Anne Interiors Interior Designer Glasgow UK

The Hidden Kitchen or “No Kitchen" Kitchen Trend (16 Tips on How to Achieve It)

Hidden Kitchen No Kitchen Kitchen
via Behance by Sumerya Sorkun

Table of Contents

Yup, another kitchen post! You probably know by now what’s my favourite room to design? Funny I’m not even the frequent user of our kitchen. It is the amazing chef-hubby who does most of the yummy dinners! However, I truly enjoy planning this most technical space in the house—turning it into the most functional and beautiful at the same time.

So, did you notice how the more our kitchens become the central hub of the home, the more it “disappears”, hence the trending term, “no kitchen-kitchen” or a hidden kitchen.

While most people have probably not caught up on the bug and see this emerging trend in kitchens as impractical, a lot of us interior designers and architects would argue that it could actually work and it makes total sense why kitchen interiors are shifting shape.

The rationale behind it is like the common social rooms of our homes, we want the kitchen to appear like normal furniture that doesn’t look like the technical engine that it is or has been for the past centuries. Because most if not all of our entertaining now happens in this open plan kitchen-living-dining, we naturally want to keep the flow and ambience that way—elegant, comfortable, conversational and decorative rather than just practical, cold and technical.

The following are a list of tips and ideas on how to design a fully functional and practical kitchen that is cosy, welcoming and “blends-in” with the rest of the open plan room—a hidden kitchen or a no-kitchen-kitchen:

1. Do away with kitchen “uppers” (wall cabinets).

In order to achieve a hidden kitchen, you must do away with features that are most indicative of kitchens — the hanging wall cabinets. By taking them down entirely not only allows your room to breathe but also lets you be creative with that new blank space like you would to an ordinary wall in your house.

2. Put a single shelf or two at the most.

Hanging a shelf isn’t as oppressive as full on wall cabinets and it gives you opportunities for arranging lovely vignettes of cooking prep essentials mixed with decorative items like paintings and sculptures so that it doesn’t look “kitcheny”. Obviously don’t hang this directly above a cooker.

3. A row of tall kitchen cabinets

Assign one full wall for a row of tall cupboards to house all your previous (wall cabinet) items. This should ideally integrate your fridge, ovens and other appliances that may be built into cupboards as well.

4. Create a “Narnia” pantry

Locate a separate hidden kitchen pantry that blends in with your walls or tall cupboards.

5. Incorporate some freestanding furniture for characterful storage.

Don’t limit yourself to armoires or sideboards but you may also consider a lovely antique haberdashery for a centrepiece kitchen island!

6. Match your kitchen cabinets with either your wall or flooring, or both!

Try matching your base cabinets either to the same color tone and material as your walls or your flooring. In that way you only create two visual separations instead of three (when you go for a totally different color and finish for your base cabinets).

7. Statement Lighting

A statement chandelier may serve as a functional task lighting over an island and it immediately lifts the ambience of your kitchen like it’s truly another special room.

8. Add table lamps

Add unexpected table lamps for mood lighting on your worktops or shelf.

9. Add foliage

Greenery in the kitchen shouldn’t be limited to herbs.

Use trailing ivies, styled branches and fresh bouquet of flowers to soften your space. If and when you can, bring the outside in through strategic placement of windows – in this case, a window splashback!

10. Invest in discreet hoods and extractors.

Either a downdraft cooker hood, induction cooktops with integrated extractor or a powerful ceiling-mounted type so that it is not imposing on your space. There are also decorative pendant extractors which are essentially pendant lights that also doubles up as an extractor fan. Better yet, save some cash and plan your hob next to a window that you can open for natural ventilation.

11. Use slimline taps

When you cannot hide the sink, use slimline taps (even for traditional kitchens) or its complete opposite—an ornate, almost sculptural one to disguise it as décor.

Either an extremely minimalist kitchen tap that blends into your counter tops or splashback or a decorative one that complements your styling.

12. Avoid cupboard door and drawer handles

Like “uppers”, cupboard handles distinguish a kitchen furniture from the rest of your storage at home. A lot of kitchen suppliers offer a push-to-open type nowadays (yes, even on traditional Shaker style!). It is also handy for when your hands are both full. If you cannot avoid handles, opt for knobs instead.

13. Hidden kitchen

Partial or a fully functioning kitchen may be totally closed away until you are ready to cook again or wash the dishes.

If you want your kitchen to totally disappear, use either one or a combination of these systems:

Pocket doors

Sliding doors

Bi-fold doors

Contrary to common misconception that you require more space to pull this off, a hidden kitchen is especially beneficial to those of us who live in a relatively small home because storage can actually be maximized by using the full wall (or walls) width and height available. It’s also an opportunity to hide any awkward nook and cranny of your room and incorporate it within your storage solution.

Treat the hidden kitchen either as a seamless part of a room or like an accent wall by using a different material or colour to your adjacent wall.

Bulthaup’s Kitchen Workshop is worth a special mention though because it is the epitome of “hidden kitchen” craftsmanship! It is ideal for both small and large spaces because of its slimline freestanding sculptural form, mobility and an extremely organized structure.

hidden kitchen

14. Use reflective materials on your cabinetry.

Further create the illusion of more space by specifying a reflective material such as mirrored to instantly double your space perception.

And elevate the elegance through reflective copper, brass and gold metallics.

15. Choose a natural wood finish.

Nothing can be more welcoming and sociable than the warmth of wood. Apply a modern take by going handle-less. Natural wood cupboards easily resemble a freestanding sideboard or an armoire so it is perfect for a “no kitchen kitchen” look!

16. Replace an island with a table

Be ok with losing a bit of storage by replacing an island with a dining table that can also double up as prep area. This could really make your kitchen less “kitcheny”.

And to appeal to the rustic romantics, go for a butcher block table or trolley island.

I know it may seem counterintuitive because nothing screams more kitchen than a butcher block table but again, the warmth of wood just tends to draw everyone in to congregate around it. Especially when styled minimally instead of stuffing it with bowls and pans, it can look very charming and welcoming.

Just remember to incorporate a row of tall cabinets on one wall or hidden pantry to compensate for storage lost.

My favourite is this bright and airy room. Even with its dark-toned wood, the volume of the space that opens up directly to a natural outdoor area achieves a relaxing and welcoming ambience perfect for entertainment. It exudes a “no kitchen” kitchen look despite the presence of uppers because it is limited to a single row and the sheer height of the room emphasized by the adjacent floor to ceiling cabinetry diminishes it.


No Kitchen Kitchen
via @elizabethhalesdesign

I love interior trend-spotting and I take extreme pleasure in finding ways to translate and apply them into every ordinary home in order to make them just as special whilst always keeping functionality at heart. 

Undergoing your own kitchen renovation or contemplating an open plan layout and want to give these tips a go? Book in a no obligation chat to see how I can support! At Anne Interiors we aim to achieve a laid-back affordable luxury that you deserve!

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3 months ago

great read, just randomly found this.