For a sleek, streamlined look with plenty of storage, floor-to-ceiling units and built-in appliances are the way to go. Not only does this bank of fresh white units conceal plenty of storage, it also houses two Gorenje combi steam ovens, a microwave oven and a coffee maker — all positioned at a convenient eye-level height.
The Art of the Island
If you have the space, an island really can transform the way a kitchen is used. Providing a central hub where all the kitchen tasks can take place but also acting as somewhere for guests to gather round, an island provides a focus that pulls the space together.
For it to work, you need to have enough space around your chosen island (the one below is by Harvey Jones) so that it does not feel in the way — work to a minimum of 1,000mm clearance space (but try for more if you want two people to be able to pass) and take into account open oven doors, fridges and the like. Use your island for wine fridges, sinks, hobs, extra storage and for somewhere to dine too.
Mixing up fitted kitchen units with freestanding pieces lends a relaxed, lived-in appeal to the space, while also allowing for a degree of flexibility in terms of furniture placement. Using furniture with space underneath, such as the dresser unit pictured here, gives a sense of space too. This design is from Second Nature.
It might not always be possible to find the space for a traditional walk-in larder, but a huge built-in larder (like this one by Rencraft) is a good alternative. Positioned at the end or within a run of units with double doors – sometimes bi-fold – these cavernous cupboards can house every essential you can think of.
Smart Room Dividers
While open plan kitchen diners are a great idea, it’s also good to provide some kind of division between the spaces, not only from a practical point of view, but also from a visual perspective. Using a long breakfast bar is nothing new, but using your dining table as a divider with space for seating either side and incorporating storage and desk space at one end is a clever, space-saving idea as demonstrated by this Second Nature kitchen.
Kitchens tend to be the space within the home where everything happens — from the more obvious tasks of cooking and dining, to working from home and playing with the children. Tying in furniture and storage to accommodate all these activities with the rest of the kitchen design helps keep the space looking unified, as seen in this Second Nature scheme.
Plenty of storage is absolutely vital in the kitchen — more so than in any other area of the home. However many units you include in your design, it never seems quite enough. Sneaking in extra shelving and cubby holes around the cooker – as seen here in the chimney breast of this Martin Moore design – provides somewhere for the cooking essentials without eating into precious worktop space.