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A u-shaped kitchen is a highly coveted layout for a househunter since they offer so much space for cabinetry. The u-shaped layout places units around the cook on three sides with the top of the ‘u’ left open for a doorway or an open plan living room. U-shaped kitchens can be combined with dining areas or even a kitchen island if the width of the room allows. An open plan room often presents the opportunity to make one arm of the ‘u’ into a peninsula that can be accessed from both sides, such as for use as a breakfast bar or as a dual sided storage volume. Find all this and more in this inspirational gallery.
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- Visualizer: Julian Malik & Magdalena Tutak-Malik
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U-shaped kitchen ideas – for ultimate efficiency at your fingertips
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The versatility of this classic layout means it will work no matter what the size, shape of style of the kitchen
These clever U-shaped kitchen ideas offer something for every space, no matter the size. The design is probably the most practical of layouts and can provide an additional run of potential storage or appliance space compared with a galley kitchen or L-shaped kitchen.
U-shaped kitchens can work in large spaces, but even small kitchens can benefit from a U-shaped design. Just be sure you have at least two metres of moving-around space between the opposite banks of units.
The design concept of the ‘golden triangle’ is a natural fit with a U-shaped kitchen layout. When designing your space, keep your fridge, cooker and/or hob and sink between 120cm and 270cm away from each other.
This will make for a practical, time-efficient and safe use of your space, something that is harder to achieve in longer, galley or L-shaped kitchens, for example.
Be guided by the size of your room and the light levels when deciding on the look, style and colour of your kitchen. In a smaller space with a central window it may pay to stick to a largely white scheme.
Modern hi-gloss units will help to keep light levels up as will glazed tiles and stainless-steel surfaces. Larger kitchens may be more able to handle deep colour, dark wood finishes and even hits of pattern.
U-shaped kitchen ideas
1. Keep it smart
Image credit: Lizzie Orme
The peninsula unit is a great tool for creating a U-shaped kitchen within a larger space. This smart modern design features conventional units along one wall and one window. It also has a peninsula that continues the run of storage and worktop space without the need for a third wall.
Keeping the space open along one side like this is a great solution for open-plan areas where you want to define a kitchen without screening it from view.
2. Think minimal
Image credit: David Giles
This impressive white kitchen has the look of a U-shaped design, while incorporating a walk-through in front of the high level units along the back wall.
In essence, this design consists of two islands and one wall of floor-to-ceiling unit. By choosing white for cabinetry, ceilings, walls and floor, the boundaries between surfaces blur. This gives the impression of a compact U-shaped design that gradually opens up as you move around.
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3. Go dark
Image credit: Paul Raeside
If you are looking for kitchen-diner ideas, a U-shaped design is well worth considering. Depending on your space, it may be easy to incorporate a table and chairs at the opposite end of the U shape.
Consider matching tabletop and worktops for a tailored look. Be bold in a small space, with dark-wood kitchen units and bare white walls. If you can pare back cupboards to the minimum, you may find you have capacity for a table and chairs.
This smart kitchen has a look all of its own and demonstrates a very individual approach to kitchen design, making the space feel fresh and special.
4. Work a small space
Image credit: Lizzie Orme
Turn a galley kitchen into a U-shaped kitchen by using the third, short wall to house an appliance, such as the range cooker shown here.
Continue the run of wall units on this third wall for a defined, well designed space that makes the most of all available space without feeling cramped. This is helped by a predominantly white colour scheme tempered by the warmth of wood.
5. Set up a breakfast station
Image credit: Neale Smith
Extend a worktop to form a worktop-level breakfast bar and the third side of a U-shaped kitchen. Like a peninsula, a breakfast bar can extend a kitchen space out into the centre of a room, free from any walls.
Integrate kitchen and living areas with the use of a single floor treatment and by introducing elements of kitchen storage outside the boundaries of the kitchen. The open kitchen shelving idea shown above stores a collection of wine and water glasses.
6. Think outside the box
Image credit: Rachael Smith
Even a long narrow space can be home to a U-shaped kitchen: just fit one or two units at right angles at each end of your main bank of storage.
This forms a very shallow U shape, but a U shape nonetheless and it’s a design that defines the practical kitchen area from the wider eating and entertaining area beyond. The play of hi-gloss cabinet fronts and veneer carcasses helps to further define this division.
7. Plan around a window
Image credit: Colin Poole
In this U-shaped kitchen, a wide window is the central anchor point of the scheme, filling the space with light and showing off matte-finish units, rich wood and glazed tiles in their best light. The use of wood finishes on the floor and worktops brings a warmth and cosiness to an otherwise pale decorating scheme and adds a rustic edge.
8. Introduce an island unit
Image credit: David Giles
In a small space, you may prefer to have the look of a U-shaped kitchen while swapping out one long run of units on one side for an island unit. This may make your space more useable and is especially useful if your kitchen incorporates a back door. Don’t be afraid to showcase your personality in a compact room. Here, an array of houseplants add a homely touch.
10. Add colour and pattern
Image credit: Colin Poole
Swap wall units for open shelves on one side of a U-shaped kitchen and it will help to open up the space a little, especially next to a full-height cabinet, such as oven housing. Using a contrasting wall paint will help to highlight the absence of cabinetry. Pops of red and pink on small appliances, kitchen linen and accessories enliven this predominantly green kitchen colour scheme.
11. Add character
Image credit: Alexander James
While chimney breasts and windows can prove tricky to design a U-shaped kitchen around, tackled well they can turn into design features in their own right.
The integration of a hob, oven and cooker hood into this chimney and the fit of base and wall units around the adjacent alcove and window spaces bring oodles of charm and character to this space. A lovely warm green on walls makes the perfect backdrop to country-cream units and oak worktops.
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What are you waiting for? Get planning your ideal U-shaped kitchen now!
The first part of our U-shaped gallery was huge wasn’t it? I hope you found some eye candy in there. In part two here we grouped together the smallest kitchens we could find.
The two most important tips I can give you for designing small spaces is to never use lot’s of dark colors. They absorb the light and make the space feel even smaller.
Use medium to light tones with lot’s of lighting anywhere you can get it. Recessed in the ceiling and under cabinet lighting are two of the most popular options but consider strip lighting above the cabinets that shines up the wall too if your cabinets don’t go all the way to the ceiling.
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Enough talk. Here are the pictures.
Making efficient of of a small kitchen in a condo.
That table looks lonely. I would have preferred more counter space and found seating someplace else.
I really like this backsplash.
This smaller space works much better than most larger ones.
Keeping it simple with a splash of color really works well.
I've never seen a stainless farmhouse sink before. I like it.
Not a dream kitchen but a more realistic one.
Thanks the designer for turning this drab kitchen into something special. src
I like the frosted glass on the upper cabinets.
I have never seen a soapstone counter that I didn't like.
Classic New England. Right down to the fresh snow outside.
I think there are a couple more inches usual between the countertop and upper cabinet helping to make the room seem a bit more open.
With small spaces like this there's no excuse not to have the appliances laid out in the classic work triangle.
The sconces on the far wall are a nice touch and draw you into this space.
This is one of my favorites in the entire collection. The green and brown work so well together. I might be partial since green is my favorite color.
Is having the back door open while taking the picture supposed to make the room feel larger?
A little herringbone at the backsplash works for me.
If it's possible, go with an open concept for a small u-shaped kitchen.
Matching the stools to the appliances is a nice idea.
Adding shelves where you don't have the room for cabinets will help keep counters from getting cluttered.
Updated: September 30, 2015Sours: https://countertopinvestigator.com/21-small-u-shaped-kitchens/
U Shaped Kitchens
By Meg Escott
Let's jump straight in and take a look at design options for u shaped kitchens.
The idea of this page, and others in the kitchen layout ideas section of this site is to concentrate on kitchen layout options, and save you spending hours browsing through interiors photos with different looks but similar layouts.
For all the layouts below there would be some flexibility for location of appliances. See How to Design a Kitchen for info on placing your appliances.
This page forms part of the kitchen design layout series on house plans helper.
Thin U shaped kitchens
Here's a basic kitchen to start - surrounded by walls / window. This kitchen layout would have 42 - 48 inches (107 - 122cm) between the facing aisles. Read more about aisle widths. The sink is often placed beneath the window. If the window was in another position the position of the appliances could easily be swapped.
One of the main variations on this kitchen is if one of the tails of the U shape becomes a peninsula. The peninsula might be single, 1½ width or double width.
In the layout below the peninsula has cabinets hanging from the ceiling to provide more storage.
Here the peninsula has been made wider to provide seating and the overhead cabinets have been dropped.
Mid Size U Shaped kitchens
Here's a mid size kitchen. The distance between facing aisles here would be up to around 6ft (183cm) which means there's plenty of room for two cooks.
Your kitchen might fit a U shaped kitchen with short tails.
Or you could build this kitchen into an alcove. In this design you can have an open or self-contained kitchen depending on whether or not the pocket door(s) are open or closed.
Kitchen design layout sometimes requires trading off counter space for storage. If you're short on storage space in your kitchen, one of the tails of the U can be a wall of three quarter or full height kitchen cabinets, either full depth or half depth.
I guess you could make the base of the U full height cabinets as well!
If you've got space for a mid to large U shape, it's also worth considering a G shaped kitchen.
Large U shaped kitchen
As the U shape grows larger, there's room for a kitchen island floor plan or a farmhouse kitchen. It becomes necessary to keep the appliances in an L shaped kitchen configuration so that the appliances don't get too far apart.
In the farmhouse kitchen layout below, the distance between the facing aisles is at least 8ft (2.44m) plus the width of the table. Read more about table clearance.
In this type of kitchen layout there's already sufficient counter space around the appliances so the other side of the U can be used for three quarter or full height kitchen cabinets.
More Unusual U Shaped Kitchens
Not all corners are necessarily 90 degrees...
Most of the time when I see a 45 degree (or any other angle for that matter) kitchen I always try to see if a standard U shape would fit better. The 45 degree design fulfills the purpose of filling up extra space with kitchen space but it isn't as efficient to use. For example I'd change the arrangement above into a mid size standard shape with a 1½ width or double width kitchen peninsula.
Imagine a lovely bay window or open plan loft with this arrangement. Wall cabinets would be in short supply and drawers are hard to implement in the base cabinetry because of the curve - but sacrifices have to be made for beautiful shapes.
The main goals of good kitchen design layout are to...
- Have sufficient counter space.
- Have sufficient storage. Have a look at some different kitchen storage solutions and kitchen storage ideas.
- Have an effective layout, including a kitchen triangle (I call it a kitchen polygon!)
- Have the right amount of ‘preparation privacy’ for you. That’s the amount of physical and visual privacy from the dining area and the rest of the home.
So now that we’ve had a look at all the layouts let’s discuss how these kitchens perform in relation to the kitchen design layout goals.
I have to say that thin to mid u shaped kitchen designs are my favorite, and in my opinion the best layout where, for the most part, there's one cook preparing food. Everything is within easy reach, there's loads of counter space and storage and I feel kind of protected as I'm cooking - it's my area and there's no need for anyone else to be there. Although help with clearing up is always welcome!
The standard U shaped kitchen has great counter space because there are two corners of counter space.
Lower cupboard space
Again the corners make storage so there’s tons of lower cupboard space. It is important though to get kitchen storage solutions that make access to the corner cupboards easy.
Upper cupboard space
Even if you choose to have one edge of the U as a peninsula into the room you have the option of putting in upper cupboards that hang down.
Kitchen Layout Effectiveness
The beauty of a U shaped kitchen is that the stove, sink and refrigerator will tend to be on different branches of the U making it a very efficient space. If the design is a fairly thin U shape – say 42 - 48 inches (or 1.07 - 1.22m) of floor space between the units then you’ve got one of the most effective work spaces there is for one person. I think it’s important that the refrigerator and any self service activities are placed at the tip of one of the tails of the U otherwise they will interfere with the cooking activity. This shaped kitchen becomes inefficient (too far to walk) when the units become too far apart, say at 8ft or 2.44cm.
If the end of the U shape is open to the eating area or other area of the home the U shaped kitchen isn’t great for privacy.
If one of the sides forms a peninsula between the kitchen and the eating area then the u shaped kitchen can be made to quite private, particularly if a the peninsula includes a section at bar height to shield the counter top from view.
For the cook, the U-shape tends to by physically private even if the arrangement might not be visually private. A full U-shape doesn't go anywhere and there's no island for kids to run round so the cook is unlikely to have to contend with too many unwanted visitors.
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