Eight space-efficient U-shaped kitchens

Eight compact U-shaped kitchens designed by architects

In the latest in our series exploring kitchen layouts, we've picked eight examples from Dezeen's archive with U-shaped configurations to make efficient use of space.

As the name suggests, U-shaped kitchens consist of three worktops connected to form an open rectangle.

Popular in smaller interiors, the practical layout creates plenty of counter space for food preparation with room for storage underneath and in wall-hung cabinets above.

The design also creates a compact and efficient work triangle, with everything close to hand.

The U-shape is of the most common kitchen layouts along with one-wall kitchens, island kitchens, galley kitchens and peninsula kitchens.

This is the latest roundup in our Dezeen Lookbooks series providing visual inspiration for the home. Previous roundups include living rooms with statement shelvingspa-like bathrooms and home-working spaces.

Red and black U-shaped kitchen

Paris apartment, France, by Sophie Dries

French architect Sophie Dries combined two mid-19th-century flats in Paris to create a single large apartment.

At the centre of the apartment, this U-shaped kitchen combines dark grey floor and wall cabinets with soft red worktops, walls, floor and ceiling.

Find out more about Paris apartment ›

Yellow kitchen

Delawyk Module House, UK, by R2 Studio

R2 Studio created playful interiors within this 1960s home on a London council estate. Set alongside an open-plan living and dining area, the bright kitchen combines yellow units and custom orange splashback tiles.

Countertops are arranged in a U-shape with the sink placed under a window and one arm of the U dividing the kitchen from the other communal areas.

Find out more about Delawyk Module House ›

Small architect-designed kitchen

Highgate apartment, UK, by Surman Weston

Built within a 1920s residential block in the Highgate, the kitchen and living space in this small apartment are connected by a timber-framed porthole window.

Within the small kitchen, the sink sits under a narrow window with turquoise-blue countertops inlaid with timber to create a terrazzo-like finish, positioned along the walls. The room is finished with cabinets made from fluted panels of oak finished with brass handles.

Find out more about Highgate apartment ›

U-shaped kitchen in Australia

Ruffey Lake House, Australia, by Inbetween Architecture

Local studio Inbetween Architecture overhauled a late 20th-century house in Melbourne to create a home for a family of five.

The ground floor was opened up to create an open-plan living and dining space that steps down to the kitchen. The cooker was located at the end of the U with the sink on one arm and space for food preparation on the other.

Find out more about Ruffey Lake House ›

Barcelona apartment

Barcelona apartment, Spain, by Adrian Elizalde and Clara Ocaña

Spanish architects Adrian Elizalde and Clara Ocaña tucked the kitchen into a niche that was left over when they demolished the internal walls in this apartment in Barcelona's Eixample neighbourhood.

More of a J-shape than a U, the asymmetrical kitchen is defined by a tiled floor. The white countertop wraps around three walls and extends into the living area, which is demarked by timber flooring.

Find out more about Barcelona apartment ›

Australia interior

Carlton House, Australia, by Reddaway Architects

Lit by a skylight, the kitchen separates the more enclosed spaces in this house's original structure from a large open living and dining space within an extension.

The kitchen, which has a marble countertop above pink cabinets, extends out from the wall in a J-shape to create a partially enclosed food preparation and cooking space.

Find out more about Carlton House ›

Concrete counter tops in kitchen extension

The Cook's Kitchen, UK, by Fraher Architects

Fraher Architects added a black-stained timber extension to this London flat to create a larger kitchen for a client who loves to cook.

A window extends up the wall to meet a roof light that extends the length of the kitchen, which has a single, in-situ-poured concrete countertop.

The painted plywood cabinets feature patterns of randomly drilled holes that double as recessed handles.

Find out more about The Cook's Kitchen ›

U-shaped kitchen

HB6B – One Home, Sweden, by Karen Matz

Karen Matz created this kitchen within a small, 36-square-metre apartment that she designed for herself.

The end counter contains the sink and cooker, while one of the arms can be used as a breakfast bar. The third arm is topped with storage space and supports one side of the apartment's raised mezzanine bedroom.

Find out more about HB6B – One Home

This is the latest in our series of lookbooks providing curated visual inspiration from Dezeen's image archive. For more inspiration see previous lookbooks showcasing colourful interiorsoutdoor fireplaces and rooftop gardens.