

L-shaped kitchens are great for homeowners looking for an efficient open-concept layout with flexible work zones. This layout is ideal for smaller spaces, but large kitchens can benefit from an added kitchen island for even more prep space and storage.

However, L-shaped kitchens aren't always the best solution for your needs. They offer far less countertop and storage space than U- or G-shaped kitchens, and the corner base cabinets can be difficult to work with. This layout also makes it difficult for multiple chefs to work in the same space.

Where should the appliances go in an L-shaped kitchen?

Ideally, your fridge and your oven should be placed in the longest portion of the capital "L" shape. The remaining sink and dishwasher will share the shorter portion of the "L".

Where should a fridge be in an L-shaped kitchen?

The best position for your fridge in an L-shaped kitchen is on either end of the counters. Whether you place your fridge on the long or short end of the "L" is entirely up to you.

How do you design an L-shaped kitchen?

To design a classic L-shaped kitchen, locate the longest wall of your kitchen and the wall perpendicular to it. This is where your cabinets and appliances will go. Then use the tips for placing your appliances in the designs above to create a functional work triangle.

If you are looking for a kitchen layout that is best for an open floor plan, then an L-shaped kitchen is for you. If you are interested in more inspiration for your next kitchen remodel, check out our kitchen design ideas. We cover everything you need to know about remodeling your kitchen so that you can create the kitchen you've always dreamed of.

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