Designing your kitchen layout is one of the most important parts of planning your home. Beyond the colors and styles, the blueprint for your kitchen will map out how you cook, eat, and socialize. Remember to keep the work triangle principle in mind–the imaginary line that goes from the center of the sink, to the center of the cooktop, to the center of the refrigerator, and finally back to the sink. From that fundamental principle comes the cabinets, counters, appliances, furniture, plus all the other nitty-gritty details. Here’s a rundown on the most tried-and-true kitchen design layouts (don’t worry, soon enough you’ll only be organizing the spice rack).

One-Wall

This design looks just as it sounds–all of the cabinets and appliances are fixed on a single wall of the kitchen. This layout is most apt for an apartment or loft space because of its space-saving abilities. You’ll be able to move freely about the open space since everything is just on one wall and nowhere else. The one drawback is sometimes limited counter space, which is why high-quality kitchen cabinets will be key.

Gallery

A galley kitchen is probably the most efficient when it comes to the purpose of the room: cooking. Also called a walk-through kitchen, the design consists of two walls (or two parallel countertops) opposite of each other with a walk through in between. This highly functional layout allows whoever’s cooking an easy flow of motion, however, more than one cook can cause crowding. A decorative tip to keep the kitchen from feeling too closed in: install a range hood or glass-front upper cabinets. Keeping the cooktop and sink located on the same wall can also help with space issues, and keeps the messiest part of the kitchen localized.

U-Shaped

Similar to the one-wall and gallery floor plans, a U-shaped layout is outlined perfectly for a one-cook kitchen. The design is setup so that there is a corridor-shape layout, with one end being a countertop and the other open for easy access. While this shape doesn’t allow for a table and chairs, it does allow an easy flow for friends and family (or the opposite if you want to keep extra guests out of the kitchen while you’re working).

Island

A working kitchen island can be incorporated into one-wall shaped or U and L-Shaped kitchens when additional work surface is needed. The island may include appliances and cabinetry for storage, or serve as an additional place to eat or prepare food.  Most times, this is a great way for the cook to get work done while also socializing with the family in another room.

L-Shaped

The L-Shaped layout is super flexible, therefore making it ideal for people who love to entertain. The two adjacent, perpendicular walls create an open floor plan, allowing one to have multiple cooks and guests in the working area (hello, perfect cocktail party design!). This layout also makes adding a dining area incredible practical.