A new contemporary-style kitchen is on the wish list of many home improvers. When designing your new kitchen you need to think about how you will use the space as well as the features you want to include.

We’ve listed 10 great features that would look right at home in your brand new kitchen – from the design details that will keep your space stylish and functional to the smart tech that is well-worth considering.

1. The Stylish Island

Shaker style kitchen with island unit

Not only does an island unit, like this one from Burbidge, transform a large space visually, it also creates the opportunity to add in lots of storage and extra workspace

If you have the space, an island will transform the way a kitchen is used.

For it to work, you need to have enough space around your chosen island so that it does not feel in the way — work to a minimum of 1,000mm clearance space and take into account open oven doors, fridges and the like.

Use your island for:

  • wine fridges
  • sinks
  • hobs
  • extra storage
  • somewhere to dine

2. Freestanding Kitchen Storage

Free-standing kitchen larder unit

Combining free-standing furniture with fitted units creates a relaxed, eclectic look. This larder unit is from Rational

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.

Don’t feel restricted to traditional ‘kitchen furniture’ either — get creative with console tables, ladder shelving and bookshelves — all provide useful storage and create a more relaxed, individual look to the space.

3. The Essential Larder

Rencraft built-in larder

A large larder unit, such as this from Rencraft, provides the perfect place to keep all your dried goods in one place, freeing up your other units

It might not always be possible to find the space for a traditional walk-in larder, but a huge built-in larder is a good alternative.

4. Mix and Match Worktops


This Second Nature design combines timber and two different variations of composite, defining the separate zones in this large kitchen space

There is no need to stick to just one worktop material in your new kitchen. Mixing up two or more materials not only adds visual interest, but also makes sense on a more practical level.

Use a hardwearing stone, such as granite, or a composite for those areas which need to be heat and moisture resistant.

5. Eye-level Appliances

Contemporary kitchen with built in oven

This high gloss, contemporary kitchen from B&Q, features a built-in, eye-level single oven

For a sleek, streamlined look with plenty of storage, floor-to-ceiling units and built-in appliances are the way to go.

Allowing you to get food in and out without stooping, built-in eye-level ovens have seen a surge in popularity in recent years, as have built-in coffee machines and microwaves — ideal for contemporary kitchens.

6. Create a Kitchen-diner

Grey kitchen with dining island

Grey kitchen from Burbidge with salt level island unit, incorporating a small dining space

Kitchens are now the very heart of the home and most families these days seem to spend most of their time together there. It therefore makes sense to have your day-to-day dining space located in the kitchen too — even if you still want a more formal dining space elsewhere.

7. Add Hidden Storage

Martin Moore & Co. - Classic (1)HR copy

Here, storage has been incorporated into the chimney breast of this Martin Moore kitchen design

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, clever drawer divides and pull out units will provide somewhere for the cooking essentials without eating into precious worktop space.

8. ‘Smart’ Appliances

Chrome boiling water tap

The chrome instant boiling water tap from Quooker means no waiting for the kettle to boil — in keeping with our increasing need for speed 

From boiling water taps delivering instant hot water and ovens that clean themselves to refrigerators that update your online shopping list — the most up-to-the-minute kitchens are designed to simplify daily life.

9. More Drawers, Less Units

Deep kitchen drawers with cup handles

These painted grey kitchen drawers are from Burbidge, and look great combined with the glazed wall units above

Whilst kitchen units have not fallen completely from favour, more people are realising the benefits of including extra deep drawers within their kitchen design.

The trend for drawers in the kitchen has carried on into the world of appliances too — with dishwasher drawers and warming drawers all featuring heavily on many wish lists of late.

10. An Appliance ‘Garage’

Kitchen unit with roller door

The perfect way to shut away appliances that are used too frequently to be housed in a regular kitchen cupboard. Hafele Tambour Units

‘Appliance garage’ is the term given to units that sit on top of kitchen units and feature up-and-over roller doors.

They are the ideal spot for essential appliances such as toaster and kettles that, whilst in daily use, may not always need to be on show.

They can be easily concealed by bringing down the ‘garage’ door — perfect for minimalists

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