Kitchen Design - 11.10.17
How to achieve a minimalist kitchen
As anyone tuned into modern interior design should know, minimalism is a type of design marked by simplicity and a lack of excess. Despite becoming increasingly popular in the past decade, it’s still a tricky aesthetic to incorporate into busy and functional spaces such as the kitchen. With all those pots and pans, all those pointless utensils, all those hi-tech appliances, how exactly are you supposed to give your kitchen that minimalist edge?
Think about open space and natural light, wide surfaces and ample storage, slender colour palettes and streamlined shapes. If you have a messy family and you rarely see your countertops for dishes, perhaps you would benefit from a minimalist kitchen design as they encourage high levels of cleanliness. If you’re looking to cut costs without compromising on quality and luxury, minimalist kitchens are designed with economy and efficiency in mind, which often makes them a lot cheaper to design and maintain.
Whatever your specific requirements may be, we can all learn a lot by thinking resourcefully and clearing our heads of excess. So read on as we consider some of the central features in minimalist kitchen design.
The importance of layout
There is no place for unnecessary divisions, complex shapes and excess furniture in a minimalist kitchen; the layout should be spacious, straight-lined and easy to navigate. As such, it’s worth thinking minimally even at the design stage when you’re discerning the outline of your kitchen. A few questions to consider would be:
- Where and how far apart will the appliances be positioned?
- How much counter space should there be?
- Where and what size will the kitchen island be?
Consider designing with an acceptable kitchen work triangle in mind, as this will ensure that your kitchen is balanced and proportionate in an aesthetic sense, as well as simple to use and clean in a functional sense. When it comes to furniture, less is always more. Be mindful of where you place standalone pieces like tables and chairs, as you don’t want to obstruct your workspace or create any obstacles in such a high-traffic area.
Identify the essentials
Strictly speaking, the only absolutely essential appliances in any kitchen are a cooker/stove, a fridge/freezer and a sink. Everything else – microwaves, dishwashers, kettles, coffee makers, blenders – could be removed without making your kitchen dysfunctional and obsolete.
Likewise with utensils: do you really need that avocado slicer? If you think you do, think harder, because there’s a large chance that you really don’t.
And no, we’re not saying that you should go and throw out literally everything but the kitchen sink. It’s just important to identify which items you use the most, which ones you value the most, which are completely necessary and which are superfluous. Separating the wheat from the chaff can be a difficult and frustrating experience, but the results will take you a long way towards achieving the perfect minimalist kitchen. Plus, it’s a particularly important prerequisite for tackling our next point…
It’s time to declutter
Kitchens often suffer from having too much stuff in too small a space, and whether you like it or not a kitchen isn’t truly minimalist if it’s cluttered. But as you start getting rid of things, you will be surprised by how much you never use and don’t really need: neglected gadgets and utensils, unnecessary amounts of cookware and crockery, obscure herbs and spices bought for a one-time use. Oh and why is Auntie Audrey’s old bone china still gathering dust on the top shelf?
This is a whole other topic in and of itself that raises a whole lot of questions, but you should note that decluttering and minimising your possessions often requires making fundamental changes to your lifestyle too. That’s why so many people talk about ‘embracing minimalism’ or ‘becoming a minimalist’ rather than just designing their home in a minimalist style. So it’s definitely worth having a read about efficient methods of decluttering and minimalist culture in general. If you’re interested, Marie Kondo’s book on the topic is a great place to start.
Neatness is a virtue
Keeping your countertops neat and uncluttered is not only essential for a true minimalist kitchen. According to a study conducted last year, a clear kitchen counter with nothing but a fruit bowl on top works to encourage healthy eating and reduce stress! More generally, proponents of minimalist design often talk about a correlation between their design choices and their lifestyle choices. Don’t underestimate the power of design to help you feel better and live better!
If you have all your utensils and cookware proudly on display, you might want to consider abandoning the racks and exposed shelves in favour of something a little more subtle. Having so many items visible in your space can make your kitchen look busy and excessive, but with neat storage solutions and fitted cabinets you can give your kitchen supplies a new home, all the while making the room look a lot more smooth and trim. For a similar effect, incorporate recessed downlights into your cabinetry. Having the lighting come from a hidden source as opposed to bulky exterior fittings gives your kitchen a smooth finish, not to mention a touch of the ethereal.
Embracing the natural world
As well as promoting simplicity and economy of design, a minimalist space also fosters a connection with the natural world. This is a logical outcome of removing the excesses of modern life and embracing the inherent value of stripped-down essentials. Indeed, there are noticeable similarities between the features of both minimalist and sustainable design, and the former naturally goes hand-in-hand with organic living and clean eating. As such, minimalist kitchens tend to feel distinctly fresh and open, incorporating plenty of natural light, an abundance of plants, and large windows that connect the room with an outdoor space.
Designing kitchens comes to us as second nature here at Burnhill Kitchens, so if you need some expert advice please don’t hesitate to get in touch.