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Why have an L-shaped kitchen?

The L-shaped kitchen is popular due to its flexibility; it can be seamlessly incorporated into almost any size and shape of kitchen for closed or open plan living.

This layout maximises wall and floor space, offering huge storage opportunities while maintaining your sense of room to move around. This makes the L-shaped layout perfect for small kitchens or homes with limited space such as studio apartments.

Contemporary New England Oak
English Rose: Contemporary New England Oak

How to lay out your L-shaped kitchen

The most common way to approach a kitchen layout is to consider the ‘golden triangle’ positioning of your fridge, cooker and sink in a 3-point formation within easy distance of each other.

In an L-shaped kitchen, unless you have room for an island, you’ll need to flatten one side of this triangle, but it’s still easy to create a convenient layout of your key appliances with two on the same counter. Simply space them out a little, so each still has its own space.

If one leg of the L is longer than the other, use the longer side to maximise your worktop counter space and place bigger appliances like a fridge or waist-height oven on the shorter side.

Colour schemes for your L-shaped kitchen

The open nature of an L-shaped kitchen means that in most instances, you won’t have to worry too much about using colour to create the illusion of light or space. However, this means the possibilities are almost endless, so here are some of our favourite ideas to make your kitchen pop.

Black works really well for an L-shaped kitchen layout. It’s easy to maintain and is right on trend at the moment, with its sleek appearance often looking like it cost more than it actually did. Consider mixing with white (those old films had it spot on!) and maybe dashing in one more vibrant colour, to really bring the aesthetic together.

L Shaped Kitchens Black Cabinets
Instagram: @buildbasespaldingshowroom

You can also use your colour scheme to highlight the cabinet levels with blocks of colour up high and down low. Consider a bold colour on your bottom cabinets, like this deep blue, with white on top, to keep the overall feel light and airy.

L Shaped Kitchens Two Tone Cabinets
Instagram: @surrey_interiors

A twist on this style is to use the same bold colour for both your top and bottom cabinets and highlight the worktop level with a patterned wall behind your counter. Navy blue counters against a simple white hex tile with gold grouting is bang on trend, or you could introduce a floral patterned wallpaper for a more feminine feel.

L Shaped Kitchens Bold Cabinets
Instagram: @buildbasespaldingshowroom

While you don’t need it, white can still really shine in an L-shaped kitchen. In this example, the clean minimalism of the white is given a slightly beachy look by the adding of slightly weathered wood accessories and helps the shelf items fade into the background when they could feel cluttered in a more colourful room.

White mixed with one bright colour is also an effective approach; try splashes of hot pink, canary yellow or emerald green.

L Shaped Kitchens Bold Backsplash
Instagram: @kbkstudio

In an open plan L-shaped kitchen, you can use colour on your cabinets to create a defined kitchen area.

These wooden cabinets provide a great contrast to the white worktops, creating a border around the worktop area and adding an eye-catching cutout effect to the white counters. This could also be achieved by adding dark coloured cabinets on the external layer instead of wood.

L Shaped Kitchen Oak Wood
Instagram: @mackintoshkitchens

Choosing your kitchen units

If space in your kitchen is at a premium, we’d definitely recommend using floor-to-ceiling cabinets or shelving units, maximising wall space over floor space. What’s more, by using large, overhead cabinets, you can keep your golden triangle as compact and uncluttered as possible.

While top cabinets can often be an oppressive presence in a galley or U-shaped kitchen, in a more open L-shaped kitchen they can help define the space; especially useful if your kitchen/living area is open plan.

L Shaped Kitchens Choosing Units
Instagram: @englishrosekitchens

To create more of a definitive cut off at the ends of your units, consider placing tall units at both ends to act as pillars against your worktop counters. These could be your fridge, a tall oven unit, or simply a tower cupboard.

If you value your countertop space over floor space, you can play with the worktop shape a little by introducing an angled counter in the corner instead of a traditional right-angle corner. This echoes the flow of the kitchen walkway more closely and adds an appealing element of fluidity to your counters.

Planning your storage

Ceiling-height cabinets in your L-shaped kitchen are a great way to maximise your storage space. Opaque doors keep the inevitable mess out of sight and they are the easiest storage method to maintain; just give them a seasonal dusting.

L Shaped Kitchens Tall Cabinets
Instagram: @spillerskitchens

If you do find that lots of cabinets block light or make your kitchen feel cramped, open shelving is another option, especially when tucked neatly into the corner of the L, or placed neatly over appliances as a feature piece. Just remember to keep them neat, and you can decorate them with flowers or ornaments to mix functionality with style.

Don’t forget the base cabinet space in the corner! This corner of your L has huge storage potential, and you can make it more accessible by installing swing shelves that extend outwards.

L Shaped Kitchens Corner Storage
Instagram: @kbkstudio

Lighting up the room

L-shaped kitchens are commonly square or at least a wide rectangle by nature, so natural light should naturally flood through the space. But, for those gloomy days, some minimalist spotlights will focus extra light onto your key work areas, and create shine on reflective worktops.

L Shaped Kitchens Lighting
Instagram: @mackintoshkitchens

To create more of a definitive look, pick out some statement lighting. A single lamp in the middle of the room can be effective, or a set of pendant lights look great hanging in line with a countertop or kitchen island.

LEDs installed underneath top units are also an effective way to create a border around your kitchen area, as well as eradicating the risk of dark corners on your worktops. Consider blending this lighting with the ‘cutout effect’ colour scheme.

Adding extra features

Kitchen island

A square dining installation that is framed by the L-shaped kitchen running around it is the most standard installation of a kitchen island. If you’re short on floor space, it’s a great idea to combine your island with your dining space, and a central island can actually help your small kitchen to feel more ordered and less hectic.

A kitchen island also adds extra worktop and storage space possibilities. A good balance is to leave legroom on the external side of your island for comfortable dining and add drawers or cupboards on the nearest kitchen side.

L Shaped Kitchens Island
Instagram: @cre8_kbb

Breakfast bar

For kitchens with limited floor space, a breakfast bar might be the perfect marriage of food preparation and dining space. Here, this dual-height island really effectively separates these spaces, and high chairs really complete the set of this kitchen. Again, the dual height setup effectively allows you to use pockets of space twice, which can be crucial savings. Every little helps!

L Shaped Kitchens Breakfast Bar
Instagram: velvent_and_ash

Kitchen peninsula

If you’re not quite ready for a stand-alone island, but like the idea of another unit in your kitchen, then consider the kitchen peninsula. Attached to your countertops, but jutting out into the room, the peninsula can be a really effective way to add just that little bit of extra countertop space. This has all the benefits of a U-shaped kitchen, but only requires two of the walls. What’s more, if you’re worried about having enough space for a full island, adding even a short peninsula can greatly increase the seating capacity of your L-shaped kitchen.

Transition flooring

If you have an open plan L-shaped kitchen, create definition between your kitchen and living areas with different flooring materials. You have the opportunity to be really playful here; instead of a straight edged border between the two materials, consider an undulating or jagged border where your kitchen flooring gradually blends into the living room texture.

Transitioning tiles into wood works really well for this effect, or if you want to stick with a clean straight edge, a slim wood panel can be inserted between the two materials for a clean finish.

You should now be full of ideas for designing your L-shaped kitchen!