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How to Make U Shaped Kitchen Work for You: 4 Tips to Consider

Also known as a C shaped kitchen, a U shaped kitchen features a workspace surrounded by three walls of cabinetry with only one open end for access. Small U shaped kitchens can be space-efficient, versatile and feature a peninsula. They may also have kitchen islands or just enough space for the cook to do the work while the visitors sit just across the island.

While U-shaped kitchens are a popular layout, they also have some limitations homeowners should be aware of. In this guide, we walk you through the do’s and don’ts of U-shaped kitchens for a comprehensive understanding.

Pros and Cons of U Shaped Kitchen Designs

Pros and Cons of U Shaped Kitchen Designs

Every kitchen layout comes with a set of convenience and caveat. U shaped kitchens are no exceptions. As an ambitious homemaker who spends their hard-earned money on kitchen remodeling, you should know what to expect from your kitchen.

Broadly speaking, there are four key aspects you need to keep in mind while considering a U shaped kitchen layout. They are:

Remodeling Cost/Budget: Are U-shaped kitchens expensive to build? With the unbroken run of cabinets and countertops on three sides, you would need to install a lot of countertop and lots of cabinets too. Which means more upfront investment on cabinetry. Does your current kitchen remodeling budget account for it? Think about that.

Kitchen Efficiency: Are U-shaped kitchens efficient enough for cooking? It depends — if it’s a small kitchen, it may not enough elbow room for more than one cook at a time since it’s closed from three sides. However, this may not be an issue if you have a large kitchen with ample working area for multiple people. Moreover, the kitchen triangle formula may not work as the refrigerator may be placed too far away from the cooking area.

Kitchen Storage: Do U-shaped kitchens offer ample storage? Yes, most of them do. U-shaped kitchens feature three walls of cabinetry which means you have adequate storage space underneath the counter as well as off the wall. But it also means a more expensive kitchen in terms of cabinetry and accessories.

Kitchen Safety: Are U-shaped kitchens safe enough for your family? They are generally safe since there’s only one entrance and no through traffic. However,  there are always exceptions.

Here are a few points you need to consider while setting up a U shape kitchen.

U Shaped Kitchen Layout

U Shaped Kitchen Layout

The great thing about U shaped kitchens is that you can use a combination of cabinets, drawers and open shelving for a great overall kitchen ergonomics. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind for a better layout and more efficiency.

Kitchen Sink: While planning the layout of a U-shaped kitchen, you have a lot of flexibility depending on how much space you have and whether there is a window in your kitchen or not. If you have a window, then you can place your sink facing the window.

Range: The cooking range should be on one of the longer runs of a U-shaped kitchen to allow for sufficient countertop space on either side of it. There should be sufficient space between the opposing runs for the lower cabinets to be accessible. To make things functional, lower cabinets can be swapped for a set of drawers. Kitchen drawers can be a great way to store kitchen items of varying sizes such as plates, pans, pots, and cutlery.

Corner Storage: Lazy Susans will help you access inside your lower cupboards if you have them. The use of carousels or corner units ensures that there are no dead spaces within corner cabinets. These options make it easy to reach the backs of your cabinets.

Plumbing: Keep in mind that the water pressure of your faucet needs to be matched with your sink and tap if you don’t want to be sprayed with water every time you open the tap.

U-Shaped Kitchen Aesthetics

U-Shaped Kitchen Aesthetics

Pendant Lighting and Open Shelving: Pendant lighting in a large U shaped kitchen can help give the kitchen a focal point without affecting the open feel of the kitchen. For smaller U-shaped kitchens, open-shelving is a great way to give the kitchen a more spacious feel especially if the color shades are on the darker side.

Focus on Symmetry: U-shaped kitchens can offer the opportunity to achieve symmetry in kitchen design. You can start with an oven or range hood at the midpoint of the smaller run and then work outwards on the placement of furniture and appliances.

Hide Less Attractive Features: U-shaped kitchens can be designed in such a manner that some of the less attractive features of a kitchen can be hidden from view in an open-plan kitchen. A tall upper cabinet can be placed to hide a wall-mounted microwave in recessed shelf space.

U Shaped Kitchen Options

U Shaped Kitchen Options

One feature of U-shaped kitchens is how versatile they are. Here are a few ways you can improvise your U-shaped kitchens.

Peninsula: If you feel you need to accommodate some chairs in the kitchen area, you can do that with a U-shaped kitchen if one of the sides of your kitchen extends into open space. The lower cabinets would form a kitchen peninsula which can become a place for socializing if you add a few stools.

A peninsula is usually located on an end run or a side run but it is also possible for the peninsula to be situated on the middle run.

The dishwasher in U-shaped kitchens may be in the peninsula rather than next to the sink. Your sink or range may also be fitted in this area.

Island: U-shaped kitchens can feature islands but there should be at least 3 feet of the walkway between the cabinetry and the work surfaces so that people don’t bump into one another. The minimum room width needs to be 14 feet for this kind of design to be accommodated with optimum clearance around the island.

U-shaped kitchens can feature islands

If you are working within a tight space, you can adjust the sides of the ‘U’ accordingly.

Modern U-shaped kitchens can feature modern materials such as dark cabinetry and benchtops and the layout can comprise an ‘L’ shape and a freestanding island which adds one wall to complete the ‘U.’

U-shaped kitchens can feature islands with or without seating depending on the size of the kitchen though if the opposing runs are too far apart in such a U-shaped kitchen, it reduces the kitchen’s efficiency.

Finish: A dark finish for your kitchen might work for a U-shaped kitchen if there is sufficient natural light flowing in. You can also choose to go for a modern aesthetic of built-in appliances to achieve a sleek and contemporary finish.

Curves: Instead of straight lines, the kitchen’s internal corners may feature curves. This will create a stylish finish for your U-shaped kitchen though it will reduce the storage space.

So, is the U Shaped Kitchen for Me?

U-shaped kitchens provide generous countertop areas and storage space as also a lot of room for design flexibility. From featuring an island or a peninsula, a U shaped kitchen layout offers plenty of possibilities. Keep the aforementioned tips in mind before you decided on this popular kitchen design.

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