For a show-stopping centrepiece look to luxury materials, from deeply veined marble and mottled granites to exotic timber veneers and gleaming mirrored glass or burnished metal. There's a trend towards more textured materials, think raw or rough-sawn wood, honed or flamed stone tops, as well as a contrast of colour or finish between the island and the rest of the kitchen. And don't forget kitchen island lighting – it can turn a good-looking unit into a showstopper of a kitchen centrepiece. Want more design inspiration? Take a look at these showstopping kitchen ideas and our pick of the best kitchen storage ideas Almost all kitchen islands incorporate seating – even the smallest space can usually accommodate an overhang of worktop and a pair of bar stools, although more of us are opting for long kitchen islands with integrated low-level, table-style seating at one end.
Ideally your U-shaped kitchen will have a window at the ‘U' end. This makes a great spot for the sink, allowing you to look out over your garden while you wash up without having wall units overhead. If you are looking for kitchen diner ideas, a U-shaped design is well worth considering. Depending on your space, it may be easy to incorporate a table and chairs at the opposite end of the U shape. Consider matching tabletop and worktops for a tailored look. Be guided by the size of your room and the light levels when deciding on the look, style and colour of your kitchen. In a smaller space with a central window it may pay to stick to a largely white scheme. Modern hi-gloss units will help to keep light levels up as will glazed tiles and stainless-steel surfaces. Larger kitchens may be more able to handle deep colour, dark wood finishes and even hits of pattern.
The peninsula unit is a great tool for creating a U-shaped kitchen within a larger space. This smart modern design features conventional units along one wall and one window and a peninsula that continues the run of storage and worktop space without the need for a third wall. Keeping the space open along one side like this is a great solution for open-plan areas where you want to define a kitchen without screening it from view. all-white space has the look of a U-shaped kitchen, while incorporating a walk-through in front of the high level units along the back wall. In essence this design consists of two islands and one wall of floor-to-ceiling units. By choosing white for cabinetry, ceilings, walls and floor the boundaries between surfaces blur, giving the impression of a compact U-shaped design that gradually opens up as you move around.
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