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10 Ideas for Creating a Clutter-free and Multi-functional Kitchen

Do you dream of a sleek, minimal kitchen where everything has a home and there’s always enough worktop space? Read on

Houzz UK Contributor. LWK Kitchens are a design-led German Kitchen specialist based… More

In recent years, it’s become feasible to create ever more minimal kitchen designs, made possible through increasingly streamlined and pared-back door, worktop and appliance profiles, void of fussy or unnecessary detail, as well as new ways of hiding appliances, or minimising the space they take up.

It’s a style often popular for open-plan spaces, where a clean, uncluttered kitchen won’t take over the whole space or dominate the living area. Another benefit is that a multi-purpose workstation is one that all the family can use, whether for cooking, working or spending time together. Here are some ideas for creating a low-key kitchen that packs in everything you need.

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Keep it clean
Clean lines and unnecessary details are key to achieving minimalism in the kitchen; thin or slimline worktops, under-mounted sinks and handleless doors are perfect examples of this. With the latter, the lack of handles creates a smooth, uninterrupted flow of cabinetry, and is also a great choice for small kitchens, as there’s no risk of catching clothing as you work and they make cleaning a breeze.

Don’t imagine you can’t contrast this style of kitchen with period features, either, as the space pictured demonstrates.

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Choose a simple colour palette
Another easy way to achieve a minimal kitchen is to maintain a simple colour palette. This might consist of just one colour, such as white. If you choose this option, then include some texture, as seen here, or else materials with a slight variation of tone to prevent the kitchen looking flat and monotonous.

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Another popular option is to use the simplicity of your colour palette to highlight a favourite kitchen feature; this might be an island or worktop in a contrasting colour or material. Alternatively, your minimal design might be ideal for highlighting a piece of artwork, an exposed wall, feature lighting or a statement splashback.

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Go for induction
Whether you prefer a gas or induction hob boils down to personal preference, but induction hobs can be particularly advantageous if you need extra workspace.

If you choose a flush-mounted or bevelled-edge design, you can achieve a streamlined fit against the worktop. This means you can use this as additional working space when it’s not in use.

One thing to watch out for with hobs like this is that they can get scratched. So while you’re not using it for cooking, it’s a good idea to lay a placemat, worktop protector or chopping board over it.

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Conceal your appliances…
Appliance fascias have evolved over recent years to the extent that any button, switch or dial not needed, generally isn’t present. And those that remain have become smaller and more discreet. This creates a cleaner appearance, ideal if you don’t want your appliances to draw attention.

In fact, some appliances can retract out of sight altogether. One example is the downdraft extractor, which recedes into the work surface when not in use.

Door fronts, including cupboards, sliding doors, pocket doors or tambour units, are some of the other options for concealing your kitchen appliances. These include small appliances, such as kettles, toasters and microwaves. As well as providing storage, these solutions also allow you to maintain your sleek and minimal look.

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…or make them multi-functional
Choose appliances that do more than one job. For example, you can eliminate the need for a microwave altogether by opting for a combination microwave oven. Like a conventional microwave, this can quickly heat or defrost food, but it will also cook, grill, roast and bake, too. This makes for more flexible cooking options, as well as more kitchen space.

A combined washer/dryer rather than two separate appliances will also save on space, while a 3-in-1 tap, which dispenses boiling as well as warm and cold water, can eliminate the need for a kettle.

How to choose the perfect taps

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Avoid features that easily attract clutter
Open shelves, glass-fronted cabinets and wall hooks can look lovely in many kitchens, adding character or an eclectic feel. However, if sleek, uncluttered minimalism is your style or aim, avoid them – unless, of course, you’re so tidy you can keep them looking well-ordered at all times. If not, chances are they’ll attract clutter.

They’re also not always the best solution if you need lots of space for storage, as overfilling them will look untidy. Comparatively, closed units maximise storage, since you don’t have to worry about them being tidy (as the contents aren’t on display), and again they minimise clutter on worktops, as you can simply shove everything into them when not in use.

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Maximise your worktop
In smaller kitchens especially, being able to create additional worktop space is always a bonus. Do this by making your work surfaces multi-functional. Three ideas for how to do this include:

  • In an integrated worktop, swerve drainer grooves, so you can use the space either side of your sink for preparing food more easily. It’ll also cost you less not to have these cut in.
  • Ask the company that made your worktop to save the piece cut out for the sink. You can then reuse this as infill (as seen above) when you’re not using the sink, which will give you back some worktop space at these times.
  • Finally, if space allows, you can oversize your worktop depth from 65cm to between 72-75cm, giving you more work space.

How to choose the perfect sink

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Contemplate a multi-functional worktop
Still on the subject of worktops, choose your material according to how you’ll use the surface.

For example, with quartz worktops, you can chop food or put warm items directly onto the surface without damaging it, which can help in a small kitchen where there’s minimal space to work or to store chopping boards. This kind of surface is also lower maintenance.

Different worktop materials can also be beneficial depending on the type of cooking you like to do. For example, quartz, marble and granite are great for rolling out pastry due to their cool surface; they’re also more hygienic for this compared with other materials, such as wood.

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Make use of your wall space
By opting for wall units that reach to the ceiling, you can easily create extra storage space – something that always comes in handy and will help to keep your work surfaces clear. Pale-coloured doors will also help to keep the space looking light and open. Store your infrequently used items in the top cupboards, which you can access via a foldaway stool.

Alternatively, for easier (and safer) access, there’s an internal storage option available with a pull-down lever (as pictured). This lowers the contents directly to you.

Taking your wall units to the ceiling without a gap is also good because it means dirt can’t gather on the top of the cupboards, so you’ll never have to worrying about dusting up there!

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Plump for a pop-up
Typically, a modern, multi-functional kitchen is not just for cooking. It’s a space where we use our laptops and tablets just as much as our cookware, so it’s important to include suitably positioned sockets.

This won’t necessarily be along a wall, as is traditional. Instead, you can try pop-up or S-Box sockets, as seen here. These flip out from beneath a worktop as and when you need them, then retract neatly. They can be useful for islands, but also if you don’t like the look of sockets on show generally.

What multi-functional features contribute to a minimal look in your home? Share your tips in the Comments below.

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