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  • Antoinette Prinsloo

Effective single-wall kitchen design

A single-wall kitchen layout, all of the cabinets, countertops, and major work services are arrayed along one wall. The other three sides of the kitchen are open and often face living areas. They are typically seen in apartments or small homes where maximizing space and efficiency is at the forefront of design. However, if the prevailing style of your house is modern, a single-wall kitchen layout is perfect because it blends well with a contemporary setting. It has a “less is more” kind of approach when it comes to kitchen design, conforming to minimalist aesthetics and compact setup.

What should one do to create an effective single-wall kitchen? To make the most of a single-wall kitchen layout, proper planning must be observed. Here are a few guidelines to follow:

The Appliances

These kitchens work well because they keep all appliances and cooking tools within reach. The key to maximizing a single-wall kitchen layout is to choose the right sizes of appliances and sink to fit on the wall. Typically, in a single-wall kitchen layout, there should be space allocated for a stove or hob and oven (under counter preferably); a refrigerator; microwave and sink. The less space you have to work with on the wall, the smaller the appliances should be (and vice versa). By choosing the right size appliance and sink, you will provide enough counter space for food preparation and clean-up. To make everyday tasks easier, have counters on both sides of the stove and one directly next to the refrigerator. 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 refrigerator so you can put them away quickly.

Extra Counter Space

A common challenge in single-wall kitchens is the lack of work space with the stove (hob and oven), sink, and refrigerator taking up valuable counter space. A solution to this in small homes is adding a counter height dining table that doubles as work space. In larger homes, a centre island is a popular addition which can house the stove (cooking area) and or the sink as well as provide extra storage and counter space, while maintaining the open floor plan.

Make use of the entire wall

Incorporate open shelves in your design that saves space and makes kitchen appear more breathable and spacious. Add tall grocery units on one or both sides of the single-wall layout that runs to the very top of the wall. In addition, add tall wall cabinets to the same height to draw one’s eyes upwards. To ensure adequate storage space for a one wall kitchen design, add as many cabinets as possible.

Pick One Focal Point

Since a single-wall kitchen is usually used in an open plan design that can be viewed from other parts of the house, it must either become a focal point itself or blend in with the adjacent rooms. Simple cabinets and countertops may not draw the eye, but a colourful tile backsplash can add a touch of colour and interest. On the other hand, perhaps opt for bold coloured cabinets; this is especially true for modern styled homes.

Pros and cons of the single-wall kitchen layout:


Inexpensive – Limited counter space means lower costs, as counters tend to run up kitchen budgets considerably.

Compact Design – The single-wall layout is the best way to create space in the rest of your kitchen if needed for a table or other uses.

Good Workflow – All of the major cooking functions are kept within a few meters of each other. You never have to move very far in this layout.


Lower Perceived Value – Unless the house requires this design layout, many homebuyers may have a difficult time accepting it. So, selling the home may be more difficult. Kitchens are often designed this way because there is no other option due to space or cost limitations.

Fewer Countertops – You do save money on countertops—but this means having fewer countertops for cooking. If you love to cook, no doubt you will find yourself adding rollaway kitchen islands or putting cutting boards over the sink as impromptu counter space.

Design Decisions – The one-wall design does bring up new decisions by virtue of its compact size. For instance, where do all of your cabinets go? Since you have so little space, you have fewer places to put them. Yet if you cut back on cabinets, you have less storage space.


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