With the kitchen coming under increasing pressure to perform a variety of crucial roles such as family dining, relaxing, working and entertaining, a good layout and adequate storage are more important than ever. ‘High capacity, well sited storage is essential to keep everything neat and tidy, providing a clutter-free space that’s a pleasure to use,’ says Danny Lay, sales director, Caple.
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There are so many demands on the modern kitchen – it’s not just as space for cooking but also for dining, entertaining, relaxing and family life. And regardless of size, well considered storage is a must to keep the space clutter free and easy to use.
Before embarking on a kitchen project it’s always a good idea to have a good clear out and to take stock of your kitchen possessions so you know how much you need to store and how. The ‘where’ is just as important as the ‘what’ and a good designer will devise a layout that puts the necessary storage in all the right places. A pantry or larder should be close to your fridge and freeze for instance, making it quick and easy to unload groceries quickly and easily. Likewise, china and cutlery should be stored close to the dishwasher. Think not only about how you will use the space, but also any children and guests. It is usually a good idea to keep storage for glasses and frequently accessed items away from the main cooking area so the cook can work uninterrupted. and a dedicated breakfast cupboard away from the main kitchen and close to the seating area is increasingly popular with young families.
Precision planning is the best way of keeping your kitchen from descending into chaos. In a multi-use, open-plan space, try to allocate dedicated storage in each area, not just the kitchen cupboards. For example, window seats with deep pull-out drawers are perfect for stashing away toys and ensure that there’s at least one drawer or shelving unit near the TV for tidying away DVDs, remote controls and games consoles. ‘Installing an island with cabinets on both sides helps maximise storage in the dining area for formal crockery and glassware,’ adds Tony McCarthy, commercial director at Crown Imperial.
Keeping everything neatly behind closed doors is much easier if the interiors are designed with specific contents in mind. Smaller items will benefit from a shallow drawer with numerous compartments to keep items separated and easy to locate. Consider whether any cupboards will benefit from integral electric sockets, allowing you to charge gadgets out of view. The cases for DVDs and games tend to come in standard sizes so shelving can be fitted at precise heights to get more in, and the same is true of spice jars, which can slot into racks on the back of an easily accessible cupboard door.
There has been a significant move away from base unit cupboards in favour of drawers. The real bonus of drawers is the ease of accessibility - if you have found yourself on your hands and knees scrabbling at the back of a cupboard to find some long-forgotten item, you’ll recognise the advantage of a drawer that pulls open to offer a full view of its contents.
If you have the room, a walk-in larder provides the storage, freeing up the kitchen for preparation and cooking. Ideally, a walk-in includes drawers at the lower level, shelves above for optimum storage, and you may want to add extras, such as a microwave and sink.
Current trends go a step further with whole kitchens disappearing from view behind vast sliding doors. Much like a walk in wardrobe, these generous banks of storage are fitted with shelves and internal drawers to make everything organised in one place.
Islands play an essential part in functional kitchens providing a handy area to prepare food, social, eat and even store extra equipment. If space allows, incorporate a bespoke, handleless design that will nearly store your glassware and crockery out of sight.
Kitchen storage can come in many forms other than traditional wall cupboards. Open shelving is a great option if you are the proud owner of an impressive crockery collection, or are a keen cook who appreciates having ingredients close at hand. Having everything on display, however, is not for the faint-hearted as it requires a certain amount of dedication to keep shelves looking smart.
Storage does not have to be purely practical, it can also be stylish. Use your favourite wallpaper to line the back of the cupboard to create an attractive display. Here, a large-scale pattern adds intrigue to the interior of a cupboard, making a striking backdrop for neutral ceramics.