L-shaped kitchen ideas for multipurpose spaces

A classic layout that works in any size space, the L-shaped kitchen is practical, concise and looks great

Good flow in your kitchen will put everything you need to hand and make it a joy to use..

Ergonomics is the study and design of equipment that fits the human body and its cognitive abilities. Applied to kitchen layouts, it focuses on creating a smooth, intuitive passage through the space, as well as the most efficient and comfortable cooking environment. Worktops and cabinets are positioned to effortlessly suit the physicality of the user and the job in hand, provisions and utensils are stored where they’re most frequently used, and sinks and appliances are located to encourage logical movement between tasks.

When deciding on a layout for your kitchen your choices are to a great extent dictated by the shape and size of your room, but that doesn’t mean you have to be restricted when it comes to design. Whether the space is small, medium or large an L-shape layout works with both contemporary and traditional cabinetry, and the form is flexible enough to adapt to structural needs, such as sloping ceilings or large windows.

Paying attention to sight lines, traffic flow and entry and exit points at the planning stage is paramount. One of the most popular kitchen layouts, the L-shape is great for multipurpose spaces, neatly keeping the work zone restricted to one area and the rest of the space free.

Make the most out of a small space

Image credit: Lizzie Orme

In a small kitchen an L shape is ideal as it concentrates all storage and appliances into two sides of the room, leaving the others free and open, so making the overall space seem bigger. Keep the colours on the lighter side so it doesn’t appear too cramped. A mixture of cabinets and drawers makes housing pans, pots and general paraphernalia a breeze, while Kilner jars display pretty condiments and dried food to perfection.

Open up your scheme

Image credit: David Giles

This L-shaped kitchen makes excellent use of space. It is easy to work in since the work triangle can be easily established. Open shelving prevents a small kitchen from looking too busy, while banks of cabinets look stunning in a large kitchen as well as providing an abundance of storage. A table and chairs fits neatly into the kitchen, while still zoning it off from the rest of the room. Whatever the size of your kitchen, the beauty of the L-shaped layout lies in its simplicity and flexibility, the ease with which it can be adapted to suit practical requirements and different design tastes.

Utilise colour and pattern

Image credit: Lizzie Orme

Don’t be afraid to use darker colours and patterns in your kitchen. Deep colours are warming so often work well in larger kitchens. Inject refined rustic style into your kitchen with painted wooden cabinetry. In a traditional space, use painted wood to co-ordinate kitchen cabinets with walls and architectural features; in a contemporary scheme, to soften the sharp edges of minimalist design. Go for a mid to deep grey shade, like this one, as it oozes easy elegance and sophistication.

Make it sociable

Image credit: Fiona Walker-Arnott

Where space isn’t an issue an L-shape ending with a central island unit provides informal dining space for the family or a place to chat with friends over coffee. Keep the cooking and kitchen chores tightly together in an L and let the rest of a large room be given over to family life. Add personality and character with quirky signage and curios.

Consider cabinetry

Image credit: Lizzie Orme

Lack of size does not have to mean lack of style. This compact l-shape kitchen with hi-gloss units creates wow factor in a small space with its sleek stainless steel appliances and an acrylic splashback in bright pink. Kitchen splashbacks are a perfect example of how kitchen planning and interior design have become intertwined. A simple Corian worktop complements the look.

Keep it family friendly

Image credit: Colin Poole

Give your kitchen over to family life. Fitting your cabinetry, worktops and storage into an L shape leaves the remainder of your kitchen free for you to express yourself. Here optimum use of space on two sides of the room allows for an uncluttered look opposite, enhancing the feeling of space. The look of a layout has become a major factor in an open plan scheme; you need to think more carefully about the design and aesthetic of the kitchen as it will always be on view.

Store objects upwards

Image credit: Lizzie Orme

Give a wood-effect kitchen an edge with statement accessories. Here this rustic country scheme is brought to life with contemporary tiling. The choice of light and dark tiles, which work to separate the cooking and prep zones, provides a stark, modern contrast to the more traditional cabinet design. If your kitchen is verging on the small side, consider installing wall-hung shelves into the corner of the room. Open shelves are a practical and stylish solution in the kitchen. Display china and glassware, so that they are easily accessible. Try running a fixed rail below the bottom shelf to hold utensils with hooks for saucepans.

What are you waiting for? Get planning your perfect L-shaped kitchen.

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