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Organisation is key to great kitchen design. It’s most likely the busiest room in the house, used at different times of the day by different generations, for a multitude of tasks from simple pleasures like enjoying a cup of tea, to preparing a special dinner party, cocktails and all. The kitchen works hard so it needs to be well thought through, effortless to tidy & easy to maintain as a clean place to cook, eat & live in.

Most of us are not minimalists … so how can we organise or simplify our kitchen spaces while still having all of the things we use and treasure - those pieces of crockery we’ve collected, gifts, our much-loved mixer, blender & coffee machine.

What should we think about at the design stage for an organised kitchen?

1. A larder or pantry

It’s an ‘old fashioned’ idea but the joy that a larder or pantry bring to people is phenomenal. You can see all your dried foods all together at a glance – flour, rice, pasta, lentils, tins, jars, cereals & sauces and so on. Spice, oil & vinegar racks on the insides of the doors are game changers … all your herbs and spices are visible, none lost or festering at the back of a cupboard. The pantry cupboard is a brilliant use of space compared to separate wall & base cabinetry.

2. Appliance Garage / Coffee & Tea station

A wonderful cupboard design. Usually this would be a tall cupboard with a countertop & electric sockets inside to plug in coffee machines and toasters. It’s great to have all the small appliances & their associated wires out of sight when the doors are closed. It’s also a delight to open, to see the collection of cherished cups, coffee pots and often extensive choice of tea. Usually ‘appliance garages’ are made with bi-fold doors so that you can easily leave the cupboard open while you’re using it. For example, at breakfast you might fold back the doors and pull the toaster forward so that the heat rising from warming your sourdough can dissipate which protects the shelf above.

3. Drawers. And drawers within drawers

Specific drawers tailored for specific kitchen things are so helpful, offering a place for everything. Pan lid drawers are one of our personal favourites, as well as drawers for drink bottles and lunch box paraphernalia. Keeping the bits together that so easily get muddled or lost at the back of a cupboard makes it simpler to find what you’re looking for. Cutlery & knife drawers are also great choices. As well as meaning that your cutlery & knifes are out of sight from small children, a drawer for your sharp knives also means no knife blocks in the way on your countertop. They also look so pretty when every piece of cutlery is in its place. When we made one recently our clients actually bought their Silver Cutlery, the type in a vintage canteen to us at the workshop. They wanted their special cutlery to be in the kitchen, stored carefully like in the canteen, but easy to access so that they could enjoy it every day rather than it being stuck in a box in the dining room.

4. Bins

Not often talked about or shared on Social Media, but bins are a really important consideration in the kitchen. So that you’re not always thinking about emptying the bin, make sure you choose units that have enough capacity and that there are enough units to allow for food waste, recycling and general waste.

5. Clear worktop space

It’s really important to think about where you will prep food in your kitchen. People often prioritise where to have their sink or hob, but thinking about clear preparation space is vital. Having a dedicated area will mean you’re much more likely to feel inspired to cook something nutritious and maybe even to try something new! Ideally the prep space would be centred between where you store food (fridge / freezer / larder), the cooking area (ovens / hob / range) and the tidying up area (sink / dishwasher / bins). That creates a good flow through your kitchen space during your cooking tasks.

The pantry cupboard and ‘appliance garage’ featured in this blog were handmade to commission for a family of five creating their dream home. To read more, see The Ilanga Kitchen

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