L-Shaped vs. U-Shaped Kitchens – Is There a Clear Winner?

Kitchens form the beating heart of many households. That’s why so much thought goes into every remodel, making sure the design fits every possible need of homeowners.

The most popular designs for kitchens are so-called L-shaped and U-shaped layouts. Each of them have their benefits and drawbacks, so it’s worth spending some time explaining why you should choose one or the other.

Let’s start with U-shaped kitchens.

What are U-Shaped Kitchens?


Put simply, U-shaped kitchens are those that have cabinets and countertops across three walls of your space, making a “U” shape.

Typically, there is one wall that acts as base for the layout (this is often where the sink is placed), and two longer walls or “legs” that contain the majority of cabinets and appliances such as stoves or fridges.

Why Choose a U-Shaped Layout?

If you love to immerse yourself in your cooking and don’t want to be put off by distractions, then this is the layout for you.

Having three walls of units helps to develop a sense of privacy, so you can be tucked away working through your recipes without having to deal with any prying eyes or needing to maintain a conversation.

Additionally, it almost goes without saying that three full walls of cabinets provide you with multiple storage options. The use of “secret” corner cabinets is becoming increasingly popular. The cabinets cleverly use the right angle join to give a deceptively large space to store items such as pots and pans.

If there’s room you can also add a kitchen island to give yourself a fourth countertop to work with or a breakfast bar as an extra dining option.

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If you are a social creature but you’re still set on having a U-shaped layout, then think about positioning the kitchen in such a way that it opens out into another room or space. This way you can gain privacy when you want it, without becoming completely closed off.

What are L-Shaped Kitchens?


As opposed to U-shaped kitchens, L-shaped layouts only have two sides. It’s sometimes best to think about them as U-shaped kitchens with one “leg” removed.

On one traditionally shorter side, there’s usually the sink, draining board and a set of cabinets. Whilst all the important appliances such as the stove and the fridge are housed on the single long “arm”.

Why Choose a L-Shaped Layout?

These kitchens are definitely better suited to the social cook. Since the kitchen units follow the outer walls, it allows everyone in the wider space see what you are doing and facilitates conversations whilst cooking.

This layout is great if you are catching up with a spouse as they sit at the table after work, or asking the kids how they got on at school; eating their evening meal whilst you prepare your own.

These kitchens are in an increasing trend in Southern California, with L-shaped layouts taking top spot for installations undertaken by kitchen contractors in Riverside. This is because increasingly homeowners prefer to entertain their guests whilst they cook, rather than hide away whilst prepping food.

But it’s not just the social aspect that governs the decision to opt for an L-shaped layout. Those with open plan interior spaces love L-shape kitchens because it helps to maintain the openness of the space, rather than closing it off.

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Conversely, this layout also tends to work better in tight or narrow kitchen spaces, opening up more room to include a dining table or breakfast bar if desired.

Of course the main consideration to make when opting for an L-shaped kitchen layout is how you are going to cope with less storage. With fewer cabinets and cupboards, homeowners have to think carefully about how they can streamline their kitchen essentials.

Is There a Clear Winner?


It’s difficult to declare one layout a winner over another because their effectiveness is so dependent on the type of space they are being fitted into.

Not only does the size and shape of the existing space have a bearing, the type of cook you are is also a big deciding factor. If you love to immerse yourself in the act of cooking (or baking) without distraction, then a U-shaped kitchen is probably a better fit.

Or it could be the case that you prefer to think of cooking as a social activity. L-shaped kitchens help to facilitate conversation whilst preparing food, and are great if you often find yourself hosting guests.

Whichever you decide, you will need to discuss and finalize your options with a reliable kitchen remodeling contractor. Companies such as Bright Builders take the hassle out of finding trustworthy suppliers by sourcing them for you, completely free of charge.

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