The basic shapes used in kitchen design are: galley, corridor, L-Shaped, U-Shaped and island.
Galley kitchens line up all of the bench space and appliances along one wall. This is obviously an effective way to save space and may be the only option in some very small areas. But the disadvantage with this design is that it does not create a "kitchen triangle" - a triangle-shaped area between the fridge, sink and oven that create an efficient workflow in the kitchen. Instead, you have to move along a single line.
The corridor kitchen layout has cabinets and appliances lined up along two walls facing each other. This can be a very efficient design in a small kitchen, as it allows for the creation of a work triangle where all necessary items can be quickly accessed. But if the kitchen area is a thoroughfare, a narrow corridor kitchen could prove problematic if someone in the house needs to pass through while the chef is at work.
L-shaped kitchens situate cabinets and appliances along two adjacent walls. This provides more space for people to move through the kitchen without interrupting the chef. U-shaped kitchens use three adjacent walls, providing more space in the work triangle. But in a small space, a U-shape kitchen may be too cramped - an L-shape or corridor kitchen will work better in a lot of cases.
If your kitchen is very small you are unlikely to be installing an island bench (although a small trolley that can be wheeled out when needed is a good alternative).
Storage is the key to making a small kitchen work well - we'll deal with this in more depth in a separate article. But in terms of layout, think about how you can cleverly utilise space for storage. Shelves and hooks placed at convenient parts of the kitchen can help you keep clutter out of the kitchen and keep everything you need close to hand.
An extension drawer is another top idea for a small kitchen. For instance, in a small corridor kitchen with little workbench space, a drawer like this could be built into the cabinet at one end of the corridor and pulled out when necessary to create a U-shape kitchen.