The future of kitchen design is open-plan, multipurpose spaces that don't look very much like kitchens. Take a look at how to create a functional, but low-impact scheme.   

Modern kitchen with freestanding pocket door cabinetry - sola kitchens - grand designs

Image: Kitchen design by Amanda Neilson Interiors and Sola Kitchens. Photo: Lucy Williams

The kitchen is one of the most functional rooms in your home and it can often show in the design, crowded with appliances and fixtures that are necessary for everyday cooking and beyond. However with the rise of open-plan living, a trend has developed in kitchen design for 'invisible' kitchens – those that hide away all the visual noise of the standard cooking space for a less cluttered look that doesn't sacrifice on usability. 

Create the look of freestanding furniture

 Modern kitchen with freestanding pocket door cabinetry - sola kitchens - grand designs

Image: Kitchen design by Amanda Neilson Interiors and Sola Kitchens. Photo: Lucy Williams

The traditional kitchen aesthetic is a fitted style, so for a way to de-signal your cooking space as a kitchen, creating the look of freestanding furniture can be effective. 

This design by Sola Kitchens was created in a masserie (or farmhouse) in Puglia, Italy, which serves as a family's holiday home. The designer created 3 kitchen hubs within separate cabinets - one for storage, one containing the sink and one holding the oven and hob top with integrated extraction. 

Pocket doors 

DesignSpace London modern kitchen with pocket doors closed - home improvements - grand designs

Image: Designspace London 

A kitchen behind closed doors may sound good in theory, but it needs to be able to open up when required for ease of use. The answer: pocket doors. These are doors mounted onto the front which can slide and be stored away in pocket cavities at the side of each cabinet.  

DesignSpace London modern kitchen with pocket doors open - home improvements - grand designs

Image: Designspace London

In this Designspace London kitchen, once the pocket doors are stored away, the kitchen reveals itself in it's full glory. However, the door cavities do eat up valuable work surface and storage space, so if space is tight, this option may be too restrictive. 

Hidden storage 

 Proctor and Shaw Architects Marylebone Apartment London Photo: Ståle Eriksen

Image: Proctor and Shaw Architects Photo: Ståle Eriksen

A trend in decorative wall panelling is also opening doors for more streamlined, disguised kitchen cabinetry. Floor to ceiling doors, for example, offer ample space for storage, but if you opt for a panelled style, with handleless mechanisms, it can appear as a feature wall. 

Proctor and Shaw Architects Marylebone Apartment London Ståle Eriksen - home improvements - grand designs

Image: Proctor and Shaw Architects Photo: Ståle Eriksen

This concept from Proctor and Shaw Architects is a masterclass, with subtle cut-outs of this strip-panelled wall housing an integrated fridge freezer. 

Seamless surfaces 

seamless marble island in luxury kitchen - blakes london - grand designs home improvements

Image: Blakes London 

Think about ways to streamline the appearance of your kitchen to achieve the invisible look. Use less contrast between work surface and cabinetry colours, or consider using seamless surfaces on an island, as shown here in this Blakes London kitchen

Low impact appliances 

eggersman kitchen with low impact appliances - grand designs

Image: Eggersman

Appliances are often the gieaway of a kitchen space, so look for clever ideas to help camouflage them into your space. Most appliances can be integrated behind doors, with the exception of ovens and hobs. Choose sleek, streamlined designs, or think about the materials they're set against - dark surfaces and cabinetry will disguise classic black appliances. Choose smart downdraft extraction to avoid bulky overhead fans from giving your kitchen away. 

eggersman kitchen with reflective oven - home improvements - grand designs

Image: Eggersman 

This kitchen from Eggersman not only features a flush-mount induction hob for a near-invisible cooking space on the countertop, but these ovens with super-reflective facias that helps them cut a far less imposing figure in the final design.  


Would you consider an invisible kitchen? Let us know by tweeting us @granddesigns or posting a comment on our Facebook page



A guide to choosing your kitchen worktop

6 of the best high-tech gadgets for your kitchen

9 inspiring kitchen trends for 2020

Kevins Column

Grand Designs Live: Ask an Expert Weekend 22-23 May 2021

Discover free home project advice and product recommendations from the comfort of your own home. Register now to express your interest.
Home Improvements

How to plan your kitchen storage

Follow this guide when planning the storage in your new kitchen to ensure your scheme is well-organised, easy to use and has room for everything...
Home Improvements

A view to thrill – a stunning Surrey home with weathertight sliding doors

Sliding doors and windows can open up a home and deliver security, weather protection and incredible views. We look at a beautiful case study from...
Home Improvements

Grand Designs launches a sustainable sofa collection

Discover what is available in the Grand Designs collection of sustainable and stylish sofas, armchairs and accessories, manufactured by furniture retailer DFS.
Home Improvements

Which is the best front door to buy?

Choose the best front door for your property with this guide to selecting the best design
Home Improvements

Add a sense of space and light with sliding glass doors

Whether you’re extending, self-building or improving, discover how sliding glass doors can create a sense of space and flood your home with natural light
Home Improvements

Let a wood fired oven revolutionise your al fresco lifestyle

Putting the right wood fired oven at the heart of your al fresco entertaining can enrich your weekends and evenings, if you get it right....