Designing for One-Wall Kitchens

one wall full


The ultimate space-saver, the one-wall kitchen (originally called the Pullman kitchen) is exactly what it sounds like: an entire kitchen space worked into a single wall. Although one-wall kitchens are typically found in studios or lofts where space is at a premium, when properly executed and minimally designed, they can work beautifully in any size home.

The main draw for the one-wall design is its wide-open layout, which can incorporate nicely into main eating or living areas, and put the cook at the center of the action when entertaining.

Things to Keep in Mind During Your Design

Make some room

If you’re looking to open up the kitchen into a wider living or dining area, the one-wall design excels. Removing a wall between your main eating or living area can transform your formerly small and cramped kitchen into a breathable, multi-purpose space.

This combination cooking and dining space is open, modern and unique, which offers a great solution for cooks who want to be in on the action.

Add some depth with additional work areas

The body of the one-wall kitchen may be linear, but thinking three-dimensionally will add much needed depth to this narrow floor plan.

To combat a two-dimensional feeling, many modern spaces incorporate an island or counter-height worktable. Of the two options, islands are more versatile, providing additional options for under-counter storage. Islands can also incorporate prep sinks or ranges.

Beyond simply offering another place to chop carrots, the additional counter space makes it easier to move about the kitchen and actually look at all those guests you’re entertaining. Your island or table can also feature bar seating, further bringing the party to you.

Keep it simple: storage and design highlights

A one-wall kitchen doesn’t necessarily mean small, but the layout does come with its share of design challenges. Islands and worktables will go far to alleviate countertop strain, but you may still find yourself wanting for cabinet or shelving space that doesn’t visually close off the area.

Open shelving is a good way to add interest (and storage) while keeping the design light. Interior-lit, frosted glass cabinet fronts also work beautifully to open the space while hiding the clutter. If you do decide to use traditional cabinets, be sure to keep your finishes simple throughout, preserving clean lines and minimalist hardware.

While lighting is key to creating a visually open space, this is not the time for large and intricate fixtures. Look instead for simple, unobtrusive designs and investigate recessed or under-counter lighting to open up all dark corners.

And while you’re keeping the palette simple and lighting discreet, look for opportunities to accentuate your design with small pops of color in appliances, curtains, fabrics, and art. Just because you’re keeping your design simple, it doesn’t mean your one-wall kitchen has to be boring!