U-shaped kitchens often feature three walls of benchtops, cabinets, utilities and appliances and are popular designs with homeowners who do a lot of cooking or have a large family.
This design allows appliances to be placed throughout the kitchen layout, improving workflow and providing ample preparation space, easy access to all cooking and cold storage utilities, and extra storage spaces like cabinets and drawers for cookware and portable appliances.
Like all kitchen designs, U-shaped kitchens have pros and cons to their configuration. Read on to find out more.
Pros and cons of U-shaped kitchen
While the pros of a U-shaped kitchen outweigh the cons, it is vital in kitchen design to be fully informed before making a final design decision.
The pros of a U-shaped kitchen include:
- All appliances and cookware are within easy reach
- Can be made as big as the house design will allow
- The kitchen has optimal storage and appliance space
- Maximum flexibility in design configurations.
- Optimal benchtop and preparation space
- Allows for movement of more than cook
- Ability to add seating and dining space into the kitchen design
However, there are cons with a U-shaped kitchen design, which include:
More corner cabinets that risk inconvenient storage depth and under-utilised space
Requires more space within your broader home’s design.
A U-shaped kitchen renovation may require a wall with a window which can reduce overhead storage space
Read on to discover some different ways to configure a U-shaped kitchen with five popular U-shaped kitchen designs.
Standard U-shaped kitchen
A standard or “classic” U-shaped kitchen is generally defined by having three walls in an alcove of the house.
The U-shape is often a square design; however, some homes have a classic U-shape to their kitchen, possibly featuring a round bay-style window at the far end, often over the main sink.
The placement of the cooking utilities, like the oven, cooktop, dishwasher and refrigerator, can be placed anywhere within the U-shape. However, the home’s electrical design and plumbing may dictate where things need to be installed.
A standard U-shaped kitchen does not necessarily have even sides. A kitchen design is still considered U-shaped, even if the end of the kitchen is longer than the outside benches and cabinets.
It is common for a classic U-shaped kitchen to look close to an L-shape, with one side being merely a cabinet deep.
However, some kitchen designers may argue that this could be considered a peninsula-style design if no overhead cabinet is on the short side.
Peninsular U-shaped kitchen
A peninsular-style U-shaped kitchen has an open benchtop of varying lengths, often facing out to the dining or living area.
The countertops define this kitchen style’s aesthetic as they are the most visible part of the design, often featuring a natural stone such as granite countertops.
Some peninsular style U-shaped kitchens feature overhead hanging cabinets above the peninsular bench, creating a breakfast bench or diner-style serving area.
Sometimes, the U-shape made by the peninsular can break up the U-shape by allowing stool space for the bench on the inside edge by the wall.
Island U-shaped kitchen
For wider U-shaped kitchens, the design is perfect for adding an island, either in the centre of the kitchen or at the open end of the U-shaped configuration.
An island design offers even more preparation and storage space and more serving space if your household prefers a more smorgasbord approach to mealtime.
The island could feature more storage space underneath, have an overlap for stools, or could be wired and plumbed, providing utilities and appliances such as:
- A dishwasher
- An extra sink and facet
- Additional power points
- Rubbish and recycling units and more
A U-shaped island design also allows the integration of a portable, modular island featuring castor wheels which opens up a whole new world of kitchen utility.
For example, a portable island can double as a food trolley to make taking meals out to a dining area and clearing the table after meals significantly easier.
Angled U-shaped kitchens
Although the U-shape often restricts people’s vision to a traditional U-shape, you can also bring abstract shapes within the configuration, such as featuring 90° benchtops or a breakfast bench jutting out from the wall or the kitchens’ central hub.
There is no hard and fast rule to how you can design your angled U-shaped kitchen, and a quick search online will uncover a world of quirky, unique, bespoke designs custom made to people’s unique requests.
Angled U-shaped kitchen designs are often prevalent in architecturally designed homes and apartments that feature unique angles and wide-open spaces.
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Which is your favorite style of U-shaped kitchen? Do you use your kitchen enough to need the space? Or are you more of an “order in” kind of household?
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