If your home’s kitchen space is not as big as you would like, designing a single wall layout may be the answer to your problems. Arranging all cabinetry, countertops, and appliances on one wall allows for more room to move about and increased affordability. With proper planning and design the workflow in such a kitchen may actually be more efficient than if these things are arranged on both walls. Consider the points below to determine if a single wall kitchen layout works for your home and your lifestyle.

Leave More Space for Open Concepts

If your living room or other open space adjoins the kitchen, using a single wall layout means more room for furniture and comfort. This type of kitchen has a very small footprint, which may seem to detract from its usability, especially when more than one person wants to prepare food or do another task at the same time.

With the modern propensity for open plans and more fluid traffic flows throughout different rooms of the house, a single wall kitchen makes use more convenient and easy to access.

Smaller Spaces Need Improved Efficiency

If you intend to put all of your cabinets, counters, and appliances on one wall of the kitchen, you need to be positioned for ease-of-use and efficiency. Safety and storage space must also be taken into account. Many of these smaller kitchens have the refrigerator at one end, the sink next to it, an expanse of counters, and then the oven and stove top at the other end. Another option is taller cabinets flanking the ends of the kitchen. These provide extra storage that may be at a premium in a one wall kitchen.

To make everyday tasks easier and safer, install counters on both sides of the stove and one directly next to the fridge as well. This allows you to remove hot things and set them down quickly so you do not burn your hands, or set groceries conveniently next to the fridge so you can put them away quickly.

Use Standard Upper Cabinets

Except for the floor to ceiling cabinets on either side of the kitchen if you choose to adopt that design choice, stick with standard lower and upper cabinets to increase storage space. These also provides support and style help for the stove’s hood. Another benefit is the ability to install under cabinet lighting to better illuminate your work surface.

Use a Mix of Cabinets and Shelving

If your kitchen space is quite small and you do not need so much storage to necessitate full cabinets, consider open shelves on the higher part of the wall or a mixture of standard cabinets, shelving, and bridge cabinets. Instead of standard 26 inch deep storage spaces, consider ones that are only 12 to 14 inches deep as well.

Bridge cabinets are not as tall as standard options. They frequently span an open space between full-size ones over the sink or a work area. They are stylistically attractive and can help provide more light or convenience to those who do a lot of countertop work. If they are exceptionally high, store items inside that you do not have to access regularly.

Find Unexpected Storage Spaces

If all the kitchen cabinets or shelves are attached to one wall, your kitchen may lack sufficient storage for all of the groceries, dishes, and small appliances you use every day. First, maximize the effectiveness of the cabinets you do have with drawer inserts, door racks, and pull out trays or bins.

Next, look for storage opportunities in other parts of the kitchen. If you have a seating area in or near your small kitchen, consider bench seats with shelves or cabinets underneath. If your kitchen is open to the living room or dining room, match the color of the cabinets to the furniture options there. Then you can use a living room cabinet for additional storage in the kitchen and maintain stylistic continuity throughout the open space.

Install Smaller Appliances

Unless you are a gourmet chef forced to make do with a small kitchen, smaller appliances may be the right choice for your home. A single wall layout can focus more on storage options if you pick a compact dishwasher and oven, smaller microwave, and a narrower refrigerator. Also, minimize the small appliances like coffeemakers and toasters that take up valuable countertop space.

Another tip that will help in an open concept kitchen is to purchase quieter and more efficient appliances. Then their operation will not negatively impact the enjoyment of the nearby rooms.

Consider an Island or Dividing Table

Although one might argue that an island creates a two wall kitchen, there are narrower options that will still fit into a small space. The island should run parallel to the counters and cabinets on the other side and must be far enough away from them to allow for easy access and traffic flow.

Islands are especially useful in an open concept space because they delineate the kitchen from the living room, provides an eating area if you do not have a separate dining room, and manages traffic flow away from the work zones. Also, will always have a convenient bit of countertop to put down hot plates or bags of groceries.

If you do not want to install an island, a narrow kitchen table can do the same job. Not only can the family gather there to eat, hangout, work on a craft or homework, it provides extra work space as well. In most cases, not having chairs on the work side of the kitchen makes more sense because people sitting down and getting up will not get in the way of the kitchen worker.

Pick One Focal Point

Since a single wall kitchen can be viewed from other parts of the house, it must either become a focal point itself or blend in well with other design options in the space. Simple cabinets and countertops may not draw the eye, but a colorful tile backsplash can add a touch of color and interest. On the other hand, perhaps boldly colored cabinets can do double duty as artwork on the far end of the living room. This is especially true for modern styled homes.

No matter which you choose, remember that the space is relatively small and can get overpowered quickly if there are too many conflicting styles or colors. If you live in a small home and appreciate an open concept flow, the single wall kitchen design may be your best bet. Work with a competent designer to determine if it will work for your home and kitchen use habits.

Let us know: Would you consider a single wall kitchen in your home? Do you already have one and love it? Comment below and share your ideas about how to make this unique style choice work well.

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Baseball fan, coffee addict, audiophile, Vignelli fan and critical graphic designer. Operating at the sweet spot between modernism and function to craft delightful brand experiences. I'm fueled by craft beer, hip-hop and tortilla chips.