It is often said that the “classic” kitchen design is the so-called kitchen triangle, enabling the cook to move between the refrigerator, stove, and sink in a three-point, non-intersecting fashion.

But an even more basic kitchen design layout than the triangle is the one-wall kitchen design. 

What It Is 

In the one-wall kitchen design, all major work zones of the kitchen are arrayed along one wall.

Major work zones include the refrigerator, sink, and stove/oven. Minor work zones would have a microwave, trash compactor, dishwater, etc.

The counter typically is no less than 8 feet long (any less and you would not be able to fit in all the appliances). The order of the work zones can be almost anything: sink, stove, then fridge or stove, sink, then fridge. Due to the fact that the arrangement is so small, the order does not matter.


Before we get into the limitations of the one-wall kitchen design, which are numerous, we first need to detail some of the pros:

  • Inexpensive – Limited counter space means cheaper costs, as counters tend to run up kitchen budgets considerably.
  • Easier Do-It-Yourself Options – Because you do not have to join up counters or do any other tricky things, the one-wall design is the easiest for the DIY renovator to undertake.
  • Compact Design – One-wall is the best way to create space in the rest of your kitchen if needed for a table or other uses.
  • Good Workflow – You keep all of your major cooking functions within a few feet of each other.

Trailers and Rental Houses Only? 

One of the biggest disadvantages of the one wall kitchen design is the stigma attached to it.

Kitchens are often designed this way because there is no other option due to space or cost limitations. If you have ever lived in rental houses and apartments, you are quite familiar with the one wall kitchen design. It is a functional design for people who do little cooking.
Resale values are lower for minimal kitchens simply because homebuyers place such a high premium on the kitchen nowadays. Almost every year, kitchens get more lavish, making it impossible for the one wall design to keep up. Simply put, homeowners demand more.
You do save money on countertops—but this means having fewer countertops for cooking. You will find yourself adding rollaway kitchen islands or putting cutting boards over the sink as impromptu counter space.

Also, the one-wall design does bring up new problems by virtue of its “compactness.” For instance, where do all your cabinets go? Do you want all of your cabinets hanging overhead? Do you like the stove and sink inches away from each other?


If you have to do it, then accept that fact and embrace the idea of the one-wall kitchen design. If you have more space, you will have to investigate more complex and useful kitchen design layouts.

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