Building & Renovating

Expert Advice: Finalizing Your Kitchen’s Layout

Learn a few tips that can help you achieve an efficient and inviting space


Aside from being a special area where we whip up delicious meals, the kitchen is also the part of the house where action takes place—we love experimenting with different ingredients and honing our cooking skills. One of our readers has a 6m x 3m kitchen with an open layout. She plans to have an island to serve as breakfast nook but she needs help in determining the layout of her appliances and the proper placement of windows.

Whether you have a similar dilemma or you're planning a kitchen makeover, here are important tips to keep in mind:

Main photos from: Megan Brooke and Shades of Blue Interiors.

Choose the layout depending on what works for you.

Keep in mind your personal work pattern as this will help you decide on which of these to choose:  

Since you already have an idea of placing an island or nook in the middle of your kitchen, your layout options for the kitchen counters and cabinets will be narrowed down to an L-shaped or a U-shaped layout.

The L-shaped layout can accommodate a bigger island counter and will permit more clearance space (in between counters) for you to work around on.

Photo from Merillat.

The U-shaped layout, on the other hand, will provide you with more counter space.

Photo from Merillat.

In order to maximize your existing space, you may want to consider the G-shaped layout as well—where a smaller island (around 60-80cm wide) is connected to a U-shaped counter. The extension will give you additional counter space and can also double as your breakfast nook.

Place the windows where you later decide to locate the sink or on the wall of a free counter—probably beside the refrigerator.

Remember to follow standard measurements for counter widths and heights:

  • Typical measurements for kitchen counters are 60cm in width and 85cm height.
  • Keep the width of overhead cabinets around 30-35cm only.
  • The space in between your countertop and bottom of overhead cabinets should be around 60cm as well.

Photo from Merillat.

From the general layout, implement a work triangle to create an efficient kitchen. This is where an imaginary triangle is drawn to connect the three basic areas in your space—the sink, the cooker and the refrigerator. Ideally, your refrigerator should be closest to your sink and your sink closest to your cooker.

Position your refrigerator toward the corner of your space—this will work for whichever option you choose. Note that your sink and cooker should be adjacent to each other. The oven is typically placed under the cooker, but another option would be to put it in the island or G-counter (although this is only advisable for electric ovens, the gas type should still be under the cooker). From this, you can already derive the placement of your other appliances.

Photo from Megan Brooke.

To keep smaller appliances organized, you can create a full-height storage unit beside the refrigerator. It is ideal to put together big items in one area.

For your storage unit, you can customize the heights in between cabinet shelves to accommodate the specific sizes of your appliances.

Full louvered doors or a roll-up cabinet door can help hide your appliances as desired. On the other hand, you can also choose framed glass doors if you want them to be visible. Don’t forget to have outlets installed on each shelf inside this cabinet, as bringing the appliances out to use will defeat the purpose of keeping them together in the first place.

Photo from Shades of Blue Interiors.

Interior designer Vera Villarosa-Orila is an alumna of the University of the Philippines and is one of the go-to designers for the Real Living Makeovers. You can get in touch with her through e-mail: vera.villarosa[at]



Do you have questions or concerns about your home's layout, furniture, and color scheme? Send your questions to reallivingonline[at] with the subject: Expert Advice. We might answer and feature your queries online.

More on

6 Basic Kitchen Layouts

101: 6 Secrets of a Smart and Efficient Kitchen

101: Choosing Colors for the Kitchen


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