Kitchen furniture | Multi-purpose kitchen design

How kitchen designers can use furniture to create an adaptable space, which transforms to meet differing needs throughout a day

28 Mar, 24

How kitchen designers can use furniture to create an adaptable space, which transforms to meet differing needs throughout a day

KITCHEN FURNITURE | Creating a kitchen to serve multi-roles throughout the day

Showcased in a choice of Light Grey, Dark Grey and Desert Pink Durham furniture, LochAnna Kitchens offers banquette seating for a social kitchen


Open-plan living has seen the evolution of kitchens, not only in terms of aesthetics, but parameters extending far beyond the cooking and casual dining space.

While the kitchen was once designed to blend into adjacent living spaces, it could be argued ground floor design now emanates from the kitchen.

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We are spending more time in the kitchens and expecting it to perform a variety of tasks that change throughout the course of the day.

So much so, kitchen furniture manufacturers have now introduced cocktail bars, dressers, seating and media areas, as part of their portfolio, to make a social space.

Rather than simply planning a kitchen, designers now need to consider creating a home, and this was evident at the recent Kbb Birmingham exhibition.

Managing director of Daval Simon Bodsworth comments: “In my opinion, it all comes down to ‘custom comfort’ when it comes to supporting user-centred, social kitchens which are ergonomic and tailor-made by design.

“In fact, the interiors market is going to be defined by artisanal qualities as UK homeowners are keen to enhance their surrounding with highly personal design elements to create home environments which are flexible enough to work, rest and socialise in!”

Dining space

With dining room popularity in decline, over the past 10 years, according to property website RightMove, it has placed more emphasis on the kitchen to create a place to eat. Enter breakfast bars, lower level table extensions off kitchen islands, and banquette seating.

Kitchen category manager of LochAnna Kitchens Sinead Trainor explains: “The practicality of social seating transforms the kitchen into a space that encourages all members of the household to dine together, fostering a sense of family time, and has the added benefit of creating extra storage space…such as lift-up seats or build-in drawers.”

Bringing together people also extends to family and friends, as developments in kitchen design has most recently seen it become a place of entertainment.

“A YouGov poll revealed that 65% of UK adults prefer to stay in, rather than going out.

“We have found that staying at home more has completely transformed home entertaining and by virtue the social kitchen experience, with integrated home bars becoming a welcome addition in the kitchen”, says Simon Bodsworth of Naval.

LochAnna Kitchens has recently introduced the Thistleton Drinks Pantry to its portfolio, and design manager at Symphony Kitchens Josie Medved added: “At Symphony, we have developed some new styles of unit including home office furniture, pantries and bar pantries along with different styles of islands to help consumers create more social spaces.”

Conceal and reveal

Interestingly, then, with the requirement for the kitchen to fulfil a variety of roles, there is a greater need to create an element of privacy. Perhaps changing from a functional working kitchen and office in the day, to a quieter socialising space in the evening.

KITCHEN FURNITURE | Creating a kitchen to serve multi-roles throughout the day 1

The Concepta III from Hawa is a slide and pivot door, available in half-height and floor-to-ceiling designs, as well as for wall units, and is available from Hafele


The ability to conceal and reveal has become a key element of kitchen interior design.

Managing director for Euromobel/Sachsenkuchen Bodie Kelay explains how this has affected his company’s product development: “Sachsenkuchen has developed a new ‘passage door’ system to create a hidden storage zone, perfect to use as a walk-in pantry, utility, or prep kitchens.”

It offers the opportunity to create additional sales, as retailers can create an adjacent room off the main kitchen space, which can be closed off.

Head of UK operations at Rotpunkt Matt Phillips adds: “Balancing the public and private aspects of the ground floor is key to the relaxed social kitchen so developing specialist laundry and utility furniture solutions has been a growth area for us, recently, in addition to our kitchen living core collections.”

Democratic design

But is this trend for social kitchens simply for large areas or can it be diluted into smaller spaces. Josie Medved of Symphony comments: “It can be harder to create seating and social areas in a small kitchen but it not impossible!

KITCHEN FURNITURE | Creating a kitchen to serve multi-roles throughout the day 3

Now you see it, now you don’t with the Hettich FurnSpin which is rotated to reveal open shelves from a small glass display through to floor-to-ceiling furniture


“Sometimes a small seating area can be created from an awkward corner of the kitchen. Or, it might be possible to fit a narrow island into a small kitchen, which can be achieved with our reduced depth units.”

Understanding the products on the market, which optimise space, can help a designer create a smaller social kitchen.

Matt Phillips of Rotpunkt adds: “I’m a big believer in the democracy of design and small can definitely be beautiful with clever storage solutions, such as inset kitchens.”

And he cites a handleless one-wall unit, as a solution for a smaller space. Most recently, Hettich has developed the FurniSpin, where a rotating column can be used to display or conceal contents and pocket doors to slide and hide a number of units.

Desirable decors
However, it’s not simply the form of the design but also the selection of finishes, which create a social space. Nature-inspired colours in matt finishes, timber and woodgrain effects, interrupt the kitchen paradigm.

KITCHEN FURNITURE | Creating a kitchen to serve multi-roles throughout the day 2

Turin, from Symphony, is available in Charcoal, Hunter Green matt finishes as well as Dark Stone and Dark Walnut. Media units complement the kitchen furniture


Sinead Traynor of LochAnna Kitchens states: “Incorporating wood into the overall kitchen design not only adds depth and warmth but also introduces a natural element that transforms the kitchen into a relaxing, social haven.

“We expect to see solid timber kitchens taking centre stage within 2024, as homeowners desire durability in equal measure to style.”

Certainly, the continued evolution of the ground floor space – with social kitchen, home bar, dedicated office space, boot room, laundry and walk-in – will offer kitchen designers more profitable sales opportunities