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15 Practical and Easy U-Shaped Kitchen Designs and Ideas

U-shaped kitchen design ideas

The U-shaped kitchen design has a layout with three adjacent countertops that looks like the letter ‘U’ when seen from a plan.

This kitchen layout is one of the most popular options seen in homes because they provide a lot of storage space and work best for the kitchen triangle concept.

If you’re designing or remodelling a U shaped kitchen, here are 15 unique designs and ideas you could get inspired from to give your kitchen that sleek look and yet maintain its functionality:

1. Play with flooring levels

Flooring ideas for a U shaped Kitchen
@mprmdesignbuild, @thepramshed : Instagram

Most of the time, flooring is not given the importance that it requires, especially in interior spaces.

One technique that can enhance the look of your kitchen flooring is to play around with different flooring levels.

It creates both a kind of connection as well as a separation from the other surrounding spaces in your home. It helps in specifically zoning different areas of your home like the kitchen.

Your kitchen can be a level below or above based on the different design parameters of your house. The level difference provided can also be further enhanced by using specific materials.

2. Use complementary colours

Cabinets for a u shaped kitchen
Andre Francois Mckenzie on Unsplash

U-shaped kitchens work well when the upper and lower cabinets have complementary kitchen colours.

A U-shaped kitchen can work well with any shade of colours from light to dark to bright, so you get to choose shades that you prefer and also shades that go along with the rest of your spaces.

Colour combinations like blue-white, black-grey, black-beige, wood tones-white, beige-white, red-white, multicoloured or only white work perfectly for U-shaped kitchens.

3. Using one side as a breakfast counter

U Shaped Kitchen Counter Design Idea
Christian Mackie on Unsplash

A U-shaped kitchen has three countertop surfaces that can be used efficiently, and one of the parallel countertops could also be used as a breakfast counter.

This kitchen design idea is very feasible in terms of an open U-shaped kitchen where you can place some stools next to the countertop and arrange it like a breakfast counter.

You could also decorate it with some pendant lighting and make the space look inviting for some socialising.

4. Make use of lighting

Use of lighting in a small U shaped kitchen
Bilal Mansuri on Unsplash

Investing in good lighting fixtures is very important for the functionality of your kitchen.

Good kitchen lighting also enhances the materials, finishes, and colours that are incorporated in your kitchen design.

Recessed lighting can be used as ambient lighting to just highlight the overall space.

Work areas like the prep area, sink, and hob can have specific task lighting for better concentration.

You could also enhance the look of your kitchen by providing cabinet lighting which focuses on cutlery, and as mentioned before pendant lighting can be used over breakfast counters or even for decorative purposes over any countertop.

5. Choose between symmetry and asymmetry

example of a u shaped kitchen design layout
Collov Home Design on Unsplash

U-shaped kitchens have a symmetrical layout because of which most homeowners opt for this.

However, you can make your kitchen look interesting by choosing an asymmetrical design or you can still opt for a symmetrical design.

You can design opposite sides of this layout differently and still manage to have that balance between aesthetics and functionality.

If you wish to combine two or more design styles then an asymmetric arrangement would be the best option.

6. Add indoor plants

Plants in a u shaped kitchen design
Al Kawasa on Unsplash

If your kitchen receives a good amount of natural lighting then having some indoor plants would be an excellent option.

Indoor plants help in keeping the air inside clean and fresh, and it is also the best way to bring nature into your personal space.

Growing a few spices and herbs would be helpful for the user of the kitchen as well. You could hang a few of these plants near the window or just place them near a window to brighten up your space.

7. Kitchen islands

Island design in a u shaped kitchen
Designer Vaishali

If your kitchen is large enough, you can fit in a kitchen island at the centre that can be used for multiple purposes.

It can act as a dining table, prep area, storage area, or just a central table with chairs around for socialising; just like a classy look you always find a kitchen magazine.

The design of this island can be matched with the rest of your kitchen and can also be decorated with another set of perfect lighting.

If you have a small U-shaped kitchen, you need not worry, you can still place a table of any suitable size and still enjoy the same functions without compromising on the circulation space.

8. Choose an appropriate kitchen style

luxury u shaped kitchen
Sidekix Media on Unsplash

There are a wide range of kitchen design styles you can choose from like Traditional, Contemporary, Modern, Rustic, Eclectic, Farmhouse, Industrial, Mid-century modern, Mediterranean, Minimalistic and many more.

The choice of your kitchen style can also sometimes depict your personality and taste.

You can opt for different finishes and materials based on the style of your kitchen.

If you’re open to mixing and matching, then you could also combine two or more of these styles to come up with a customised design style.

9. Experiment with the tiling

small u shaped kitchen tiling
Ugur Akdemir on Unsplash

Selecting the right flooring for your kitchen can be challenging because it has to be appealing as well as practical and durable at the same time.

There is a range of tiles available today in the market that come in different sizes, patterns, colours, and materials.

Some of the unique tiling options are black and white tiles, black patterned tiles, ceramic patterned tiles, stone-like tiles, mosaic tiles, oversized tiles, hexagon tiles, glossy tiles, raw brick floors, wooden floors and mixed kitchen floors.

You can opt for a flooring option that is durable and works well for your kitchen in terms of aesthetics.

10. Invest in integrated appliances

Appliances ideas for a u shaped kitchen
Kam Idris on Unsplash

Integrated kitchen appliances not only give your kitchen a sleek and sophisticated finish but also has space-saving advantages.

Since U-shaped kitchens have a lot of cabinet storage space, you could accommodate most of your appliances in an integrated format and save some space.

Freestanding appliances take up your circulation space as well, because of which you cannot move around easily in your kitchen, but with integrated appliances, your kitchen can get a stylish and practical makeover.

11. Use different materials

U shaped kitchen idea materials
Clayton on Unsplash

With a U-shaped kitchen, the materials you can use are vast because you get to experiment and choose different options.

You can mix and match different materials and finishes to come up with your very own personalised design that has no limitations.

A few of the most popular options for kitchen finishes are Plywood, MDF, HDF, Laminates, Stainless steel, Veneer, Lacquer, Acrylic and Glass.

You could use two or more of these materials that come in different colours and patterns. More can be learnt on our kitchen ideas magazine website.

12. Install open cabinets

open cabinets example in a u shaped kitchen
Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash

U-shaped kitchens generally have a lot of storage space and can accommodate an adequate number of cabinets.

Instead of stacking up block type cabinets all around your kitchen, you could install open cabinets of different shapes and sizes too.

These open cabinets would be an even better option if they are narrow for ease of use. Having different kinds of storage options would make the design of your kitchen interesting and unique.

13. Accessorise it evenly

small kitchen u shaped design layout ideas
Uliana Kopanytsia on Unsplash

Since U-shaped kitchens are spread out evenly in a large space, it makes the design stand out better only when the décor and accessories are also planned and spread out evenly.

The kitchen is generally considered the heart of a home where you must add a unique personal touch.

You can decorate your kitchen with some photo frames or with some photographs that you have clicked. You can also create a centrepiece with a vase, candles, wine bottles, artwork, cookie jars, and bottle openers.

14. Glass partitions on prep countertops

large u shaped kitchen layout
@roundhouse_design: Instagram

Sometimes just like how different spaces in your house require partitions, spaces within your kitchen can also require partitions.

You can divide countertops with glass partitions to zone different activities or to separate wet areas from dry areas.

You can also use glass partitions on the outer edge of countertops in an open U-shaped kitchen to avoid splashes and a mess.

There are various types of glass partitions you can choose from like framed, frameless, French, textured, patterned, and tinted. Another advantage of installing a countertop glass partition is noise reduction.

15. Plan it around a large window

small indian u shaped kitchen design ideas
Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash

Planning a U-shaped kitchen or any kitchen for that matter around a large window frame gives you a huge advantage in terms of ventilation and natural light.

In Indian kitchens, we use a lot of spices that can fly around your kitchen and stick on surfaces and this could be avoided if your kitchen is provided with a large window frame that can keep all your cabinets, appliances, and countertops free from dust and spices.


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