How to best utilise available living space, or create more space, is a key challenge for today’s designers. Recent figures suggest that the average size of a new-build, three-bedroom home in the UK (outside London) is nearly 10 sq m smaller compared to those built in 2003. However, modern and sleek design solutions are coming to the aid of homeowners stuck for space, particularly in the kitchen – the traditional focal point of the home.
In addition, research conducted by Trend Bible indicates an increased longevity of residency – with homeowners and their families being more likely to remain in one place for longer – meaning kitchen designs need to be future proofed and include smart storage solutions that will serve the long term.
We round up the latest designs and hear from some of the experts to discover the secrets behind superb storage…
Neil Taggart, Marketing Manager, TKC “Whatever the shape and size of the kitchen, providing flexible storage solutions to maximise the space available is vital. Wirework has become an integral part of the design process now, so this is already being achieved in previously under- used spaces like corners, with most manufacturers now offering a ‘magic corner’ solution of some sort. We are now also seeing the same with storage in areas which used to be effectively fresh air, such as under sink drawers, larder pull-outs and workstations. This kind of storage allows the user to see what’s on offer and provides easy access to the contents.”
Jason Grinton, UK & Ireland Business Manager, Pronorm “There has long been a trend towards the streamlining of surfaces, cabinetry and appliances so that a kitchen is less overtly ‘kitcheny’, instead, everything is elegantly concealed. However, this look is evolving with the return of open shelving and glass fronted storage as decorative elements. This is partly inspired by professional cooking where items are on show and easily accessible, but it also has a lot to do with injecting character and individuality back into the kitchen.”
Dieter Berends, Senior Designer, Urban Interior “The modern home requires a flexible kitchen that can adapt and change to the surrounding environment and more importantly, the homeowner and their lifestyle. Gone are the days where the kitchen is just a place to cook and prepare food. Instead, it remains the heart of the home for entertaining and socialising with friends and family.
“Bar extensions for dining and entertaining, dedicated cooking and preparation areas and built-in appliances or smart applications that are controlled remotely are now typical storage solutions in the modern kitchen. Integrated island appliances such as a wine cabinet, pop-up extractor fan or necessary waste receptacle are also being used to create a highly functional space that does not impede on overall aesthetics.
“It is clear to say kitchen storage has changed its role in the home and we are very much championing the trend for farm-to-table food preparation. Consequently, we offer a unique way of bringing this flexibility into the home with the innovative granite Herb Garden, part of the Urban Kitchen Collection by SieMatic.
“This kind of unique addition in the kitchen will create a dedicated area to cultivate organic food and ingredients to cook with. Ideal for growing fresh herbs that can be tended daily or for something a little less ‘hands-on’, add some fragrant flowers for a dose of natural beauty and aroma.”
Simon Bodsworth, Managing Director, Daval “For me, the timeless choice in terms of kitchen storage has to be the ever faithful island unit; a highly practical addition which doesn’t seem to be going out of style anytime soon. Offering an extra place to sit, dine, prepare food, cook, create additional storage or even provide an area to wash-up, the island unit has become a fundamental resource in the modern home, whatever the style of kitchen. Accommodating different styles of kitchen, architecture and individual, the island gives the option to create a multipurpose workstation that embraces ‘cooking, cooling and washing’ in the same area of the kitchen.
“Hidden interior design has also gone from strength to strength, using multifunctional kitchen furniture to conceal utilities and maximise storage in a discreet way. Streamline cabinetry, flush fitting worktops and drawers, tall unit and tailor-made interior storage options are being used as a clever room divide or display area for storing kitchen utensils, herbs and spices.
“Also, designs that bene t from cleverly designed doors like bi-fold and coplanar sliding are perfect for hiding away large and small appliance so ensure the operating system fits the space and its ergonomics. Not only minimising noise pollution, the ‘right door’ will create a reactive environment which is ideal for socialising and open plan environments. Small mezzanine racks provide additional storage space in cupboards with pull-out rack systems, deep drawers and combination shelving also standing firm as a way to create one complete area which caters to multiple needs.”
Lisa Robinson, Marketing Co-ordinator, Blum UK “Any kitchen, bathroom or bedroom designer will tell you that their client’s
main priority is nearly always to maximise storage capacity. There’s little point having the most beautiful kitchen in the world if it doesn’t do its job properly. However, storage solutions don’t have to be boring, the latest interior components look good and perform beautifully. The inside
is as important as the outside and that’s where Space Tower comes into its own. The full-extension drawers mean that each drawer can be filled to capacity, and will still glide out silently and gracefully – meaning that there is no need to allow for a void above each drawer to allow items to be lifted clear.
“In fact, a kitchen (or any room) that is designed using Blum interior fittings can contain up to 55% extra storage space. And that’s not awkward-to- get-at, high-reach storage space, it’s easily accessible space that allows the contents of drawers and cupboards to be seen at a glance and used easily and smoothly. This also helps with the ‘hidden kitchen’ concept – where customers want a sleek, smooth exterior for their kitchen, but every possible luxury on the inside.”
Colin Patterson, Marketing Manager, Hettich UK
“As manufacturers pay more attention to the internal look of their cabinets through lighting and decors, and end users become more inclined to display their glassware for example, then a sliding door which conceals part of the cabinet while leaving the rest as display shelving is an attractive choice. Hettich launched the one-track SideLine M with this scenario in mind. SlideLine M, with soft closing and opening, can be used for wooden, aluminium-framed and glass doors. The two-track version is ideal either for wall units or as a splashback which doubles as utensils storage.
“Sliding doors make sense. Whether a kitchen is large or small, a sliding door is ideal for unobstructed access from all angles. Sliding door mechanisms come into their own particularly thanks to the trend for merging food preparation, eating and living spaces. The ability to reveal the kitchen’s functional and storage areas when in use and hide them when they’re not is a strong selling point for sliding doors.
“Space really is becoming an issue for a group of homeowners who have a relatively high income but have to sacrifice floor area for location. So, they lack space but have the resources to tackle the challenge. Sliding doors don’t work in every scenario, and pull-out options can provide the answer – under stairs for example. Org@Tower, originally conceived for office applications, works brilliantly in this context.”
Chloë Thacker, Marketing Director, Häfele UK “The key to maximising every inch of kitchen space starts at the planning stage. It can be tempting to focus primarily on the look and finish of the kitchen, and whilst this is very important, looking beyond the aesthetics allows you to create a space that combines style with function; tailor made to suit the user’s lifestyle. This is Häfele’s Ideas for Living philosophy – creating individual and inspiring functional spaces that have a positive impact on the way you live.
“Kitchen design should consider not only the width and length of the space, but height and depth too, and there are some ingenious solutions available. Corners are perhaps the trickiest spaces in the kitchen to access, and can often become a place where items are placed and then forgotten about. Instead, make corners more practical with some pull-out shelves or baskets to access all of the cupboard contents quickly and easily.
“If you are short on space and need to pack a lot in, then think about fold-away or slide-away solutions. Tables that fold into drawers when they aren’t needed, or worktops that slide out to create a breakfast bar, can all give you a wow factor and help your kitchen meet the user’s needs. Getting organised can also make life easier. Drawer dividers, cutlery inserts, pan stands, and spice racks can all help the user to find exactly what they are looking for quickly and easily.”
Featured: Salice’s Eclipse pocket door system features smooth lateral assisted doors with soft-close functionality, aluminium profiles and multi-purpose plastic, steel and zinc alloy components.Salice | saliceuk.co.uk