7 features that top interior designers want in their dream kitchens

Even leading interior designers have a kitchen wish list. We asked leading lights in the design industry for theirs

Three kitchens
(Image credit: Artichoke Design / Sabbe Interiors / Sims Hilditch)

From family dinners and slow breakfasts to game nights and school work help, the kitchen hosts it all. Arguably the most used room in one’s home, the kitchen is as multi-purpose as rooms come, so kitchen design really matters. 

While 71 percent of Americans would avoid kitchen wallpaper, according to a HomeAdvisor survey, a shocking 20 per cent would give up their beloved pet to achieve the kitchen of their dreams. 

But what elements do interior designers actually think are worth the price of a dream kitchen? We asked to determine the experts' must-haves.

1. Floor-to-ceiling storage

Kitchen storage

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch)

For New York City-based interior designer James Stanley, ensuring everything has a place to go (even in bite-sized city kitchens) is essential, which means clever kitchen storage ideas.

'No one wants to store their cereal near the dishwashing detergent,' he says. 'Building a separate cabinet that spans floor-to-ceiling is the ultimate way to keep the kitchen organized and functional.'

James Stanley
James Stanley

James Stanley is the Principal and Founder of James StanleyNY, a boutique Architectural Design firm in Tribeca, New York. JSNY specializes in High-End Luxury Residential Renovations and James has created a bespoke experience for customers. James’ creativity and attention to detail can be seen at The Plaza, Tiffany & Co, and throughout residential homes in Manhattan. 

2. An everything bar

Modern kitchen ideas with breakfast cabinet

(Image credit: Brayer)

For designer Samantha Pappas, having a designated beverage area is her key to a functional kitchen. 'It’s such a great place to make a coffee, pour a glass of wine or even set out hors d’oeuvres,' she says. 

Somewhere between a home bar and a breakfast station, it can be useful for the family, but makes a great addition to kitchens designed for entertaining for the super sociable.

'Having a drinks' station is an excellent way to have guests in the kitchen while entertaining, allowing them to socialize with the host without interfering with any food preparation.'

Samantha Pappas
Samantha Pappas

Samantha Pappas is an interior designer based in southern Maine specializing in designing interior finishes from space planning to shopping and installation. She specializes in all aspects of residential projects, from sourcing home goods, commissioning custom pieces, and installation. 

3. Concealed trash

deVOL kitchen in blue

(Image credit: deVOL)

Another must-have for Stanley is sneaky storage for his trash – whether this is a drawer pull out that incorporates the bins or an angled cabinet. 

'This is a must-have in all my kitchen designs,' he says. 'I like when the design provides an easy pull-out mechanism that works effortlessly and holds two larger size trash and recycling bins in one pullout that are completely concealed. I recommend placing the trash pullout near the sink for easy clean-up.' 

4. A custom hood

Industrial decor with metal extractor hood

(Image credit: Artichoke Ltd)

For Pappas,  a custom hood is a simple way to give a kitchen a custom feel without fully breaking the bank. The design options for a custom hood are endless: plaster, wood, tile, etc. 

'It is such a good spot to add a customized design detail in the kitchen even if you can’t do custom cabinets,' she explains. 'It’s also an ideal opportunity to add another texture to the space and a way to bring the eye focus up.'

5. A pot filler

Brass pot filler trend

(Image credit: deVOL)

Pot fillers are poised above the stove, ready to fill pans with ease, and are a luxury addition for anyone who takes cooking seriously. Kitchen design company deVOL's Creative Director Helen Parker is a fan.

'Since introducing pot fillers to our collection, it has popped up in so many schemes. Aside from its design appeal, it is just so practical for big family kitchens.'

6. A larder with living room looks

Pantry with worksurface and wallpaper being shelf

(Image credit: Sabbe Interior Design)

'For anyone looking for walk-in pantry ideas, I'd urge them to tune into one of the latest (but I think lasting) kitchen trends: the decorated larder,' says Lucy Searle, Editor in Chief, Homes & Gardens

'More and more, pantries are being designed to be on show, behind glazed or part-glazed doors, rather than behind solid doors. The benefit is making a small kitchen look bigger; the downside is that traditional pantries prioritize function over form. However, this new movement to create beautifully decorated pantries creates the best of both worlds.'

7. The curved kitchen island

Large family kitchen with curved island and green cabinetry

(Image credit: Sheraton Interiors)

What is the best kitchen island shape? For us, it's the curved kitchen island.

'Rounded and sweeping lines help break the status quo of linear kitchen island design,' says Shehryar Khan, director, Sheraton Interiors. 'Curves soften a space, especially when used with pastel colors. A curved island is more inviting, ideal for socializing, plus it's safer to navigate around without knocking hips or young heads on sharp corners.'

We have plenty more kitchen ideas to share. What's on your dream kitchen wish list?

Kate McGregor
Contributing Editor

Kate McGregor is a freelance design writer based in Brooklyn, New York. Covering everything from curated decor round-ups and shopping guides, to glimpses into the home lives of inspiring creatives, she has written for both print and digital publications such as ELLE Decor, Domino, House Beautiful, and Architectural Digest’s Clever. When not writing or on the hunt for the ideal taper candle holder, you can find Kate attempting to learn to knit (again), or perfecting her banana bread recipe.