Along-One-Wall Vs. Freestanding Kitchen Design: Which is Better?

In most houses, the kitchen is a constant hub of activity and so it is extra important to create a space that is right for you, both visually and ergonomically.

Image by ChalonHandmade

This guide aims to show the pros and cons of using both fitted and freestanding kitchen designs so that you can pick the right kitchen design for your home.


Along-One-Wall Kitchens

In the one-wall kitchen design, all the major zones of the kitchen are contained along one wall. For example the fridge, oven and sink would sit side by side with surface counter space in between.

This kind of kitchen design is simple, practical and fairly cheap to install. One of the few downsides to this style of design is that it lacks the traditional triangle layout out of fridge, oven, sink which is meant to be a good design for the chef of the kitchen, ergonomically speaking.

However, the simplicity of the design still makes it a practical option. Here are three ways to utilise this design:

1.       A Practical Space for Small Kitchens

This kitchen design allows you to build a stack of units, making it a handy storage space for small kitchens. It is also extremely practical because using only the one wall for your kitchen units and appliances creates a large dining space, perfect for tiny apartments.

A kitchen that you always thought was just too small for a table can become the kitchen-diner you always dreamed of, just with clever kitchen design.

2.       The Wall Becomes a Giant Display

If you use open shelving units, the kitchen wall can become like a huge display of pots, jars, spices and general kitchen trinkets. You have to keep this kind of style neat and colour coordinated but if you do it well, the result is a kitchen that is good to look at as well as functional.

3.       Let Your Kitchen Disappear

This style of one-wall kitchen design is innovative and minimal to the extreme. For those that like clean lines and no mess, this might be the answer.

Sliding doors glide across your kitchen wall and all your units and appliances are hidden. It becomes like a new room. When you are not cooking, your kitchen is completely hidden from sight – perfect for those who think kitchens just aren’t that pretty to look at! It’s a clever idea which has taken off across the world in ultra-trendy pads.

Freestanding Kitchens

What makes freestanding kitchen design different to the ‘along-one-wall’ approach is the fact that none, or very few, of the units are fitted to the wall. Your kitchen becomes like a collection of furniture, which can be arranged to suit you.

This design has two main advantages: style and flexibility. Because the units are freestanding, it allows you to be more creative with layout and design and it also makes your kitchen more flexible, since if you change your mind about the layout you can simply reshuffle rather than spending a fortune on a whole new kitchen.

Installation can be a lot cheaper than a fitted kitchen because it is only the appliances that need to be installed, although the units themselves can be more expensive.

Here are three great ideas possible with freestanding kitchen design:

1.       The Island

 This is a highly popular design feature, which can add style and practicality to any kitchen. It creates a central point in the kitchen for all your chopping, washing, dicing and spicing. If you use mainly freestanding units, you can even wheel the island out of the way to make your kitchen more spacious for parties!

2.       Your Kitchen Has Feet

One of the most eye catching design features of a freestanding unit is the feet. These can be ornate, minimal or colourful and they not only bring charm to your kitchen but they are a reminder that your kitchen units can just get up and walk away if no longer needed.

3.       Good for Open Plan Spaces

Because your units do not have to be attached to the wall, you can create a purely open plan kitchen if you want to. This works particularly well if you have a huge space to fill and it is a great way to integrate the kitchen into the living/dining area.

By keeping the units attached to the wall at a minimum, it frees up wall space for other large decorative items such as paintings or mirrors.


Which to Choose?

Depending on your kitchen size, budget, design taste and cooking habits, freestanding kitchens and ‘along-one-wall’ kitchens both have their benefits.

‘Along-one-wall’ kitchens are good if you have a small space, or if you want to hide your kitchen in an ultra-minimal style. But if you want a flexible, open plan space then a freestanding kitchen might be better for you.

Do you know of any great kitchen designs? Which styles work best for you?

Estelle Page is an interior designer who writes for luxury kitchen design specialists KDCUK and is always planning her next renovation project. She spends her days researching recent design trends and leafing through the latest copy of Better Homes and Gardens.

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