This week we have a special guest post from kitchen expert Majjie who writes the fantastic blog Advanced Kitchen Designs. She’ll be talking about the Modern Fitted Kitchen and offering advice on how you can achieve the modern look in your home.
GUEST POST BY KITCHEN EXPERT MAJJIE
Can you visualise an old fashioned fitted kitchen? It’s the sort of kitchen that most UK homeowners aspired to, from the very birth of the fitted kitchen, after the second world war, right up to the 1980s. Every square inch of the room is filled with fitted furniture – all at the same height. With the country-look timber kitchens, popular in the eighties, it was also quite common to run a flyover pelmet – often with some fretwork – across the top of any windows, to join the wall units either side. The kitchen imposed it’s own rigid horizontal lines onto the room. People were so proud of their new kitchens, that they wanted them to dominate the room.
Today’s fitted kitchens are very different. They’ve been influenced by two trends; the first being the resurgence of the unfitted, traditional kitchen with free standing furniture; and the second being minimalism. Like the fitted kitchen, minimalism originated in the 1930s but it’s only in the last five to ten years that it’s had a big influence on kitchen design. For most of us, though, a truly minimal kitchen wouldn’t be practical.
Confusingly, the modern fitted kitchen also places a lot of emphasis on horizontal lines but where it differs from the old fashioned look, is that modern kitchens are designed to fit in with the architecture of the room. Have a look at this Urban Cafe kitchen from Magnet (left.)
I know it’s a display, rather than a real kitchen – but it still illustrates the point. The units are in discreet blocks and they don’t extend around the corner of the room. Allowing the room corners to be seen is a way of making the kitchen furniture look more free-standing. The horizontal lines are emphasised by the use of deep pan drawers – which are also a very practical form of storage.
Of course, in a smaller kitchen it’s much more difficult to achieve this open looking, less fitted style but have a look at another example from Magnet – in their Vicenza range:
This is a more conventional L-shaped layout – and the base units are indeed fitted around the corner of the room – but the wall units are much more varied than in an old fashioned fitted kitchen. There are also some midi-height and tall units to break up that horizontal worktop line.
So, how do you achieve a modern look for your kitchen, whilst maximising storage space – especially if you don’t have one large enough to accommodate a big island? Here’s how:
- Work with the architecture of your room, as much as you can – don’t cover it up
- Try to keep the room corners clear, at least above the worktop
- If you need to use the corners, use one side only – don’t wrap the units around the corner
- If you need to use all the corner space – fit some open shelves there
- Don’t try to make your whole room or all of one wall symmetrical – work in blocks of units
- Use more than one colour of unit door (have another look at that Urban Café picture)
- Use more than one type of kitchen worktop finish
- Use different heights and depths of units to create variety in a single run
- Try different colour plinths (or plinth lights) to delineate separate areas
- Unless it really restricts your worktop space, choose midi-height or tall units to maximise storage space (after all – the area between worktop and wall unit is the most convenient to reach – and it’s often left empty)
- If you have the space, use isolated units such as dressers or double width larders, as well as island units
- For larger kitchens, a trick often used to get that minimal look, is to fit tall larders, fridge-freezer housings and oven housings all along one wall … so it still looks like a wall, without too many features
Of course, in a very tiny kitchen, you may not be able to use a lot of this advice … but you could always consider knocking a wall through and extending the kitchen into the living room. A lot of modern kitchen furniture – like the Cubista Walnut (right) – is designed to look good in the living area too.