With a good layout for your cabinets, what you get instead is somewhere where you can quickly and easily reach everything you will need. You can even sort your 'work zones' by theme. So the cabinets near the sink would be filled with cleaning products and the surfaces would house draining boards and the like; while the work zone that was nearest the cooker would have plastic fish slices and sivs to hand.
Exactly which walls you cover with your base cabinets though and how many walls you want to fill up will depend a lot on the room – how big it is, whether the walls are free or there's radiators, doors and stop taps in the way for instance. At the same time it will come down to personal preference and how much stuff you have to house in your cabinets.
There is another design for your kitchen cabinets though which are popular among modern kitchen cabinets – and that is the 'island' design. Here you can have as many work surfaces as you like and you can cover one, two or all four walls.