1. Build full-scale models of cabinets and appliances from ½-inch plywood or cardboard.
2. Cut plywood to size to represent the countertops.
3. Set the mock components in the kitchen according to the desired layout.
4. Prop up the countertops with vertical 2x4s or sawhorses.
5. Rearrange the components to create the most appealing, practical design.
6. Test several layouts, including L-shaped, U-shaped, galley or introduce an island.
7. If necessary, cut down or enlarge components to best fit the space.