U Shaped Kitchen Designs, Ideas & Layouts

U Shaped Kitchen Designs, Ideas & Layouts

A U-shaped kitchen is one of the most adaptable kitchen layouts in any residential project, perfect for mid-size and large spaces. Its comfortable design provides ample storage and working zones since you're surrounded with benchtops for easy cooking and prepping.


The U-shaped kitchen adapts the principles of the work triangle, which allow you to move conveniently between your refrigerator, cooktop, and sink. This kitchen layout is considered by designers as the most efficient plan since the work triangle provides the privacy you need for cooking.


The U-shaped kitchen plan benefits

A U-shaped kitchen allows two or more people to operate within the confined space at the same time, especially if you have a huge family to feed. The entire working space seems large enough to keep the people out of your way while preparing meals. Consider utilizing the extra side with an island kitchen where it can separate your kitchen from the dining area. Having benchtops on all sides allows for more comfortable working spaces while making your kitchen essentials accessible to you.


While U-shaped kitchen offers you an ample amount of working zones, it also has its own disadvantages. Expect your wall area to reduce when you install cupboards and base cabinets on three sides. Your kitchen will appear "enclosed" since the installed cabinets will make it look smaller. In case of a large U-shaped kitchen design, your work stations will likely become too far from each other.


Practical design ideas for utilizing a U-shaped kitchen


1. Consider a U-shaped kitchen for smaller spaces

Having a U-shaped kitchen can effectively make any limited space seem bigger while allowing you to maximize all available storage and working zones.

Complement your small kitchen space with different storage options like cup hooks, open shelves, tension rods, hanging cabinets and ceiling racks. But make sure to locate these hardware accessories on strategic locations close within your reach. It's also suggested to use white and gray tones to utilize the presence of ambient lighting around the kitchen.


2. Incorporate a U-shaped kitchen into mid-size and larger space

Having a U-shaped kitchen is a perfect way to get the most of your available open spaces, particularly in an open plan layout. Locate your kitchen at a corner wall with one side to be used as an island kitchen. While it may function as another benchtop, the island kitchen creates a subtle separation between the kitchen and the dining area. Since you have a luxury of space, try experimenting on color contrast, material variations, and lighting adaptations.


Black granite, for instance, will look great with white and gray cabinets if you install it as a countertop or finished flooring. Your choice of lighting fixtures can also create a beautiful reflective look when the light hits the natural stone. An adequate space also enhances the work triangle within the U-shaped kitchen, allowing more movements from one station to another. Aside from this, the inclusion of breakfast bar, kitchen trolley, and other functional furniture can create a visual connection between two individual zones.


3. Utilize all potential storage options

Opting for a U-shaped kitchen plan will definitely provide endless storage opportunities for you. If possible, maximize all three sides with different storage options like corner shelving units, overhead storage, open shelving units, and base cabinets. But try calculating the appropriate amount of storage in order to reduce unused spaces. Though cabinets are important for everyday cooking, they should only be installed on strategic positions to prevent making your kitchen look crowded and enclosed.


4. Install pendant lighting or spot lighting to add emphasis

There's always the main attraction in any kitchen. Installing pendant lighting enables you to create a focal point whether your main attraction highlights the cabinets or a cooking range. In a bigger scale, it automatically creates a design impact that allows your entire kitchen to become the central attraction within an open plan layout.


5. Carefully select the right tiles for a small U-shaped kitchen

Tiles can make a huge difference in enhancing the kitchen atmosphere and your kitchen's overall appearance. Considering light-shaded tiles is suitable if working with a defined U-shaped kitchen. For this, opt to install ceramic or natural stones like granite and marble to make your limited space look brighter and larger. Fortunately, tiles can installed as flooring, countertop, and backsplash or perhaps cabinet side walls.


6. Select your desired U-shaped kitchen style

Once you're done with essential elements such as cabinet layout, lighting, and material finish, pick out the style or kitchen theme that suits your personality. You need to consider how the individual cabinets, counters, and appliances you've decided for each zone will work together. Here are popular kitchen styles available to complement the interiors of your U-shaped kitchen:


  • Contemporary kitchen

This incorporates the use of neutral colors, flat lines, sleek profiles, and metal accents, complementing the "fuss-free “details of your dining furniture near the kitchen.


  • Traditional kitchen

This style features warm colors, symmetrical lines, extensive wood detailing and casual decorative elements, ready to provide a classic or country-style feel. It also features high-glossy surface finishes which are great to reflect light more effectively.


  • Transitional kitchen

This style employs the beauty of neutral colors and variations of material textures. Unlike traditional style, this kitchen theme displays minimal accessories, sleek cabinetry profiles and focus elements.


  • Modern kitchen

Modern style integrates the use of natural lighting, high windows with no prominent details and "exposed" structural elements such as columns and beams left unfinished. This also features horizontal and vertical lines that lack the elements of curves.


7. Decide for the base color of your U-shaped kitchen

Colors aren't just part of decorative features, but also an essential element to give your kitchen a distinctive character. They also distinguish the kitchen as a separate zone within an open plan layout. You can use similar colors in furnishings from other living spaces to create a subtle connection across open space. Consider using white as your primary color since it can reflect light more effectively while leaving a lasting impression of "spacious" for you.


Decorative elements like cornice, wood veneer and cabinet moldings can help diffuse the brightness of the white color. Alternatively, you can use gray colors which may also provide the same cozy atmosphere you get from white. In addition, cream colors may be suitable for classic or country-style kitchen look. But if you want to make a striking impression, then go for a black-and-blue combination which often complements the modern lifestyle.


There are many benefits of having a U-shaped kitchen, especially if you're remodeling an open plan layout. With this plan, the work triangle is fully utilized while providing you the needed storing options to keep your valuable appliances secure and accessible. No matter what plan you choose, the most important consideration is that you'll be able to socialize with friends and family members comfortably.

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  • Dale Basilla
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