The U-shaped layout is the pinnacle of kitchen ergonomics. Read below to find out how to use it in large and compact spaces, open-plan homes, windowed and chimneyed rooms.
A smart peninsula unit
If you’ve opted for an open-plan layout in your home, you might be looking for a way to outline the kitchen area without building a wall or otherwise screening it. Provided that you have a large space at your disposal, consider a U-shaped kitchen featuring a peninsula unit. Such a smart contemporary design provides almost as much worktop and storage space as a traditional U-kitchen. However, one side of the “U” is shortened by half, thanks to which the kitchen area remains in full view.
An illusion of a U-shaped kitchen
This all-white compact kitchen gives a solid impression of a U-shaped layout. But if you have a closer look, you’ll notice it consists of a wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor pileup of cabinets and a couple of kitchen islands at the forefront. As you move around, the kitchen opens up, revealing a convenient walk-through between the islands and the high-level units. The all-white color scheme makes it difficult to distinguish the boundaries between surfaces, which is a smart trick of the eye to unify the kitchen design.
A compact dark-wood kitchen
If you strive for a bold small kitchen design, go for a U-shaped unit and a kitchen table made from dark wood. To balance off the interior, paint the walls in a pale color. Avoid high-level cabinetry, as a pileup of units will encumber the compact space. If possible, leave the walls completely bare or use minimalist wall decor. Such an individual approach will result in a fresh and cozy, one-of-the-kind kitchen interior.
A tiny yet ergonomic space
A very limited square footage can’t prevent you from having a convenient, ergonomic U-shaped kitchen. Start with a galley layout, then use the space along the short wall to situate a large appliance. In the photograph, it houses a range cooker. The U-shaped run of wall cabinetry works like a reflection of the floor-standing units, giving the kitchen a well-defined look. Besides, the slim wall-mounted cabinets help to put every bit of space to good use without encumbering the interior. The palette is dominated by the color white, which creates a feeling of spaciousness. The inserts of warm-colored wooden surfaces prevent the white kitchen from having a clinic-like, characterless look.
A breakfast bar
This is another idea of using the U-shaped kitchen layout in an open-plan home. The third side of the “U” was extended to form a breakfast station, which establishes only a subtle boundary between the kitchen and living areas. To make the integration even smoother, use one and the same type of flooring throughout the room. In addition, you may place a couple of kitchen-style shelves beyond the kitchen boundary.
A long and narrow U-shaped kitchen
Wonder if it’s possible to use the U-shaped kitchen layout in an inconvenient long and narrow space? It’s quite a challenge, although you can just use a run of storage units along the long wall and fit 1-2 small units at each of its ends. Even such a shallow shape does a great job at separating the cooking zone from the dining area. The artful play of glossy gray and matte beige vertical surfaces emphasizes the visual division of space.
A window as the anchor point
Pay attention to how the U-shaped scheme in this photograph unfolds around the wide window, making it the main focal point of the kitchen interior. The narrow strip of a net curtain is purely decorative and does little to prevent sunlight from pouring in. This highlights the beauty and harmony of the dark wooden worktops, the matte white finish, and the glazed tiling. The wood finishing of horizontal surfaces introduces a rustic hint, making the pale color scheme appear warm and cozy.
Working with a compact space, it’s reasonable to replace one side of the U-shaped run of storage with a kitchen island. You’ll still enjoy the look of a U-shaped kitchen while making a better use of the available space. A small kitchen doesn’t mean there’s room only for the essentials. Don’t be shy to introduce something that reflects your personality, such as a parade of houseplants on the windowsill.
Rich in colors and patterns
Need to open up your U-shaped kitchen a bit? Refuse from wall cabinets in favor of open shelves at least on one wall. This trick works particularly great when the lightweight shelves are adjacent to a massive unit, such as the oven housing in this photograph. Take notice of the subtle contrast between the pale green tone of the cupboards and the beige walls and worktops. It draws additional attention to the partial absence of heavy cabinetry. The occasional spots of dark pink in the form of accessories and decorations brighten up and enliven the interior.
Planning around a chimney
A window alone may be difficult to plan around in a U-shaped layout but what if the design task is additionally complicated by chimney breasts? When tackled properly, these challenging elements transform into eye-pleasing features. This chimney charmingly incorporates a cooker hood, hob, and oven. The way the wall and floor-standing units fit around the alcove fills the kitchen space with character. And the subdued gray-green color of the wall finish doesn’t draw attention away from the cream-white cabinets and wooden worktops.