Tips for U-Shape Kitchen Layouts

traditional white u-shaped kitchen
Take a lesson from these kitchens that efficiently use a U-shape layout to maximize storage and work space.

Seaside-Inspired Kitchen

A pass-through made this U-shape kitchen feel boxy and closed in. But by removing the cabinets above the peninsula, the kitchen was revived. With no other demolition or construction needed, the rest of the kitchen remodel focused on adding a unique and personalized touch to the cookie-cutter kitchen.

The Floor Plan

An efficient work triangle makes this kitchen highly functional. The back wall is devoted entirely to cleanup. Ample landing space on both sides of the range is ideal for meal prep. The pantry and refrigerator occupy the opposite wall, centralizing food storage.

Ocean Palette

Drawing influence from the beach, the kitchen's decor is ocean-inspired without being kitsch. A consistent palette of soft grays and dusty blues is soothing, while vibrant finishes add the pop. Sleek cabinetry lends a modern touch, as do stainless-steel appliances and drawer pulls. Semicustom cabinetry features, such as the frosted glass doors on the upper cabinets, are affordable ways to personalize a kitchen. Home centers and cabinetry stores offer a wide range of options at different price points.

Smart Kitchen Storage

Pullout wire drawers make the most of the storage space inside a cabinet that houses smaller items, which can easily become lost in the recesses of a deep cabinet.

Chic & Modern

Instead of traditional laminate or wood, these cabinet doors sport frosted glass fronts trimmed in stainless steel. The opaque glass contributes to the room's openness.

Cleanup Zone

With a clear distinction between prep areas (along the left and right walls of the kitchen) and the cleanup zone (along the back wall), this U-shape kitchen is ideal for multiple cooks to work simultaneously. This kitchen boasts a set of sleek dishwasher drawers, a high-end touch that is also efficient. With separate compartments, small loads can be run using less water.

Room with a View

A large window lets in plenty of natural light, which brings a sense of spaciousness to the kitchen. Reflective surfaces, such as the stainless-steel appliances and toe-kick below the cabinets, help reflect the light around the room.

Continuing the Theme

Real shells are embedded in the concrete backsplash, and mother-of-pearl accent tiles add a touch of sophisticated shimmer. Impressions of starfish were made by casting starfish into molds, which were then hand-stamped into the tile surface.

Blending Old & New

The concept of a homey farmhouse kitchen was given a contemporary twist in this sunny U-shape kitchen. Sleek surfaces and finishes are balanced with doses of cozy red and a traditional breakfast nook for gathering.

Optimized U-Shape Layout

The elongated U shape of the kitchen's work space accommodates a large island with the capacity for two barstools for gathering and counter space for working. A breakfast nook, a star feature of farmhouse kitchens, is given a contemporary twist with an angular configuration.

Centralized Cooking

The pro-style range was placed in the middle of kitchen's back wall to anchor the work triangle and is equidistance from the refrigerator to its left and the sink and dishwasher to its right. The countertop and backsplash are the same red quartz-surfacing. Using the same material for both creates a seamless look, fitting for the kitchen's contemporary aesthetic.

Smart Storage, Stylish Hardware

Long drawers next to the range are perfect for storing large pots and pans. The tubular stainless-steel handles lend a more contemporary look than traditional knobs.

A Hybrid of Styles

The clean lines of the gray cabinetry are spot-on contemporary, but the details, recessed panels and frosted glass doors, are an ode to traditional farmhouse style. Even the color -- modern gray with a hint of country blue -- is a balance between the two looks.

Center Sink

With such a distance between the refrigerator and the cleanup zone, a small sink in the island saves steps during meal prep. The centralized sink is perfect for washing fruits and vegetables and filling pots.

Kitchen Extras

A floor-to-ceiling pantry introduces more storage to the kitchen. The cabinets store infrequently used items, snacks, and extra staples outside of the kitchen's main work space. Also across from the work space, the light-filled breakfast nook has a comfy banquette, ideal for a morning cup of coffee or a cozy gathering spot.

A Cottage Kitchen

Plenty of fresh white and attention to detail melds this new home's kitchen with its Colonial America surroundings. The U-shape kitchen in a Massachusetts home overlooks the ocean and combines modern kitchen functionality with an aesthetic rooted in history.

Hardworking Kitchen Layout

The sink and dishwasher were placed in front of an expanse of windows overlooking the ocean. The island seating area was also oriented to the windows so family and friends sitting at the bar can take in the view, too. The microwave, range, and refrigerator were arranged together along the far wall to save steps between the three during meal prep.

Cozy & Intimate

To maintain privacy, windows were vetoed for the range wall because it faces a neighboring home. The blank wall provided space for an unbroken run of cabinetry for streamlined storage. It also allowed for the refrigerator and range to be positioned on the same wall, creating a convenient food prep area.

Simple Choices

All of the elements in this kitchen were chosen based on a desire for a simple and traditional space. The Shaker-style cabinets with inset doors and the white subway tile fit both of those requirements, as does the Impala Black granite countertop.

Light & Bright

Since U-shape kitchens are often closed in by two walls, ample light can make a not-so-open kitchen feel more spacious. A brighter space can be achieved by well-placed lighting or with natural light streaming in from large windows, like the solution implemented in this kitchen.

Kitchen Details

No matter the style, size, or layout of your kitchen, details can make the space sparkle. Choose features that fit your look, be it contemporary, vintage, or cottage. This high-arc, bridge-style faucet complements the historical vibe of the kitchen.

Countertop Planning

A countertop landing space inside the door provides a handy spot for unloading groceries and bringing in food from the grill on the adjacent porch. Consider using one of the sides of a U-shape kitchen for small appliances, such as a coffeemaker and toaster, giving them a designated spot and keeping them out of the central work area.

Space Planning

An open floor plan is a trendy choice, but this new home reverts to a more traditional separation of space between the kitchen and dining room. A half-wall with two handsome columns delineates the spaces while maintaining an open flow, and an ocean view from the dining room.

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