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L-Shaped vs U-shaped vs Island Kitchen

May 24, 2021

Remona Divekar

A well-planned kitchen layout is crucial to gaining an efficient, enjoyable space. Traditionally, kitchens come in various shapes, Kitchen Ideas finds out which shape suits which kitchen. 

One of the most important factors that define the design and functionalities of a kitchen is the shape of the kitchen. It should match with the client’s thoughts and at the same time meet the needs in terms of zoning and fitment of appliances, cabinets, accessories etc.

Prospective homeowners and interior design enthusiasts alike tend to gravitate towards different shapes to give the kitchen a modern, stylish appeal while taking care of the utility and convenience aspect.

While there are many shapes of layout for a kitchen, in a broader sense it can be categorised into three major categories – L-shaped, U-shaped and Island. However, it is not straightforward to say which is better; each has its own merits and demerits and the choice has to be made on a case-by-case basis. Let’s look at the pros and cons of preferring one layout over the other and try to assess which one is better in which type of kitchens.

L-shaped kitchens

L-shaped kitchens are good for single occupants as it makes the most of the space available while maximising the corner space. These types of kitchens provide open-concept cooking experience. Some designers are of the opinion that if layouts are considered as face value, L-shaped kitchens are the most island-friendly kitchen layout because of their spaciousness, sufficient counter and storage space, ensuring that the workspace is not crowded and is beneficial for households.

However, some interior designers are of the opinion that L-shaped islands may be larger and provide more preparation space that is not exactly an open-concept. It can hamper efficiency during meal preparation where the shape may seem to spread out and not necessarily maximise storage space, since corners tend to decrease accessibility. Additionally, interior designers observe, L-shaped kitchens often require more finishing material and they can carry a higher price tag than galley kitchens and U-shaped kitchens.

"The design and layout of the space is more inclined towards the user’s preference and their lifestyle. A straight kitchen of seven feet long can suffice a family of four. At the same time, a U-shaped kitchen can still fall short even if it has the highest storage capacity in comparison to L-shaped and single wall kitchens.

A parallel kitchen is recommended since L, U, C-shaped kitchens tend to waste space in corners. Although there are corner space storage modules available in the market, they are not that effective and are high on maintenance. In the Indian homes, there is a tendency of going overboard with the storage people fancy for, that is a big no."

Neelanjan Gupto


Neelanjan Gupto Design and Co

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U-shaped islands may be a chef’s dream with three walls of cabinetry and appliances – enough to increase the efficiency of the kitchen. Both highly functional and uber-spacious, U-shaped islands are the largest and most accommodating with an extra storage and workspace that can house more than one appliance if they are big enough but its sheer size can prove to be its biggest downfall.

Some homeowners find cooking and cleaning less efficient and may hate going the distance from one side to the other. These islands are bulky and can close off the kitchen from the rest of the home. Another problem with U-shaped kitchen is a peninsula bar and an island in the middle of the U. This layout also has a trapping effect.

For a larger kitchen with more space available and greater need for storage and a place to eat, the U-shape is perfect as it offers counters and workspaces on three walls and there is still an option of adding an island in the middle. Essentially, the U-shaped kitchen can offer the best of both worlds. It will have all the space required to make sure it can be used to its full potential – perhaps separating the cooking and preparation areas and giving an ample storage space, but the space in the middle is something the homeowners have to decide.