U-shaped kitchen design ideas & inspiration

Explore how U-shaped kitchens maximise space, placing everything at your fingertips for easy cooking.

Will a U-shaped kitchen design work in your home?

By using three walls instead of two, U-shaped kitchens make the most of your available space, providing extra work surface and storage. Before planning your U-shaped kitchen layout with your builder, consider how you will use your kitchen and the size of your room. 

  • A U-shaped kitchen provides uninterrupted work space and places everything you need close at hand, making it a great choice for adventurous chefs and busy families.
  • A U-shaped kitchen layout works in both large and small rooms. In a small U-shaped kitchen, your builder will allow for two metres of space between each side. In larger rooms, a U-shaped kitchen with an island will provide more space for cooking and socialising.
  • Your builder can help you explore many different U-shaped kitchen ideas, and can work alongside a kitchen designer to create a layout that will suit your home. Learn more about our free design service

Considerations when designing your U-shaped kitchen

Once you know a U-shaped kitchen layout will work in your home, think about how your new kitchen will look and function.

  • U-shaped kitchens benefit from a focal point at their shortest side, so add a hob or position this section below your window.
  • When planning a kitchen, your builder will create a ‘working triangle’ between your cooking area, food supply and sink. In a U-shaped design, each point of the triangle is placed on one of the three sides for ease of use.
  • A U-shaped kitchen can work even where there is a doorway within the ‘U’. Your builder can advise how best to fit a door into your layout.
  • Adapt your U-shaped kitchen design for a small kitchen by using wall units instead of base units. These shallower units can provide extra storage whilst taking up less floor space.
  • Consider the finish of your cabinet doors. Glossy finishes bounce light around the room, whilst matt is right on trend and easier to keep clean.
  • When choosing your cabinet door colour, remember that white and light greys can make a smaller kitchen feel more spacious. Natural lighting will further enhance the sense of space and ensure the kitchen is bright and airy. 

Customising your U-shaped kitchen layout

Your builder can make your layout unique with a few custom features.

  • Add breakfast bar seating to the third side of your kitchen to create a multi-functional spot for casual dining, catching up on work, or socialising with friends and family.
  • Illuminate your kitchen with clever lighting. If the space is well-lit, it will feel more welcoming and less crowded.
  • Choose open shelving rather than wall units to help your new kitchen seem more open.  

Five of our favourite U-shaped kitchens

We have picked five U-shaped kitchen designs to inspire you and your builder when creating your own U-shaped kitchen. 

1. Light and bright

In a smaller room, glossy finishes will enhance the sense of space. A lighter shade like Cashmere will help your U-shaped kitchen feel brighter. Plus a matching worktop and backboard will draw the eye through the room, making the kitchen feel even more spacious.  

2. Sociable seating

To create a sociable kitchen, your builder can add a bespoke seating area to one side of the ‘U’. Guests can gather here, letting conversation flow as you cook. Or the children can curl up with a book, so you can keep an eye on them whilst cooking.

3. Open and inviting 

Keeping wall units to a minimum will help your U-shaped kitchen feel more open. Ask your builder to create custom wooden shelving to house spices, crockery and recipe books. U-shaped designs can accommodate a doorway too, so you will not have to worry about structural changes. 

4. U-shaped and ultra-modern

The functional design of a U-shaped kitchen can be given a contemporary spin with floating units and sleek integrated appliances. Make your kitchen the main talking point with high gloss cabinet doors in Slate Grey, accented with copper and concrete. 

5. From coffee breaks to cocktails

By day a place for casual meals and catching up on work, at night your breakfast bar can become a spot to gather for drinks with friends. Keep your favourite bottles close at hand in an extra tall wine rack.

Take the first step towards creating your own U-shaped kitchen by contacting your builder, and together you can arrange a free design appointment with one of our local designers. Working closely with you and your builder, they can create a U-shaped kitchen design which works for your home and lifestyle.