One Wall Kitchen Layout – Ideas, Tips & Expert Advice
[Cover Image – Nordiska Kök]
The one wall kitchen is often labelled as too simple or just a solution for small spaces.
However, I believe its strength lies in its simplicity. One wall kitchens are about making the most of what you have and thoughtfully turning it into something special.
In this post, I’ll explore the one wall kitchen layout: what it is, the advantages and challenges it presents, and some smart design strategies to make it work for you.
Let’s get into it!
What Is A One Wall Kitchen?
A one wall kitchen (also known as single-wall) is a kitchen whose cabinets, appliances, and counter spaces are all positioned along one wall.
It often serves as a multifunctional area that conserves space without sacrificing function, making it ideal for smaller urban homes and apartments, or integrating into a larger living area for a spacious feel.
However, this layout isn’t just about saving space, it’s about maximizing it. Every section of the wall is carefully planned to ensure efficiency and ease of movement.
Over recent years, architectural trends have increasingly leaned towards open-plan living, and the one wall kitchen has followed suit.
It’s often used for its ability to blend seamlessly with dining and living areas, promoting a social environment where the act of cooking is shared with family or guests.
👋 FYI: I’m not counting one wall and an island as a one-wall layout. That’s a type of kitchen island layout!
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Pros Of A One Wall Kitchen Layout
- Space Maximization: The one wall kitchen is a champion of small-space living. By consolidating the kitchen into a single wall, it frees up the rest of the area for other uses, whether that’s a dining table or additional living space.
- Aesthetic Simplicity: There’s an inherent beauty in the simplicity of a one wall kitchen. Its clean, unbroken line of cabinets and appliances creates a minimalist look that can serve as a backdrop to a modern living space or the foundation for bolder design elements.
- Cost-Effectiveness: Fewer walls mean fewer cabinets and less countertop material, which can significantly reduce costs. This aspect makes the one wall kitchen an economical choice, without compromising on style or functionality.
- Ease of Installation: With everything located along one wall, construction and installation can be simpler and quicker compared to more complex layouts. This ease of installation can translate to lower labour costs and a kitchen that’s ready to use in less time.
- Accessibility: The one wall kitchen layout provides easy access to all appliances, cabinets, and storage spaces. This design eliminates the need to navigate around an island or corner, making it ideal for those with mobility issues.
- Limited Workspace: One of the main trade-offs of a one wall kitchen is the potential lack of prep space. With appliances and storage taking up room along the wall, finding a generous stretch of countertop for meal preparation can be challenging.
- Storage Constraints: Since the one wall kitchen has a smaller footprint, storage can be another issue. Without the luxury of multiple walls to house cabinets and shelves, finding a home for all your kitchen essentials requires ingenuity.
- Traffic Flow: The single-wall kitchen layout can create challenges when it comes to traffic flow. With everything in one row, it can be challenging for multiple people to move around the space comfortably. Additionally, if the kitchen is situated in a high-traffic area, it can be challenging to work in the kitchen while others are walking through.
- Lack of Privacy: The open layout of a one wall kitchen, which often merges with living or dining areas, offers little in the way of privacy. There’s no hiding a messy kitchen from dinner guests, and morning routines are on display for all to see.
- Cooking Smells and Noise: Without walls to contain them, aromas from the kitchen can permeate throughout the home. While this can be delightful if you’re baking cookies, it’s less so for fish or fried foods. Similarly, the noise from kitchen appliances can intrude into relaxation or entertainment spaces, disrupting the ambience.
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What is the Ideal length of a one wall kitchen?
Personally, I think the ideal length for a one wall kitchen is around 4.3m (14ft).
Not too big, not too small, with plenty of storage and countertop space for food preparation and all the essential appliances.
This could allow for:
- 2x 60cm (24″) wide full-height cabinet – 1x Fridge freezer + 1x Larder cabinet
- 5x 60cm (24″) wide base cabinets/appliances – 2x drawer packs + 1x hob/oven (cooker) + 1x sink base + 1x dishwasher.
- Tall end panels and fillers – 1 or 2 tall end panels, 1 or 2 tall fillers/1 base filler (cut to suit).
With this cabinet combination, you could create a perfectly symmetrical design with the two full-height cabinets on either end. Alternatively, you could create an asymmetrical design, putting the two full-height cabinets together at one end.
Then you would have the drawers, hob/oven/cooker, drawers, sink and dishwasher. (In that order)
This gives you a good amount of prep space and separation between the hob and sink as well as from the hob/sink and any wall or end panel.
It also has the added benefit of being 3m (10ft) in length, which is typically achievable out of one slab of countertop, so you won’t need any joint line. 👍
As everything is 60cm (24″) wide you can easily align and match any wall cabinets with the base cabinets below. Or you could play around and leave some space or use some open shelving to add a bit more interest to the design.
Of course, if the room length is a bit bigger or smaller, that’s fine too. You can adjust your design options accordingly.
Is a Longer wall better?
A longer room may be beneficial for a one wall kitchen layout. It can give you more options and flexibility with the type and size of cabinets you choose.
However, I think there is a limit.
If you have a really long single wall of cabinets, the design starts to become inefficient as you’ll just be walking from one end of the kitchen to the other to get to your appliances and cabinets.
In doing so, the simplicity and functionality a one wall kitchen can achieve so well, gets lost.
how to design a One Wall kitchen
Designing a one wall kitchen requires careful planning to maximise the limited space.
I’ve broken down everything I would consider and think about when designing a one wall kitchen layout.
If you read/think through each section and how it relates to your space and design, you’ll have your kitchen designed in no time!
Layout And Storage
The traditional work triangle concept may not always apply in a one wall kitchen due to the linear nature of the layout.
Instead, focus on creating efficient zones. Dedicate specific areas for prepping, cooking, and cleaning, with the necessary appliances and storage neatly organized within each zone.
This not only streamlines the cooking process but also reduces unnecessary movement across the kitchen, saving time and effort.
When it comes to storage, it’s true that one wall kitchens can be challenging, as you’re working with less cabinetry. To counteract this, every storage area must perform optimally.
Drawers, for instance, can often be more functional than traditional cabinet doors, offering easy access to items even at the back. Consider maximising vertical space by extending cabinets up to the ceiling.
However, with a one wall kitchen, it’s also an opportunity to embrace minimalism. Consider this a perfect moment to declutter and focus on what you really need.
Keep only the most used items and appliances, and donate what you don’t use.
This approach not only simplifies your storage needs but also contributes to a cleaner, more organized kitchen environment.
Appliance Selection and Placement
In a one wall kitchen, every inch counts, making compact and multi-functional appliances a smart choice.
To maintain the airy feel of a one wall kitchen, think about the visual weight of your appliances. Taller units, like refrigerators, can be placed at the end of the run to anchor the kitchen without overwhelming the space.
Keep the middle section open with clear countertops and under-counter appliances. This approach keeps the eye-level space uncluttered, contributing to a sense of openness.
Fully integrated appliances that blend into the cabinetry create a sleek and uninterrupted look, which can really help to maintain the minimalist aesthetic that a one wall kitchen promotes.
Maximizing Counter Space
In a one wall kitchen, counter space is precious. A clear counter offers not only room for meal preparation but also necessary landing areas for hot dishes out of the oven or groceries yet to be stored.
To optimize this space, careful consideration of the layout and appliance placement is crucial.
Adequate separation between the hob and sink is essential not only for safety but also to prevent crowding and ensure there’s enough room for prep on either side.
This separation helps in establishing dedicated zones for cooking and cleaning, which streamlines the workflow.
Space-saving ideas include:
- Boiling water tap: A boiling water tap can eliminate the need for a kettle, instantly freeing up space.
- Built-in microwave: a built-in microwave or a combination microwave oven can be integrated into your cabinetry, maintaining a sleek counter surface.
- Appliance garages: Small pull-out cabinets or lift-up systems that can store everyday appliances out of sight but within reach. I’m talking about your toaster, coffee machine and maybe even that Nutribullet you used one time! 😃
- Hanging racks: For items like utensils, or maybe a magnetic knife block on the wall, these can not only save space but also add a stylistic element.
Symmetrical designs can impart a sense of order and cleanliness, with evenly spaced cabinets and appliances creating a harmonious look. This can be particularly appealing in a minimalist kitchen where the focus is on clean lines and uncluttered spaces.
On the other hand, asymmetry can lend a dynamic and modern feel to the kitchen. For instance, open shelving on one end of the wall paired with closed cabinetry on the other can break the monotony and add visual interest.
The key to making asymmetry work is ensuring there’s a thoughtful balance that doesn’t make the space feel lopsided.
Regardless of whether you choose symmetry or asymmetry, the goal is to create a cohesive look that brings together all components of the kitchen in a way that feels intentional and aesthetically pleasing.
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one Wall Kitchen Layout Ideas
Here are a few extra examples of different one-wall kitchens to give you some inspiration and ideas for your own one wall layout.
I love this one-wall kitchen layout. I think it marries minimalism with functionality very well.
The upper cabinets, finished in a soft matte hue, contrast with the rich, textured wood of the lower cabinetry. The sleek lines of the upper cabinets bring a modern touch, while the open shelving allows for the display of curated kitchenware, adding a personal and accessible feel.
The lower wooden cabinets, with their pronounced grain and horizontal lining, give a nod to classic craftsmanship.
A classic yet contemporary design, combining the warmth of wood with the beauty of marble. The wooden cabinets, with reeded texture and finished with brass handles, offer ample storage while contributing to the kitchen’s aesthetic charm.
The focal point is the striking white range cooker, flanked by a combination of closed cabinets and curtained sections, giving a blend of traditional and modern storage solutions.
I love the attention to detail, with matching classic brass tap and separate boiling water tap over the farmhouse sink and the curved ornate detailing on the backsplashes giving some extra character.
A simple asymmetrical handleless kitchen in a matte charcoal grey finish. They utilise a compact combination oven above a small built-in fridge freezer.
The wall cabinets mirror the sizes of the base cabinets below them, with a good amount of landing area, prep space and separation between the hob and sink.
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What is the Minimum length of a one wall kitchen?
As a realistic minimum, I would say you need a total width of 2.7m (9 feet) for a one wall kitchen.
This allows for:
60cm (24″) fridge freezer
30cm (12″) cabinet – for separation from the edge of fridge freezer + small amount of storage
60cm (24″) cabinet – for hob (cooktop) and oven below or stove/cooker
60cm (24″) cabinet – for storage (maybe a dishwasher), prep space and separation from the hob/sink
60cm (24″) sink cabinet
Total = 2.7m (9ft)
This doesn’t even allow for any fillers or counter space on both sides of the sink. Let alone much storage or prep space.
Of course, under certain circumstances, you could go further and decrease the 30cm cabinet to 15cm, decrease the 60cm storage cabinet to 30cm and decrease the 60cm sink cabinet to 40cm. Giving a new minimum total of 2.05m (6.7ft).
However, I would really advise against this.
Are one wall kitchens cheaper?
Yes, one wall kitchens can be a more budget-friendly option.
The savings stem from the layout’s inherent simplicity. Fewer cabinets and less countertop material mean lower material costs. Additionally, the straightforward design simplifies installation, further cutting down on labour time and expenses.
There you have it! My expert guide to the one wall kitchen layout.
A one wall kitchen layout is an excellent option for those looking to maximize space and create a streamlined, efficient kitchen. With the right design and layout, a one wall kitchen can be just as functional and stylish as any other layout.
If you’re considering a kitchen revamp or are in the process of designing your space, don’t overlook its potential. Its simplicity is its strength!
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.