Make the shape of your kitchen work for you
You don't need to have a huge, open plan space to design a beautiful kitchen. With some clever thinking, expert design, and insider knowledge, you can create your dream kitchen no matter what shape or size room you have.
We asked Josh, one of our kitchen design colleagues in B&Q Doncaster, for his expert advice and the top tips he shares with the customers he designs kitchens for, day in, day out.
What are they?
A U-shaped kitchen, so called because the layout is in the shape of the letter 'U', is made up of three adjoining walls of worktops and kitchen cabinets - with the open end making up the fourth 'wall'. A U-shaped kitchen gives you lots of worktop space to prepare or eat food and allows for lots of storage or appliances.
Josh's advice: "Always start designing a U-shaped kitchen with your corners. Place your desired cabinets in the corners first; this always helps you gauge how much room you have between the edges of the space for the other cabinets. If you start left to right along a wall, you'll always end up with not enough space to squeeze in that final unit - or you'll end up using a tree's worth of filler panels!
When designing a U-shaped kitchen, you want a focal point. Three walls of a kitchen covered in cabinets will soon look repetitive and overbearing. I recommend having one wall different from the others; this may be where your hob and oven is, you could opt for open shelving instead of wall cabinets, or centre your hob, oven and cooker hood and build around that. Make it so people walk in and are instantly attracted to that feature.
A U-shaped kitchen has 2 corner units, these are fantastic places to utilise internal storage systems, like the Pebre soft close pull out system we use! It saves you having to climb inside your cabinet to reach that back corner where all your most disliked plates and bowls fall!
Finally, depending on the size of your kitchen, I'd also recommend steering well away from wall cabinets; you don't want the room to become overcrowded, it also helps in situations where you may have angled walls or sloped ceilings."
What are they?
Much like its U-shaped cousin, the L-shaped kitchen is a very popular layout, featuring two perpendicular rows of cabinets and worktops, in the shape of the letter 'L'. You can run your cabinets against two walls - or create a breakfast bar 'island' by having the shorter wall come out away from the walls of the house.
Josh's advice: "L-shaped kitchens are fantastic as they can easily facilitate the working triangle of your kitchen. This is a term we use for the 3 points in your kitchen that are used to carry out primary tasks; your fridge, sink, and hob. You don't want to be walking long distances between your hob and sink with boiling hot pans of pasta, or forgetting to add the onions that are in the fridge! Everything needs to be in a comfortable and usable distance of each other. The L-shape kitchen helps facilitate the working triangle as it provides two work surfaces, a small to medium kitchen size and also allows for the addition of an island if your room size permits it. You have full creative control with this style kitchen as everything has its own area.
Usually, I'd design an L-shape kitchen holding two large appliances on one side and a third on another, this kitchen shape has an efficient workflow triangle. A top tip is to try and keep the sink between the cooker and fridge to maximise efficiency and don't forget about adequate workspace on each side. You need at least 400mm-600mm to be comfortable.
If you're building your L-shaped kitchen off a wall and using it as a breakfast bar, make sure you're allowing enough room on the overhang to put your legs under. There's nothing worse than eating your breakfast whilst teetering on the edge of your seat to reach the side!"
What are they?
Named after the design of a ship's kitchen, the galley kitchen is made up of two parallel runs of worktop and cabinets with a 'corridor' running between, allowing you to work on either side of the space. Clean lines are important here (as galley kitchens can become a thoroughfare in the home), as well as lots of worktop space as you'll be moving between either side of the kitchen as you prep, cook and clean up.
Josh's advice: "Put all of your wall cabinets on one wall - and make them tall! To maximize space, you'll want to have the tallest wall cabinet possible, but you don't want this on both sides of the kitchen, otherwise you'll feel like you're working in a submarine! To make your space work even harder, a windowsill is a great place for worktop accessories like your sugar and coffee pots.
Finally, lighting is key for a galley kitchen. If you don't have a window, or it's at the end of the kitchen, one long light source that runs the entire distance of the kitchen is a worthy investment. Or, if you're into a more modern look, under cabinet lighting on the 'tall wall run' would be a fantastic addition. Work light and ambiance lighting makes for a 2-in-1 combo killer!"
What are they?
A Pullman kitchen tends to be long and narrow - named after the kitchen areas on traditional steam trains. Similar to galley kitchens, they are ideal for smaller spaces - and you'll want to make the most of every available inch using intelligent storage solutions, smooth surfaces and compact appliances.
Josh's advice: "If you've got a Pullman kitchen space, you're most likely in a compact apartment or some form of space-saving living environment. Internal storage is now your best friend. From hidden internal drawers that can sit inside bigger drawers, drawers under your oven, put drawers everywhere! If you have a large enough space for it, I'd recommend tall wall and base cabinets over larder units. They allow for much more creative space-saving opportunities but still have that break between them to open your room up."