A U-shaped kitchen is defined by three connecting walls of cabinets and countertops, which create a shape like The-letter ‘U’ when viewed from above. These types of kitchen layouts can also go by the name of ‘horseshoe’ kitchens because of their similar shape.
This is a layout that is very common, especially in older or more traditional style homes, though it is still popularly used in modern homes because it ticks a lot of boxes in terms of storage space, countertop space, and ease of use.
Here we look at the advantages and disadvantages of these types of layouts, along with examples of U-shaped kitchens.
Pros of U-Shaped Kitchens
As these types of kitchens cover three walls, they offer a generous amount of storage space. If storage is an important factor in your kitchen, you could look at the possibility of having both base and wall cabinets to maximize cabinet space or consider a wall of floor-to-ceiling tall cabinets in your U-shaped kitchen.
Ample Countertop Space
One reason people love U-shaped kitchens is the amount of countertop space it provides. With three walls of countertop surface, there is sufficient space for baking, and food preparation, as well as plenty of room for countertop appliances to be kept, such as a toaster, a coffee machine, a blender, and a kettle.
In a U-shaped kitchen, you will have everything you need for food preparation within close proximity, as when you are standing in the middle of the ‘U,’ you will be surrounded on three sides by kitchen storage and countertops.
This makes the room a more functional and efficient space as you won’t need to be walking back and forth from one end of the room to the other every time you need to grab something out of a drawer or cabinet.
The great thing about U-shaped kitchens is that they can work in open-plan spaces or in single-use rooms. If you like this kind of floor plan, then you will most likely be able to make it work in your home because it will work in so many different types of room shapes.
In an open plan design, for example, in a kitchen diner, you can use one wall of the ‘U’ as a separation between the kitchen and the dining room area to help define the spaces. In a single-use room, you can fit the U-shape to the size of the room so that three of the four walls are covered with kitchen cabinets.
Cons of a U-Shaped Kitchen
Corner Cabinets Required
Some people like to avoid using corner cabinets in their kitchens because they can be awkward to use, but in a U-shaped kitchen, they are an essential element to complete the connected layout.
Corner cabinets are deep, so they are great for storing large items; however, they can be very difficult to access and so getting anything out of the corner cabinet can be quite a tricky task. This is because the cavity in the cabinet is extensive, but the access door to get into the cabinet is very small by comparison.
These cabinets are so deep that they are actually quite ineffective for storing day-to-day items because you would need to remove all of the front items first to reach the item you want at the back.
Most people with corner kitchen cabinets choose to store lesser-used items at the back of them, such as tandem boxes or seasonal dinnerware. Another drawback of corner cabinets is that they tend to be more expensive, so they can rack up the cost of a new kitchen.
Although U-shaped kitchens can work in almost any type of room, they will significantly reduce the floor space available in small or narrow rooms.
If you have a small kitchen, you may find that it is better suited to an L-shaped kitchen or galley kitchen because they occupy less floor space and therefore make it more functional for two people to use at once. If you fit a U-shaped kitchen into your small space, you may find that it feels too cramped, or you struggle with traffic jams when multiple members of the family try to occupy the same area.