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U-shaped kitchens are great for cooks and guests. Is this one for you?
The U-shaped kitchen lends itself to high-efficiency cooking: You can often pivot on one toe as you spin around from refrigerator to sink to stove. A good friend and accomplished cook swears by this kitchen layout. He loves it because it keeps people out of the way when he's cooking. Guests can hang out as long as they stay on "that" side of the peninsula! The U-shaped kitchen (also called the C-shaped kitchen) is the perfect expression of the work triangle we hear so much about in kitchen design. As you can see from the selections below, U-shapedkitchenscan still come in different shapes and sizes:
Older homes with smaller kitchens sometimes have the refrigerator inside the "U," but that really eats into the counter space. Most often you'll see a U-shaped kitchen with the refrigerator on the adjacent wall right outside the "U," which is fine. It's still within the work triangle.
One signature of the U-shaped kitchen is the peninsula. In this case, it doesn't have seating due to the passageway between rooms. The lack of kitchen seating is often the reason people prefer the L-shaped kitchen with an island to the U-shaped kitchen.
As you can see, the dishwasher is in the peninsula and not next to the sink. That's due to a lack of room, unless you choose to not center the sink. This is one complaint about the U-shaped kitchen. One solution would be to put the sink in the peninsula, but that would leave a long empty counter on the short section of the U. At least here a cook can use the peninsula for prepping and serving.
Here's another view of the previous kitchen. Now you can see the location of the refrigerator: This is where it most often resides in a U-shaped kitchen. Too many times people are tempted to put in both a kitchen table and counter stools at the peninsula. What you end up with is cramped space with too many chairs bumping into each other. If you don't have the room, resist the temptation to do this, it will drive you mad!
In this U-shaped kitchen it appears that the refrigerator and stove are outside the "U," so there might be a few extra steps between the stove and sink.
Tip: If that's the case, a prep sink by the stove is a great solution — if you're willing to sacrifice a base cabinet. Sometimes in smaller and older homes, you just don't have a choice without moving walls and incurring major construction costs. Make the most of what you have!
A larger U-shaped kitchen with room for an island can be dreamy, but the one downside of this layout is the island doesn't have any seating.
Tip: It might be possible to fit in two stools at the short end of the island by sacrificing one cabinet or extending the overhang. Keeping the legs, however, will allow you to keep the furniture-style look for your island.
Here's the solution if you have the space: a perfect U with an island and seating for 4! If I'm not mistaken I see two sinks, one in front of each window. That's a great alternative to the island prep sink.
This could either be seen as a broken U or an L-shaped kitchen with an island. Technically I'd say it leans towards the latter, but if you imagine that door on the left being cabinetry, you can use this layout for inspiration for your own U-shaped kitchen.
Double-dreamy: a U-shaped kitchen with an island and a peninsula! I'm taking a little creative liberty here again since I'm not sure where the stove is. But this looks like a great way to for your guests to be in the kitchen and out of the way at the same time.
You can also create a U-shaped kitchen by adding a freestanding island to an L-shaped kitchen. In this case, the one end cabinet was turned to face away from the kitchen, and a beadboard end panel was added to allow for a place to intersect the open island. Because the island is open, you have knee space for stools and seating without needing an overhang.