Kitchen floor plans

There are only three basic floor plans which make an efficient kitchen. They are the one-wall, the L, and the U types. Variations of these, because of unusual door, window or storage cabinet placement, include the corridor, the broken-L, and the broken-U. The advantages and disadvantages of each are described below.

The one-wall kitchen

If you consider the kitchen as a unit, it is easy to see that the simplest way to arrange all the work center's within it would be in a straight line. However, such is only useful if the kitchen is small, and even then, it has decided disadvantages.

In its favor is the fact that appliances requiring connections to the plumbing system can be made economically. Also, if the length of the entire installation is long enough, more than an ample number of storage cabinets can be had.

On this latter point, however, there is a definite disadvantage. If the one-wall kitchen is long enough to provide sufficient cabinet space, in all likelihood it is also too long for efficient operation. There is also a decidedly uneconomical use of floor space.

The corridor kitchen

An improvement on the one-wall kitchen which conserves floor space, permits an efficient work triangle, and still provides enough cabinets is the "corridor" arrangement. In its simplest form, it is merely the one-wall kitchen divided into two sections, each placed along two opposite walls.

Work centers can be placed on either wall, split as the planner desires. However, because of the window placement, the sink center is usually found on the outer-wall side. It may be coupled with either the refrigerator or the range, but at least one of these latter centers must be on the other side of the room.

Usually it is the range which is placed along the inner wall, while the refrigerator is at the end nearest the outside exit. The refrigerator door should open towards an adjacent corner, but in such manner that it does not interfere with normal traffic.

The major disadvantage of the corridor kitchen is the through traffic. Because there are usually entrances at both ends of the corridor, everyone passing through the kitchen must also pass through the work triangle. If the family is of a considerable size, this may be a definite problem to the housewife.

If one end of the corridor is closed and is the location for the window, there is no problem of this kind. However, the question of the amount of natural light which is permitted to reach the work surfaces is brought up and must be considered.

The L kitchen

If the one-wall kitchen makes a right-angle turn, the result is the L type of kitchen. This is an efficient layout, as it eliminates most of the disadvantages of the one-wall type.

With the "L", work centers can be kept in normal sequence and yet form a work triangle that will permit maximum ease of operation. Either the short or the long leg may begin the sequence, that is, one wall will have two work centers while the other will have only one. The sink center, being the middle and focal point of the kitchen, will always be on the longer wall, but it can be coupled with either the refrigerator or the range,

The work triangle depends on the size of the room. In rooms that are relatively square, there will be minimum distances between appliances.

In long, narrow rooms, there is a tendency for the distance between the refrigerator and the range to be too long.

The broken-L kitchen

The name "broken-L' is almost self-explanatory. In this type of kitchen the layout is exactly the same as in the "L", with one variation. This is that either leg of the layout is broken by a doorway so that continuous counters are not possible and work centers are divided.

The sequence of appliances is still the same, but either the refrigerator or the range will be isolated. In most instances where the broken-L is used, it is the refrigerator which is set apart, next to the doorway which usually leads to the back or side exit of the house.

If the short leg- of the "L" is broken, that part of it attached to the continuous counter houses those items and food staples found in the storing and receiving center. It also provides a convenient counter surface for placing food orders as they arrive. The sink and range areas are then found along the longer leg.

If it is the longer leg that is bisected by a doorway, either the refrigerator or the range may be cut, off, but regardless of which it is, there will still be some counterspace cut off with it to make this work center complete in itself. There are obvious advantages to this set-up.

The U kitchen

This kind of arrangement is convenient and efficient, but can only be used if the room is made for it. In the U-shaped kitchen, each of the three major work centers is against one of three adjoining walls. The fourth wall contains the door to and from the kitchen or entirely, leading to the dining.

As in other layouts, the work centers are in sequence, with the sink at the bottom of the U and the range and refrigerator along each of the two wings. The work triangle is aImost equilateral and there is no possibility that cross traffic will disrupt it. There is more than sufficient counter space in the U kitchen because work surfaces are continuous and both corners of the U provide additional area. Cabinets can be of sufficient number, but must be so aranged that their doors do conflict with each other, especially at the two corners.

Because the range and refrigerator areas may not require equal shelf work-surface space, it is possible to lay out the U kitchen with wings of unequal length. If this is done, several different arrangements are possible, one of which allows the door to be placed in the same wall that has the short wing, with fourth wall free.

The broken-U kitchen

Actually there are two ways to describe the broken-U kitchen. It is either a U kitchen that is broken in one wing by a doorway, or it is an L kitchen with a long segment added along an adjacent wall.

If the door that breaks the U is the only door into the kitchen, one wall is free for special or extra appliances such as a freezer, washing machine, work table, desk, etc. However, there usually will be a second door along this fourth wall or, if the wings are unequal in length, at the end of one of the wings. In either of the latter cases, the arrangement of work centers will be affected.

In the case where the single door breaks the U, either the range or the refrigerator may be in the isolated segment. If the problem of where to put incoming supplies is paramount, the refrigerator would be better off by itself with its own storage space. If the problem of an even flow of food to the dining areas is most important, the range may be better placed in the separated center. Placement of appliances also depends on the location. of windows and pipe connections.

Floor coverings for kitchens and bathrooms

Asphalt tile and mastic

Smooth, quiet, warm, fairly resilient; some kinds not slippery, greaseproof; resistant to water, acids, alkalies, fire; tiles replaceable; easy to clean; wide choice in color and size; can be used on concrete in contact with ground. Some kinds deteriorated by grease and oils, slippery; dented and easily scratched by furniture; shows defects in subfloor quickly; tiles must set 7-10 days; surface soluble in some cleansing agents.

Installation and care

May be laid over smooth subfloor of wood, felt base, or concrete; base floor must be even, true, rigid, hard, dry, follow mfr. instructions; skilled work needed. Use finish advised by mfr., brush with soft brush or dry mop; mop or wash, use mild neutral soapsuds, never cleaner containing caustic alkali, oil, or abrasives; rinse thoroughly; use water emulsion waxes, never waxes containing benzine, gasoline, naphtha, or turpentine; avoid excessive wax.


Durable and sanitary if properly finished; easily cleaned by hosing; low cost. Extremely tiring; slippery when wet or improperly finished; dust-preventive coating necessary; wear from traffic by dusting disagreeable.

Installation and Care

Installation depends on structuraI requirements or architectural specifications; must be clean and dry before painting. May be painted if given proper pretreatment; wax a painted surface;may be treated to prevent dusting; sweep with heavy broom; scrub unpainted floors with hot water and scouring powder or washing soda, not soap; wash or mop painted floors with plain water.

Cork tile

Very quiet, resilient, comfortable; safe surface; easy to clean; will not absorb water; durable; provides heat insulation; individual tiles replaceable. Not entirely grease-resistant; surface very porous; colors restricted; expensive.

Installation and care

Must be properly laid; follow mfr. instructions. May be scaled with varnishtype sealer or varnished before waxing; otherwise care as for linoleum; remove spots with fine emery paper or No. 00 steel wool.

Linoleums general

Smooth, resilient, not tiring, fairly quiet; not absorbent while finish lasts; easy to clean; washable; varying cost; variety, of colors and patterns. Dentable; slippery when wet; seams must be waterproof.

Installation and care

Not for floors in contact with ground or below grade; wood subbase more resilient than concrete; subfloor should be smooth, level, dry; let stand at room temperature 48 hours before unrolling; permit to stretch fully on floor before cementing. Follow mfr. instructions for finish and maintenance; dust daily; use dry mop or soft brush for loose dirt, damp mop or cloth for other soil; wash with warm water and mild, neutral soap, dry and rewax; use no abrasive except fine steel wool for stubborn spots.

Linoleum - enameled or printed (felt-back)

In rug sizes and by yard; easy to lay; comparatively inexpensive. Color and pattern may wear off; less resilient and durable than real linoleum.

Installation and care

No skilled labor required; can be cemented directly to wood subfloor without lining felt. Maintain according to mfr. instructions; worn-off surface may be painted.

Real linoleum (inlaid)

More durable and resilient than felt-back type; reasonable cost; durable color and pattern in great variety.

Installation and care

Requires skill; follow mfr. instructions; cement to felt base bonded to even, dry, smooth subfloor with ventilation beneath. Keep thin even wax film on floor, never use varnish, shellac, or oil.

Tile and brick - glazed and unglazed

Resistant to acids, alkalies, fire; nonfading; if glazed, does not absorb grease or water; easy to clean; needs no waxing, polishing, varnishing; nonslip types available; durable; many decorative possibilities; individual tiles -replaceable. No resilience, hard, cold, noisy; water on tiles may loosen them; ordinary types slippery when wet; may develop cracks.

Installation and care

Must be laid with care to give even surface; floor construction must be strong enough to take weight; follow mfr. instructions. Brush up loose dirt with soft brush or dry mop; use wet mop or damp cloth for other soil; do not allow water to stand on tiles.

Soft wood - fir, pine

Semi-resilient; lowest initial cost; choice of stains and finishes. Comparatively noisy; not colorful; dents and splinters easily; shows wear quickly; if not finished, absorbs grease, food stains, water, and is hard to clean; finish needs frequent renewal; paint, shellac, or varnish finish mars and wear off in traffic lanes; shellac or varnish must usually be entirely removed and floor sanded before refinishing.

Installation and care

Use well-seasoned, planed wood; lay over thoroughly clean, dry, level, tightly nailed subfloor; tongue-and-groove, fitted together for tight joints; strips, blind-nailed in place at regular inter careful, correct nailing with proper nails essential; if not blind-nailed, nail holes should be filled with crack filler; sand smooth before finishing; wax finish only practical one; is easy to maintain and renew; do not use varnish, lacquer, shellac, paint. Use floor sear, followed paste or self-polishing wax; brush loose dirt with broom, soft brush, dry mop; use damp cloth or wet other soil; regular and frequent scrubbing or mopping needed if wood is unfinished; remove stains by bleaching.

Vinylite-resilient plastic

Smooth, nonporous, resilient; durable; strongly resistant to water, soaps, acids, oils, alkalies; won't rot; wide choice of colors; usable for below-grade installations. Initial cost high.

Installation and care

Subfloor of wood or concrete must clean, smooth, dry; skilled workmanship needed; follow mfr. instructions. Brush up loose dirt with soft brush or dry mop; wash with soap and water, rinse, dry.

Wall coverings for kitchens and bathrooms

Ceramic tile - glazed or unglazed

Bright, gleaming, long-wearing, nonfading, washable; will not absorb odors; noninflammable; hard to injure; many colors and patterns. Expensive; unglazed tile somewhat absorbent of water; glaze produces fight glare; indented lines hard to clean; especially useful behind range to protect wall from heat, grease, grime.

Installation and care

Requires skilled workmanship to install; usually set in cement; some types bonded direct to wall with plastic adhesives; undersurface must be smooth and even; follow mfr. instructions. Wipe damp cloth; never use steel gritty scouring powder on glazed tile; for cleaning, use mild soapsuds or dampened whiting.

Enameled steel and aluminum

Even, smooth, nonabsorbent, waterproof, washable; noninflammable; durable. Enamel may splinter or chip if hit hard; reflection of light produces glare.

Installation and care

To install, follow mfr. instructions. Wipe, off with damp cloth, then polish; for ordinary cleaning, use mild soap and water or trisodium phosphate in water; use gritless scouring powder.

Coated fabrics (canvaslike foundation)

Smooth, even, greaseproof, vaporproof, washable; covers cracks, protects, binds, strengthens plaster walls; plastic-coated fabrics extremely durable; saves marring of walls by furniture; easily removed; great variety of colors, designs, textures; sunfast. Oilcloth surfaces wear off more easily than others; may be loosened by seepage on damp wall.

Installation and care

Pasted like paper over smooth walls, with edges meeting, not lapped; add simple sirup or molasses to paste for better adhension to walls; add to paste 1 tablespoon formaldehyde dissolved in 1 cup water, to prevent mildew. Brush with lambswool wall brush or cotton-flannel bag over broom 2 or 3 times a year, and wipe with damp cloth; wash with neutral soapsuds, using soft cloth or sponge; never use gritty scouring powder or strong soap.

Glass, transparant or translucent plastic

Hard, nonabsorbent, waterproof, greaseproof, washable; not affected by common soaps or acids; noninflammable; very resistant to stain and soil; wide range of color in plastic; fair range of color in glass. High initial cost; cracks or breaks under strain.

Installation and care

Cemented on top of cushioning material with joints pointed; direct contact with metal, concrete, or other hard substances to be avoided. Dust with wall brush; wipe with damp cloth; wash with mild soap and water, rinse, dry; ammonia or vinegar added to wash water removes greasy or soapy film; use damp whiting on stubborn spots.

Smooth plaster

Most commonly used; can be painted, papered, or covered with any of variety of materials. Subject to cracks; absorbs grease and water; if untreated or uncovered, bard to keep clean; light-glare with white, unpainted smooth plaster.

Installation and care

Dust with wall brush or soft, clean cloth, using up-and-down strokes; wipe with damp cloth; use damp whiting for badly soiled spots.

Hard-finish wallboard (plastic-coated paneles, plain and grooved)

Hard, smooth, glossy, washable; easy to apply; many types finished, unfinished may be painted; durable; some kinds fireresistant; moderate cost; variety of colors and patterns; some types sound-deadening. Some types fairly expensive; some subject to stain penetration; uneven surfaces of grooved patterns hard to clean; high polish on some types causes glare; some affected by acids, alkalies, grease, water.

Installation and care

Fastened to furring over plaster, gypsum lath or board, solid wood or plywood base, or finished concrete; do not use on surfaces likely to become wet; base, should be constructed so no moisture seepage or sweating from back to surface; joints may be flush, beveled, battened, or covered with metal strips; follow mfr. instructions. Wipe with damp cloth; wash with mild soap, rinse, dry, and polish with self-polishing wax; use no soaps containing alkali or caustics.

Wall linoleum

Smooth, even, flexible, washable; conforms to any wall contour; not injured by surface moisture; resilient; warm to touch; moderate cost; wide choice of colors and patterns. Requires special care when applying; in case of leaks, will absorb water at back and may rot.

Installation and care

Use lightweight linoleum; apply on firm, hard, clean, smooth, dry walls of plaster or wallboard with waterproof cement; follow mfr. instructions; first completely remove old whitewash, oil, or water paints, wallpaper, oilcloth, or burlap; finish with self-polishing wax if not factory-finished. Wipe with damp cloth; wash with soapsuds of neutral rinse, dry; rewax when needed..


Wide range of cost; fairly easy to apply; waterproof-type washable; wide choice of color and design. Less durable than oil- or enamel-painted walls; nonwaterproof types absorb grease and water; hard to clean; frequent renewal necessary; may be loosened by moisture in air or seepage on damp wall.

Installation and care

Paste over smooth walls, taking care to match pattern when cutting. Dust with soft wall brush or soft cloth over broom; protect from splashing water or grease; wash washable paper with cold water, then cold soapy water, using mild soap; remove grease spots immediately with paste of fuller's earth or blotter and warm iron over spot.

Wood (yellow pine, fir, oak)

With right care gives good service. Like to swell, stain, rot in case of leaks; frequent refinishing necessary; unless painted in light color, does not reflect well.

Installation and care

Dust with soft wall brush or soft cloth over broom; use cleaning methods suited to type of finish used; wax finish is easy to maintain.

Plumbing basics

Bathroom fixtures
Bathroom floor plans
Bathtub installation
Installing lavatory
Water closet install

Cesspool / septic tanks

Fixture pipes
House drain
House sewer
Soil stack
Vent piping

Finishing touch

Heating a home


Dishwasher install
Garbage disposer install
Kitchen plans
Kitchen sink installation
Laundry install
Room plans
Work areas

Cast Iron

Plumbing layout
Pipe plan
Water distributing

Faucet repair
Pipe problems
Repair other
Toilet repair


Plumbing materials
Specialty tools

Water Supply

Hot water heaters
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Service connection
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