When you’re designing your kitchen it can be tricky trying to figure out which layout to go for. There’s L-shaped, one wall, galley style, island kitchen or peninsula kitchens, to name a few. But no design is more practical than a U-shaped kitchen. If you’re someone who values a lot of cupboard space, then this is the choice for you! The layout of a U-shaped kitchen makes it flexible and well organised. Plus, it allows for free-flowing traffic – which is a huge bonus if you have a big family.
It should come as no surprise that within U-shaped kitchens there are so many different ways you can style it because it’s such a flexible layout. You can choose from any style, from Scandi through to industrial. So to help you make the right choice for your next kitchen renovation, I’ve pulled together my favourite U-shaped kitchen designs and ideas.
1. Pop of colour
Let’s begin with this pretty small kitchen with its wraparound blue cabinets. Isn’t this kitchen a beauty? I love the gorgeous light shade of blue. And the patterned tile splashback really pops against the blue. And how lovely is the charcoal feature wall? The tiny floating shelves are a practical (and visually attractive) addition to this kitchen!
If you have a tiny home, then you’ll understand the importance of optimising your space. The key to remember is to only include the things that you really need. The essentials should be a sink, stove and plenty of bench space. Everything else – like a fridge or microwave – should be incorporated in your cabinetry.
3. Classic white U-shaped kitchen
If you’re someone who likes to keep things simple while incorporating a bit of detail, the classic white kitchen is perfect for you. And there are so many ways to style it. My favourite way to spruce up a white kitchen is with a gorgeous tile splashback which really stands out!
Picking the right grout colour can make all the difference to how your tiles sit within your room. Maybe even consider regrouting if you’re thinking that you need a bit of a change.
4. Shades of grey
If you’ve ever thought that grey is boring, then I’m here to change your mind. Grey is the ideal colour for a kitchen, and you can incorporate multiple shades of grey with textures, patterns and even stainless steel appliances.
5. Tiny plant-filled corners
If you have a simple neutral colour scheme, then dress it up with plenty of greenery. This is a simple way to take your kitchen from boring to beautiful, and it doesn’t require much effort at all. The best thing is that you can swap the plants in and out as you like! Head over to this article on the best indoor plants for your home to make sure you get the right one.
6. Statement pendant light
Atmosphere is everything, no matter what the room! You spend a lot of time in your kitchen so you may as well make it feel like a cosy part of your home. One way to create a gorgeous glow is by installing a statement pendant light. It will not only be a huge standout but it will also cast just the right amount of light over the space, meaning it’ll be easier when it’s preparation and cooking time.
7. Around the stove
Something that I love about U-shaped kitchens is that they give you the opportunity to create symmetry. And one way to do this is by shaping your kitchen around your stove and rangehood.
8. White and timber
If you’re looking for a modern look that still incorporates a touch of classic style, then you’ve got to go with timber. It provides great contrast for shiny sleek stainless steel, softening it and warming up your space.
9. Open storage
Open shelving can really beautify a kitchen, making it feel very natural and free-flowing. If you choose an open shelving design, you’ve got to be prepared to keep it ultra-clean and tidy at all times. Because if this section is a mess, it’ll ruin the overall aesthetic of your brand new kitchen!
10. Light it up
You can never have enough lighting in your kitchen, and it’s especially important with a U shaped kitchen to ensure all the corners are well illuminated. Downlights are great for functional lighting, but for more inspo check out this article on kitchen lighting ideas.
11. Coastal blue U-shaped kitchen
Want to create a beach vibe without living by the beach? Go with a coastal blue design for your U-shaped kitchen. A pop of blue adds life and colour to any kitchen space.
12. Oak cabinetry
Oak cabinets are a great choice if you want a design that feels cosy and comfortable. Just add a slick tile splashback, which injects colour, life and a modern edge to the space. Plus, having a white floor will balance the oak and your tile colours by providing a cool touch.
Oak cabinetry looks great and would work with a lot of different types of kitchen splashbacks depending on your individual style.
13. Space-saving kitchen
If you have a small space, think about how you can make the most of it! The number one thing you’ll want to consider is storage and bench space. This U-shaped design does both of these things so well. There’s consistent, flowing bench space for preparation and lots of cabinets for keeping plates, bowls and other items out of sight!
14. Designer appliances
Nothing makes a kitchen more polished than the right appliances. For instance a Smeg fridge is a hot option right now. You can actually find it in all sorts of colours – from pale blue to pretty pink. But I love white! It looks especially beautiful with a grey kitchen.
15. Using the full-height
I mentioned how symmetry can be used to your advantage in a U-shaped kitchen. But you can also break it up by situating your fridge and tall cabinets on one side of the kitchen and surrounding the rest of the space with benches. This helps to improve your kitchen flow, as two-thirds of the kitchen is dedicated to food preparation, and the other third is all about food storage and organisation.
16. Clever storage
One of the biggest mistakes people make when designing their kitchens is they forget to incorporate enough storage space. It’s so important to have cupboards, shelves and drawers of all different kinds to keep all of your utensils, appliances and kitchenware tucked away! Take care to design a kitchen with lots of practical storage solutions.
17. Practical seating solutions
Big entertainer? You’re going to want more seats for when you have guests over! One way to create extra space is to make one side of your U-shaped kitchen a bar. Add stools around it and voila – you have room for your guests… or at the very least a spot to enjoy your morning coffee.
18. Neutral tones
Don’t like too much colour but still want a character-filled kitchen? No worries! Match neutral tones with gold tapware, timber shelving and a lush splashback for a picture-perfect finish.
19. Shiplap kitchen cabinets
If you want to create something different and sophisticated, then consider shiplap cabinetry. It’s the perfect, easy way to take your kitchen from basic to infused with character. I just love the clean lines! Getting a professional kitchen cabinet maker will make shiplap cabinetry easy to get installed.
Keep things chic and simple with a contemporary Scandinavian kitchen design. This is a style that will suit any home because the colour palette is so versatile. Think plenty of white, timber and other neutrals.
21. Dark and moody
If you want to use darker tones, switch things up a bit by using a pattern or texture like a strong wood grain in the benchtop – it adds a subtle layer of detail. And if you’re lucky enough to be able to expose some wooden beams, they do wonders to add a rustic touch and warmth to a dark kitchen.
22. Shades of green
This is a very calming small U-shaped kitchen. Why? Because of the colour choice! If peace, relaxation and tranquillity are at the top of your must-haves for your kitchen environment, then use shades of green to facilitate a calm space. Neutral shades are great on their own – but they really get to shine when paired with a soft complementary colour. Take this green, for example. The lacquered cabinets set this kitchen apart from other country-style spaces. And the white countertops and timber flooring add the perfect amount of brightness and warmth this space needs.
23. Timber kitchen
I’m obsessed with all timber kitchens – they instantly whisk me away to the countryside. I can just imagine cooking up a Sunday roast in an all-wood kitchen with a glass of red in hand! I love when timber has been used throughout a kitchen. For instance it might be wooden beams on the ceiling, timber benchtops, and a lovely old timber table that’s been repurposed as a handy kitchen island.
24. Floating shelves
Storage is the most important part of any kitchen and U-shaped kitchens should always optimise space! One simple way to do this is by installing handy floating shelves, like these ones. Fill them from top to bottom with your favourite plates, mugs, bowls – and really anything that looks beautiful!
25. Lavish finishes
If you have a larger kitchen space and a budget to match, consider how you can make your kitchen feel more luxurious. Simple elements like high-end appliances, silver hardware and ornate details will make all the difference.
26. Marble splashback
Speaking of luxe finishes, inject some serious style into your kitchen with a striking marble splashback. You can even use the same marble from the benchtop to wraparound your entire benches and up the walls. For a small kitchen, it will showcase great continuity and make the space feel larger.
27. Boxy style
A simple way to make your U-shaped kitchen ultra-modern is to use plenty of shapes and clean lines. Think sleek white cabinetry with a rectangular floating shelf and stainless steel appliances. If you’re thinking that this is the type of style for your kitchen. Here are more industrial kitchen designs.
28. Island in the middle
Ok, so this might be more of an island-style kitchen or a W-shaped kitchen but there’s no reason why you can’t put in an island in too. It will instantly add bench space so you have more room for preparing food. And you can also include handy cupboards and drawers to provide more storage.
Actually, if it’s storage you’re after, take a look at these nifty kitchen storage ideas – there’s bound to be one that will work in your kitchen.
29. Statement wallpaper
If you like your kitchen to make a statement then clashing colour and pattern might be for you. You could use a graphic wallpaper (yes, you CAN use wallpaper in a kitchen—see our article on kitchen wallpaper ideas you might like to add to your kitchen reno wishlist.
30. Ultra-modern kitchen
If you want to make your kitchen sleek and contemporary, then you can’t go past shiny black cabinets. This will instantly up your luxury factor and make your space look glam. And then take your modern kitchen design to the next level with an attention-seeking trio of oversized pendant lights.
There you have it, I’ve covered everything from classic country spaces to sleek, modern benchtops, to character-infused shiplap cabinetry, to tiny space-saving U-shaped kitchens, and so much more.
Now, it’s over to you! What type of U-shaped kitchen will you design? Comment and share your biggest takeaway. And if you have any other kitchen ideas, share them below!