How to design the perfect U-shaped kitchen

Contemporary Kitchen in Huddersfield at Bradley, Twenty 5 Design Twenty 5 Design Modern kitchen
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To each his own, yet the results are in: most people prefer a u-shaped kitchen to other layouts. Also known as a c-shaped kitchen, a u-shaped kitchen layout comprises workspace on three adjoining walls of cabinetry, with an open end for access.  

For a small u-shaped kitchen, the opposing runs effectively become a galley layout, but with one end closed off. Although this galley format also works for larger kitchens, the workspace’s efficiency can be reduced if the opposing runs are set too far apart. 

But before you dial up a professional Kitchen Planner to come and completely renovate your culinary space, did you do your homework on u-shaped kitchen ideas? 

​1. The u-shaped kitchen: Pros and cons

Pros: As a u kitchen has three walls or cabinet sections, chances are good that you’ll have adequate storage space relative to your kitchen’s size. And seeing as your appliances will be closer together (especially in smaller layouts), moving from one spot to the other can be achieved quite quickly. Another advantage is that u-shaped kitchens are perfect for keeping the cooking zone separate from the living/dining areas.  

Cons: It’s very easy for the u-shaped kitchen to feel cramped because of how close those appliances are to one another. As a result, you may not have enough room to operate during meal prep, and cooking may not be a functional process for you. Cabinetry isn’t always easy to access due to corners. And an island is usually out of the question.

​2. The u-shaped kitchen: Planning your layout

The cabinetry forming your kitchen’s u-shaped layout can be roughly the same or vary in length; in both cases, there’s an opportunity for flexibility within the design. Where all walls are the same length (for example, 3m), your planning start point usually depends on where the windows are located.

But what if one of the walls has a window? Then we’d recommend pairing this with your kitchen sink. Not only will a window offer natural light for washing-up, but (hopefully) a fresh view as well.

​3. The u-shaped kitchen: Placing your sink and hob

If your sink is placed in the middle of the u-shaped layout, the hob can be located on either of the other runs. But if these two runs vary in length, it is recommended to place the hob on the longer one, which will allow more space on either side of it. 

If your sink is on a run other than the middle one, it’s best to try and ensure a continuous flow of worktop around the ‘u’. Thus, if your kitchen possesses tall units, this would mean locating them together at the furthest end of the cabinetry run. This would place them opposite, but along from the sink. Placing them in this format ensures that your worktop is not interrupted, and the kitchen’s functionality (in the form of a galley layout) is unhampered.

​4. The u-shaped kitchen: Employ symmetry

A u-shaped kitchen is the perfect opportunity for symmetry within a design (as long as it doesn’t compromise the kitchen’s usability). 

Usually, it’s advised to pick an appliance (like an oven or oversized extractor) for the midpoint of the central run. Then you work outwards, implementing furniture and appliances accordingly.

​5. The u-shaped kitchen: Hiding certain features

Another fantastic advantage of u-shaped kitchens is that they can be designed to ‘hide’ less-attractive components and/or appliances behind taller units. Think about how microwaves, sinks and other goodies are not always a kitchen’s best features. Wouldn’t the end result be more visually pleasing to keep these out of sight? This is particularly beneficial in an open-plan kitchen layout.

​6. The u-shaped kitchen: Maximising an efficient work zone

Regardless of size, a well-planned u-shaped kitchen design will ensure that only a limited number of steps are required between different units and appliances. This makes the kitchen a much safer place during cooking, especially when others are present. 

Furthermore, generous worktop- and storage capacity puts everything you need within easy reach, plus ensures all kitchenware has its own storage place. This results in a kitchen that can be tidied up in no time.

7. The u-shaped kitchen: Bring in corner storage

One of the best benefits of a u-shaped kitchen is that having three runs of cabinetry provides plenty opportunity for storage. However, the two corners in a typical u-shaped kitchen take up a significant amount of the available floor space. 

In order to achieve an ergonomically sound design, it’s important to select a specialist kitchen corner solution, such as a carousel or a LeMans corner unit. These make perfect use of otherwise dead space within corner units.

8. The u-shaped kitchen: Consider curves

A lot of homeowners that go for u-shaped kitchens request curves instead of square edges for the internal corners. Curved corners are perfect for creating a stylish, flowing design and softening a kitchen’s look. However, this design does come with a few drawbacks, mainly a reduction in storage space. 

Most curved units don’t continue fully into a kitchen’s corners and consequently reduce access and use of this space. This may not be an issue for larger u-shaped kitchens, but should be kept in mind when planning a smaller layout. 

More tips for your u-shaped kitchen: A long-term option

Build on your u-shaped kitchen layout’s functionality by designing a space that is perfectly accessible for a family’s long-term living. For instance, customise your countertop heights so the kids can help out, aim for at least 90 cm of pace for comfortably moving between appliances and cabinets, etc. 

More tips for your u-shaped kitchen: Open shelving

Since a u kitchen presents the most space for cabinets (as they can flank on a minimum of three sides), all those closed cabinet doors can make your cooking space seem and feel a tad restricted. So, break that monotonous look with some open shelving, which can also help keep your everyday items, like coffee mugs and dinner plates, close at hand. 

From your cooking space to your favourite outdoor zone, let’s see 24 creative ideas to use stone stylishly in your garden.

Do you vote ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ for the u-shaped kitchen?

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