Hidden Kitchen Design – What Is It? & How To Get The Look
Now you see it, now you don’t! If you’re looking for a contemporary and stylish kitchen design, then a hidden kitchen might be just what you’re after.
The concept behind hidden kitchen design is to create a clean and streamlined appearance. While at the same time providing easy access when needed. With its minimalist aesthetic, it’s perfect for those who are looking for a modern and elegant look in their home.
In this post, I’ll explore what hidden kitchen design is, the benefits of having a hidden kitchen, and how to get the look in your own home. Whether you have a small kitchen or a large open-plan living space, a hidden kitchen can be a great solution to your design needs.
Let’s get into it!
What Is Hidden Kitchen Design?
Hidden kitchen design (sometimes called a concealed kitchen or invisible kitchen) is a concept in interior design where the kitchen (or main kitchen elements) is concealed or integrated into the room or larger open-plan space without it standing out as a separate entity.
This is usually achieved through the use of sliding, folding and pocket cabinetry doors and is most commonly used in open-plan kitchen and living/dining rooms or loft/studio spaces.
The idea behind hidden kitchen design is to make the kitchen less visible, giving it a clean and streamlined appearance. While at the same time providing easy access when needed. Utilising hidden storage and clever design elements.
A hidden kitchen design can help to create a more spacious and open living area, as well as provide a more flexible use of space, particularly in smaller homes or apartments. It can also be used to achieve a specific aesthetic, such as a minimalist or modern look.
One of the most popular layouts/designs is to have a single run of full-height cabinetry along the wall which will conceal the main kitchen elements. Usually sliding or pocket doors will open to expose storage, appliances and countertop space. These designs will often have a simple kitchen island in front of them for additional worktop space but everything is kept simple, clear and clean.
Other terms sometimes used to describe a hidden kitchen include “integrated kitchen,” “built-in kitchen,” or “concealed appliance kitchen.”
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Why Would You Want A Hidden Kitchen? (Pros Of A Hidden Kitchen)
There are several advantages and reasons why you might want to consider a hidden kitchen for your kitchen design:
- Aesthetics. Hidden kitchens can provide a clean and sleek look, as they blend in with the rest of the living or dining space and home as a whole. This can help to create a cohesive and unified design aesthetic throughout the home. Perfect if you want to create a minimalist aesthetic in your house and kitchen.
- Space. Hidden kitchens can help to create the illusion of more space in a smaller layout or cluttered kitchen. By concealing the kitchen, it can make the living or dining area feel larger and more open which is great if you have limited space.
- Functionality. Hidden kitchens can provide flexibility in the use of space. When the kitchen is not in use, it can be concealed, allowing for a more relaxed living or dining space. When it is time to cook or prepare food, the kitchen can be easily accessed.
- Concealing Mess. A hidden kitchen can also help to conceal mess and clutter, giving the space a more tidy and organized appearance. It is often used to help hide small electrical appliances that would otherwise live on display.
- Entertaining. Hidden kitchens can also be ideal for entertaining guests. When entertaining, the kitchen can be concealed, allowing the host to focus on their guests and create a more relaxed and welcoming atmosphere.
What Are The Challenges Of Having A Hidden Kitchen? (Cons Of A Hidden Kitchen)
While a hidden kitchen can provide several benefits, there are also some challenges and disadvantages to consider:
- Cost. Installing a hidden kitchen can be more expensive than a traditional kitchen, as it often requires custom cabinetry, sliding or folding doors, and specialized design and construction.
- Maintenance. Hidden kitchens can be harder to clean and maintain than traditional kitchens, as they often require specialized cabinetry and hardware. These can be costly to repair or replace if they go wrong.
- Accessibility. If the kitchen is fully concealed behind cabinetry or a wall, it can be difficult and a bit of a nuisance to access items and appliances that are frequently used. It can be especially difficult for anyone with accessibility needs.
- Ventilation. They may require specialist or additional ventilation and airflow to prevent the buildup of odours and moisture. With the doors closed and the kitchen concealed, moisture cannot naturally escape. In addition, any concealed cooker hoods will need to be carefully planned out and installed.
- Storage. By its very nature, it may have limited storage space compared to a traditional kitchen. Some of the potential storage space will be taken up with pocket or sliding door mechanisms. As well as this, hidden kitchen design will often want to use less cabinetry overall to help with a clean and minimal look. Meaning fewer cupboards (and storage) overall.
- Lack of natural light. If the kitchen is fully concealed, it may lack natural light, which can impact the functionality of the space. Depending on the room and layout it’s quite likely that there won’t be as many windows in a hidden kitchen design. The classic big window behind the sink won’t be there as everything is designed to be concealed behind doors.
- Workspace. A hidden kitchen may not be suitable for all families, as it may not provide enough space for multiple people to work in the kitchen at the same time. They can oftentimes have limited countertop space for food prep and cooking.
- Need to keep tidy. One of the main points of having a hidden kitchen is that it keeps the room and everything in it looking neat and tidy. However, you’ll still need to keep things somewhat tidy in order to utilise them. If you’re a busy family home or just a little bit messy, having to always tidy away and close/hide the kitchen can be quite annoying.
Historically, what would a hidden kitchen be called?
Historically, hidden kitchens were typically referred to as sculleries or servants’ kitchens. In the past, sculleries were small, separate rooms located in the back of a house. They were used for preparing and washing dishes, as well as for food storage.
Servants’ kitchens were similar and were used by household staff to prepare meals. These rooms were often concealed from view and located away from the main living areas of the home.
Today, the term “hidden kitchen” is used to describe a modern design style that is characterized by a minimalist aesthetic and the concealment of kitchen appliances and cabinetry. You’ll often see hidden kitchen design in studio apartments or smaller spaces.
Although the concept of a hidden kitchen is modern, the idea of having a separate, concealed space for food preparation and storage has been around for centuries.
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Hidden Kitchen Design Ideas (How To Design A Hidden Kitchen)
There are plenty of clever ideas and ways you can incorporate hidden kitchen design ideas and features into your kitchen project. You don’t need to completely conceal everything. Sometimes that’s simply not possible or practical. However, you can introduce certain elements to help work towards the look.
Some of the most popular and effective ways are:
- Sliding or folding cabinet doors. Installing sliding or folding cabinet doors as part of your standard kitchen cabinetry is a common way to conceal kitchen appliances or workstations. This allows you to easily open the kitchen when you need to, and conceal it when it is not in use.
- Concealing with joinery. Another option is to conceal the kitchen behind custom joinery that matches the rest of the living or dining space. This can provide a seamless look, as the kitchen will blend in with the rest of the room.
- Integrating appliances. When designing a hidden kitchen, it is essential to consider the placement and integration of appliances. Appliances should be integrated into the cabinetry or hidden behind doors so that they do not disrupt the sleek and streamlined look of the kitchen.
- Hide the handles. Opting for handleless cabinets can help to conceal the true identity of the kitchen cupboards and help them to blend in with other joinery in the room. Consider installing electronic door and drawer openers that can open up cabinets with the touch of a button.
- Storage solutions. Hidden kitchen design often incorporates flexible storage units and solutions, like pull-out pantry shelves to make the most of the available space.
- Secret pantry. If possible, consider a secret walk-in pantry to hide away and store all your kitchen items and food. These can be cleverly concealed by using the same kitchen cabinet doors as the rest of your kitchen to seamlessly blend in.
- Invisible hob. If you’re into your latest tech and really want to keep things hidden, opt for an invisible induction hob. Brands such as TPB and Invisacook offer induction hobs that live underneath your countertop but create induction zones above. Giving a completely invisible cooking experience.
- Hide the hood. Choosing an integrated cooker hood that lives tucked away in cabinetry or a flush ceiling cooker hood can help to hide one of the more obvious large kitchen appliances. Just make sure to get some ventilation in there somewhere!
- Sliding countertop. For a real wow factor you could go for a sliding countertop for your kitchen island. Brands such as Boffi have pioneered this design concept and can create stunning hidden kitchen islands with sliding countertops that reveal the sink and hob beneath.
What Is An Invisible Kitchen?
An invisible kitchen is a type of hidden kitchen design that is characterized by the complete concealment of kitchen appliances, cabinetry, and other features. Think of a hidden kitchen and dial it up to 11.
The goal of an invisible kitchen is to create a clean and minimalist look, with no visible kitchen elements in the main living or dining area.
An invisible kitchen might be hidden behind cabinetry and sliding or bi-fold doors that blend in with the rest of the room. The appliances and fixtures in an invisible kitchen are typically integrated into the cabinetry or hidden behind doors so that they are not visible when the kitchen is not in use.
An invisible kitchen can create a more streamlined and attractive look. As well as greater flexibility in how you use the main living or dining area. However, designing an invisible kitchen can also pose some challenges, including the need for proper ventilation, lighting, and access to appliances.
There you have it! Everything you need to know about hidden kitchen design.
A modern and innovative approach to kitchen design that can transform the look and feel of your home. With its clean and streamlined appearance, they can create a more spacious and open living area, while also providing ample storage and counter space.
Whether you’re working with a small kitchen or a large open-plan space, there are plenty of ways to achieve the look of a hidden kitchen.
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Michael is a kitchen designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new kitchen installations for over 10 years. Before that, he was an electrician and part of a team that fitted kitchens. He created Kitchinsider in early 2019 to help give people advice when it comes to getting a new kitchen.