U-Shaped Kitchens

Discover why a horseshoe, or U-shaped, kitchen just might be your lucky charm with these design ideas.

U-Shaped Kitchen

U-Shaped Kitchen


Photo by: Şafak Oğuz

Şafak Oğuz

By: Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Shaped like a horseshoe, a U-shaped kitchen layout has three walls that are typically lined with cabinets and kitchen appliances, such as a refrigerator and stove. These kitchens are ideal for creating a large amount of storage and allowing for a free flow of kitchen activity.

Horseshoe Kitchens

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Design That Works With Traffic

The horseshoe, or U-shaped, layout has three walls of cabinets and appliances. An island is often added in large kitchens. The design allows for traffic flow and workflow around the island. Design by Rate My Space user SANDCASTLES

The Island Wall

An evolved version of the horseshoe design is an L-shaped kitchen with an island forming the third "wall," as seen in this kitchen. A small island becomes a casual dining area. Design by Jennifer Duneier

Photo By: Designer, Jennifer Duneier

Small Yet Efficient Kitchen

In this U-shaped kitchen, the sink, range and oven are positioned to allow the cook to easily move from one to the other. Two windows and an opening over the stove keep the space from feeling closed in. Design by Tanya Griffin

From: Tanya Griffin

Outdoor Access

A door leading to the backyard gives this small U-shaped kitchen a more open feel, takes advantage of the natural light and makes outdoor entertaining convenient. Design by Yvonne Landivar

Room for a Pantry

This European-inspired kitchen has a classic horseshoe layout with the sink on one wall, the stove on the second wall and the refrigerator on the third wall. The homeowner also added a walk-in pantry and island. Design by Lori Dennis

Fun and Functional Kitchen

Designed by Lou Ann Bauer, this horseshoe-shaped kitchen features a unique, colorful design and a spacious, functional layout. The central island offers a lower countertop for prepping food and a higher countertop for casual dining. Photo by David Duncan Livingston

Bright and Open

Vaulted ceilings make this horseshoe-shaped kitchen feel spacious and airy, while a large window floods the room with light. Varied cabinet heights prevent an artificial ceiling line from isolating the vaulted ceiling, allowing it to flow more naturally. Design by James Howard

Smart Kitchen Storage

In this cozy English Country-style kitchen, designer Shane Inman took the cabinetry all the way to the ceiling to maximize storage space. Even the ends of the cabinet runs are utilized for shelving and a small desk.

Angled Kitchen Island

A bar turned slightly toward the kitchen defines the space while maintaining an open feel. A cheery blue was selected for the wall color to make up for a lack of natural sunlight. Design by Teal Michel

Stone Focal Point

All eyes are drawn to the massive stone area surrounding the range in this elegant U-shaped kitchen. Design by Elizabeth Rosensteel

Today's U-shaped kitchens have begun to incorporate a peninsula as the third "wall," creating a more casual atmosphere that can even allow for pub-style dining with stools. Large U-shaped kitchens have also begun to accommodate a kitchen island, creating galley style walkways on either side of the island. The kitchen island is especially helpful for food preparation or storing large appliances in cabinets underneath.

As with any kitchen layout, it is important to consider the position of appliances and countertops. For instance, a dishwasher should be placed next to or near the sink for easy loading, and built-in microwaves often have a countertop surface above or below for preparing food.

Colors and textures can be found in great variety with U-shaped kitchen designs. Choose light maple cabinets with a neutral marble countertop and walls with bold mint green tiles. You can also choose cozy English-style white cabinets paired with light wood floors and gray granite countertops.

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