Kitchen Cabinets Layout: A Guide to a Successful Project

In the kitchen remodel process, the layout comes before the design. The layout is a “bird’s-eye view” of what the kitchen will look like. This involves “how much” cabinetry your kitchen will have, and which walls in the kitchen will get cabinetry.


The layout will also identify if there will be an island or a peninsula, cabinetry for a coffee/beverage area, and any pantry cabinetry. If any walls, door openings, or windows are changing that will be shown on the kitchen layout.

Factors to Consider Before Planning a Kitchen Cabinet Layout

Think about how you currently use your kitchen and how it could work better for your lifestyle. Would a larger kitchen island serve as a family gathering spot or dining area? Should your layout incorporate space for a second oven or a work space for all the baking you do? Would a wet bar area with a second sink make entertaining easier?


Begin by sketching out your current cabinet setup and envisioning the layout you want. This step is vital in our 6-step process, particularly during the budgeting phase.


Why does it matter? Well, the layout directly impacts the amount of cabinetry needed, where it’ll go along the walls, and whether you’ll add an island, peninsula, or extra storage like a beverage area or pantry. These factors are pivotal to accurately budget your kitchen project.

Various Kitchen Layout Ideas

Throughout our 25+ years in business, our designers have experience designing a diverse range of kitchen cabinet layouts. Among the most prevalent designs are the L-shaped, Island Centered, Galley, Peninsula, and U-shaped layouts.

L-Shaped Kitchen Layout

L-Shaped kitchen layouts are one of the most common. This layout features countertops and cabinets arranged in an L-shape, maximizing your corner space and providing an ample work area.


L-Shaped kitchens offer good traffic flow and is suitable for both small and large kitchens.

U-Shaped Kitchen Layout

The U-Shaped kitchen layout consists of cabinets and appliances arranged in a U-shape, surrounding the cook on three sides. It provides plenty of storage and counter space.


This shape may overwhelm smaller spaces but is ideal for larger kitchens or those that require multiple workstations.

Island Centered Layout

The island centered kitchen layout incorporates a freestanding or built-in island in the center of the kitchen.


It adds extra workspace and storage, and often serves as a dining or social gathering area for the family! It works well in open-concept spaces or larger kitchens. The vast majority of kitchen designs we work on include an island!

Peninsula Kitchen Layout

Similar to the island layout, the peninsula kitchen layout involves extending a countertop and cabinetry from a wall, creating an additional workspace, storage area, or seating area.


It is a great option for those who want the benefits of an island, but have kitchens with limited space. The Peninsula layout is also great for defining separate zones in an open floor plan and separating the kitchen workspace from a lounging space.

Galley Kitchen Layout

The galley kitchen layout has two parallel work areas with countertops and cabinetry, and a corridor in between.


This design makes efficient use of the space and creates a streamlined workflow, making it popular for smaller kitchens.

Steps for Laying Out Your New Kitchen

Kitchen Measurements

The first step in choosing a cabinet layout for your kitchen is to measure your space. You will want to work with a contractor if you are making any changes to your layout such as removing walls, changing doors or windows, or changing any opening as the measurements for your space could change. 


A contractor can help measure your kitchen and confirm whether desired changes to any doors, walls, windows, ceilings, structural beams, plumbing, electrical, and flooring are possible. Once you’ve secured your contractor, the Dean Cabinetry team will create your layout. If you choose to not work with a contractor, we will create a layout based solely on your existing measurements.

Creating the Kitchen Triangle

Once measurements are solidified, you will want to consider the placement of different kitchen elements and how it best suits your lifestyle. The “kitchen triangle” is commonly used to create a functional kitchen layout.


It describes the relationship of the areas in your kitchen that will receive the majority of your focused attention: the sink, the stove, and the refrigerator.


Each length of the triangle represents a flow of traffic from one appliance to another. Ideally, the length of each leg of the triangle is 4-9 feet long, and the sum distance 13-26 feet.


An ideal flow may involve an individual rotating between cooking at the stove, prepping food at the sink and the surrounding counter space, and gathering supplies from the refrigerator.


This style is meant to make preparation and cooking easier. It helps to minimize the walking distance between the essential appliances.

Work Zones

Alternatively to the kitchen triangle, work zones are another way of planning your layout that involves grouping together cabinets and appliances that will be used for similar purposes.


For example, a preparation zone may include drawers for knives, peelers, other cutlery, a large counter space, and trash. The cleaning/dish zone may include the sink, dishwasher, and cabinet storage for plates, bowls, cups, mugs, silverware, and other eating utensils.


Another zone could include a wet bar and storage space for entertainment purposes. This could include items such as paper plates, plastic cups, alcohol, mixing tools, and other party supplies. 

Choosing Appliances

Another step in laying out your kitchen is choosing your appliances. You will want to decide on appliances early in the process, so their placement and dimensions can be accurately incorporated into your layout.


For example, if you are upgrading your fridge, its dimensions may change from your current fridge, leaving more or less room for adjacent cabinetry.


Whether you have a U-shaped kitchen, a Galley Kitchen, or anything in between, the experienced team at Dean Cabinetry can work through every consideration with you to create the perfect layout for your budget and lifestyle.

Choosing the Right Cabinet Style and Material

Once we’ve nailed down your kitchen layout during the Budget phase, your Dean Cabinetry kitchen designer will team up with you to select the perfect cabinet style and materials that fit your budget.


Cabinet Construction: There are two main types of cabinet construction – framed and frameless.


  • Framed Cabinets: These have a frame around the front edges of the cabinet box, offering extra support and stability. Doors are attached to the frame, and you can see the hinges when the cabinet is closed.
  • Frameless Cabinets: These lack a face frame, with doors directly attached to the cabinet box. They provide a modern, streamlined look and full access to the interior space.

Cabinet Door Styles: Choose a door style that suits your taste and kitchen vibe. Here are a few popular options:


  • Shaker Cabinets: Clean, minimalist design with a five-piece door and a recessed center panel. Versatile for various kitchen styles.
  • Flat Panel Cabinets: Sleek and simple appearance with a single, flat panel. Ideal for modern and minimalist kitchens.
  • Raised Panel Cabinets: Feature a raised center panel surrounded by a frame, adding depth for a traditional or formal look.
  • Glass Front Cabinets: Doors with glass panels, perfect for displaying decorative items and creating an elegant, open feel.

Materials for Doors and Drawer Fronts: Consider the durability and aesthetics of different materials:


  • Solid Hardwood: Durable for a lifetime of use, with species like red oak, maple, cherry, walnut, and more. Ideal for stain finishes that showcase the wood grain.
  • Painted Cabinetry: Offers flexibility with materials such as plywood panel, MDF panel, and decorative laminate veneer.

Explore more about Cabinet Door Styles, Cabinet Wood Options, Shaker Kitchen Cabinets, and Victorian Kitchen Designs to find the perfect fit for your dream kitchen.

Cabinet Installation: Tips and Best Practices

A member of our Dean Cabinetry installation team will reach out to schedule your cabinet installation 4–5 weeks out.


There are a few things to keep in mind prior to installation.


  1. Cabinet installation should take place before the final coat on the floors and the final coat of paint. We do our best to avoid scuff marks made in the drywall and on the floor, but they sometimes happen and should be prepared for during installation.
  2. Appliances cannot be in the space during your cabinet installation. Appliances take up a significant amount of space and can impede the cabinetry installation process or get damaged.
  3. Have your cabinetry hardware such as knobs and pulls on-site. Cabinet hardware is the finishing touch of your cabinetry.
  4. You must be on-site during the later part of your cabinetry installation to choose the locations for your hardware and review each cabinet with your installer. We will create a Punch List. The Punch List is for defective or incomplete items that we will return to fix.

Cabinet Accessories and Hardware

The final piece of your kitchen cabinetry is the hardware, or the knobs and pulls on your cabinets. While style choices like cabinet hardware don’t need to be solidified in your kitchen layout, it is an important stylistic element that ties your kitchen together.


The goal of cabinet hardware is to coordinate with your kitchen, be comfortable to use, and enhance the overall look you are trying to create. The function of cabinet hardware involves how well you are able to “grab” and open one of your cabinet doors or drawers using the hardware you’ve chosen.


You will want to consider knob vs. pull, the size of the knob and/or pull, one or two pieces on a drawer, the location of where the hardware is installed, and comfort, including size and shape.

Choosing the Right Professional for Your Kitchen Cabinet Project

Whether you are looking for kitchen layout ideas or have a complete vision in your mind, the team at Dean Cabinetry has the expertise to guide you smoothly through your kitchen project. We have worked with every kitchen layout imaginable, L-shaped, U-shaped, island-centered, peninsula, galley, and a variety of unique configurations.


Our goal is to create your dream kitchen within your budget while guiding you seamlessly throughout the process. We can’t wait to talk to you about your kitchen ideas!

Ready to Design Your New Kitchen Layout?