Practical Ways to Create More Space within Shrinking Kitchens
According to a global study on Cooking: attitudes and time spent conducted by GfK (Growth from Knowledge) in 2015:
- 48% of Indian consumers said they had great knowledge of and experience with food and cooking
- 39% were really passionate about food and cooking
- 13% cooked purely for fun every day or on most days
- And most importantly, Indians spent in average 13.2 hours per week cooking (including peeling, chopping, dicing
Over the last few years, there has been a significant change in attitude towards how
essential a kitchen is to living well. Rising disposable incomes, migration trends, changing food habits and
lifestyles, the influence of international cuisines and food cultures, living independently away from home, ready
access to healthy and hygienic food options have all contributed to the changing perception of cooking at home.
The following statistics elaborates this further:
- The Indian frozen foods market reached a value of around INR 74 Billion in 2018. The market
is further projected to reach a value INR 188 Billion by 2024, expanding at a CAGR of around 17% during
- The study, titled ‘Digital Platforms Reign in the Food Ordering Market’, by Market Research Future said the
growth in online food ordering market in India is likely to grow at over 16% annually to touch
$17.02 billion by 2023.
- Based on data from the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) which captures consumption patterns Nielsen estimates that on average urban Indians spend INR 6500 on eating out, with a wide gap in average expenditure between different income groups. The affluent class spends almost twice as much as the middle class on eating out, though even the latter’s spends are significant.
What does this mean for students of architecture and interior design courses?
The good news is that many still continue to believe that the kitchen is the most important room in a home while the not so good news is that most emerging housing units today lack a full-sized kitchen space. The kitchen has become an extension of the new living room as the trend of open kitchens has increased. It gives the visual impression of space efficiency and makes a home larger. Being hard-pressed for time, maintaining work and home life balance has also led to the necessity of creating spaces that allow easy interaction amongst family members and guests while preparing food and performing personal chores.
The conventional choice of closed kitchen layout does appeal to many because of the privacy it provides and the efficiency with which it caters to the Indian style of cooking. Some kitchens actually have a half wall or a pass-through window, which covers some portion of the kitchen while maintaining a certain degree of openness and accessibility.
No matter what the type of layout is, there has been a move towards using the innovative solution of modular kitchens to enhance kitchen interior. The Indian modular kitchen market stood at $206 million in 2018 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 27% during 2019-2024 to reach $862 million by 2024.
Strongly believing that students come with intrinsic knowledge, the Interior Architecture and Design course at IIAD introduces them to the fundamental principles and contexts of the Built Environment with a view to understanding their own context, their being, their background, their roots and their cultural milieu. They are also encouraged to question and create their personal narratives by situating themselves within historical and socio-cultural contexts and following trends in the fast-paced forever changing world that we live in. This encourages them to collate information from various sources and influences their design concepts especially when planning kitchens for small spaces.
The kitchen is no longer a space dominated by gender. Today it’s a space to co-create, de-stress and allow for lifestyle choices and individual identities to flourish. Minimalism is at its peak especially since the working population is open to relocating cities and continents for better prospects. Therefore, functionality and practicality are the foremost concerns
Most kitchen layouts for ease of functioning could be straight, U-shaped, L-shaped, parallel and include an island counter. Also, the most basic criteria when deciding the space to house a kitchen are the vital utilities including gas, water, electric supply and exhaust. This then is followed by the challenge to create a kitchen based on the end user’s requirements and making the best use of space. The basic premise is to understand that a small cooking space doesn’t mean de-prioritizing the decor to make it functional. In fact, the right interior design ideas can transform and maximize the utility of the tiniest of spaces.
Counter space is often a premium. If there isn’t a built-in countertop then one can customize to create a movable island on wheels which functions by adding valuable work surface and storage. The article on how to make an island work in a small kitchen explores this concept further. The general rule of kitchen design is to allow for 3 feet of clearance between a fixed island and other surfaces for comfort, safety, and ease of use. But in the case of movable islands, this isn’t critical, as one can adjust the space as needed and use the islands for other purposes when not in use.
Exploring storage space ideas is a necessity. Typically unused spaces are windows, ceilings, sides of cabinets, space over the fridge or the sink and hard to reach corners. These spaces can be utilised to provide custom storage solutions. Alternatively, storage doesn’t have to necessarily be used in the way it was originally intended. Switching up what goes where opens up various possibilities that offer convenience and is eye-catching
Simultaneously, downsizing and decluttering is a good way to remove clutter from the kitchen while giving the visual appeal of a larger space. Human tendency is to accumulate, hoard and store. This applies to utensils and crockery as much to other things in life. Getting your kitchen in order is simply a matter of being practical and realistic, says Vicky Silverthorn, a professional declutterer. It’s best to keep only the best knives, a favourite set of glasses, most frequently used kitchen tools while being ruthless about purging the rest.
Smart appliances help to automate many of the time-consuming, repetitive tasks associated with cooking and daily household tasks freeing up valuable time and energy. The Indian smart kitchen appliances market, which includes refrigerators, ovens, hoods, blenders, coffee makers, scales, cookers and dishwashers, is estimated to increase revenue at cumulative annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.8% and unit shipments will increase at a CAGR of 10.5% during 2019 – 2026.
Another practical way to create more space in a small kitchen is the right use of light and colour palette along with accessories. White light is best suited and should be positioned in front, to help work with ease without shadows being a distraction. Also, installing under counter and cabinet lights can be perfect for ease of functioning. If the kitchen doesn’t have a window to allow for natural lighting then installing a mirror to reflect the light helps give the space a brighter feel. The kitchen colours can be chosen based on individual preference ranging from bold to cool or warm, subtle and delightful to airy. Accented colours help kitchens to stand apart. Over the past few years, consumers have been deviating from the common all-white kitchen interiors to neither too pale nor too dark colours. Charcoal grey, champagne, and cream colours have been gaining significant popularity amongst contemporary houses.
Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube also provide a plethora of creative and innovative solutions (organising hacks, use of pretty canisters, tiered shelving, drop-leaf table, pullout pantry amongst others) which can be customised to meet convenience and efficiency of small spaces.
Making the most of what you have is often the best way forward when designing the space. Also, the plethora of statistics available gives the impression that the scope of developing a career exclusively focused on building and designing small kitchens is both fulfilling and lucrative.