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What Is A Floating Kitchen? – Everything Explained

Looking for something super modern and contemporary for your next kitchen renovation project? Have you ever considered a floating kitchen?

In this post, I’ll explain what a floating kitchen and floating kitchen island are as well as their pros and cons. So you’ll know if this kitchen design style is right for you.

Let’s get into it!

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what is a floating kitchen?

A floating kitchen refers to the way kitchen cabinets are mounted to the wall (wall hung), rather than on legs or a sub-base, giving the illusion the cabinets are floating off the ground. Sadly it’s not magic.

A floating kitchen won’t have any plinth (toe kick) as the base cabinets won’t come down to the floor.

Instead, there will be a larger area of open floor space underneath, giving the illusion of a bigger more spacious room.

Kitchen cabinets attached to the wall, giving the illusion of floating off the floor

what is a floating kitchen island?

A floating kitchen island is when there are no end panels that connect with the floor and the plinth (toe kick) wraps around the whole island. Giving the illusion of a floating effect.

Often times LED strip lights will be installed around the bottom of the base cabinets to highlight this floating space and enhance the look of this design feature.

A floating island isn’t truly floating like a run of cabinets along a wall can be floating, simply because there isn’t a wall to fix the cabinets onto.

The term floating island is sometimes used to refer to freestanding kitchen islands or where a countertop will extend and overhang a kitchen island. However, I wouldn’t consider these true ‘floating’ kitchen islands.

Example of a floating kitchen island
Kitchen island with a ‘floating’ look

Pros Of a floating kitchen

  • Unique Modern Look: This style offers a sleek and contemporary aesthetic. The design is customizable to fit any home style, and the floating elements often feature clean lines and minimalistic appeal.

  • The Room Feels More Spacious and Open: A floating kitchen creates an illusion of more space, making the kitchen appear larger.

  • Helpful for Accessible Kitchen Design: This design is beneficial for its adjustable heights of counters and cabinets to accommodate various physical needs. It allows for easier navigation for wheelchairs and mobility aids.

Cons of a floating kitchen

  • Less Storage: Floating kitchens often have less storage space compared to traditional designs, as the absence of lower cabinets reduces overall storage capacity.

  • The Wall Needs to Be Strong Enough to Support the Weight: It’s essential for the wall to be sufficiently sturdy to bear the weight of floating elements, which may limit installation options or require additional structural support.

  • Installation Can Be More Labour-Intense: The process of installing a floating kitchen typically involves more labour, especially in ensuring that the floating elements are securely and safely mounted.

  • More Floor Area to Keep Clean: With more exposed floor area under the floating cabinets and counters, there’s a larger surface to keep clean, which might increase the effort required for regular maintenance.

Floating kitchen cabinets

Floating kitchen cabinets have been on the market for many years and are typically associated with modern kitchen design.

The cabinets are constructed in almost the same way a regular base cabinet would be constructed.

However, they may be slightly shorter in height and won’t require any legs fitted to the bottom of them. Instead, they will also require wall mounting brackets to be installed, similar to regular wall cabinets (upper cabinets).

Due to this wall mounting technique, your walls will need to be strong enough to support the weight of not only the cabinets but your countertop as well as anything you store in your cupboards.

To achieve this you may need to build a false or supporting wall to support everything.

Depending on the kitchen brand and amount of floating cabinets, some may require a type of pedestal to be installed to help support the weight. This is usually shallow depth and set back out of sight as much as possible to help maintain the floating illusion.

If at all unsure, ask a professional to assess the strength of the wall intended to hold the cabinets.

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Floating Shelves

While not strictly what I would consider a floating kitchen, floating shelves or open shelving can be another great way to create a contemporary kitchen and open a space up.

Again, you’ll need to make sure your wall is strong enough to support floating shelves or create supports inside the wall for a stronger installation.

And remember, don’t overload your floating shelves! They aren’t designed to hold heavy cookware, they’re for smaller and more decorative items. Such as bowls, mugs, cookbooks or artwork.

Check out my Kitchen Shelving Pinterest Board for some inspiration!

FAQs

Do You Lose Storage In A Floating Kitchen?

One of the biggest downsides of having a floating kitchen is the potential loss of cabinet storage space.

Because the cabinets themselves tend to be shorter than a standard kitchen base cabinet you will lose approximately 5-15cm of storage space.

The exact size of the floating kitchen cabinets and how much space you may lose will depend on the kitchen manufacturer and how they install their floating cabinets.

Can You Have A Sink In A Floating Kitchen?

Yes, you can install a sink into floating kitchen cabinets the same as you would any regular kitchen base cabinet.

The water feeds and the waste pipe would just need to be concealed in the wall and come out at the correct height inside the floating cabinet. This will avoid seeing any plumbing in the open ‘floating’ space underneath.

Similar to a floating vanity cabinet in your bathroom.

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Final thoughts…

There you have it! Everything you need to know about floating kitchens!

Floating kitchens can add a contemporary and spacious feel to any room while also helping to achieve a real wow factor.

However, you may lose a little storage and you’ll need to consider the installation logistics carefully.

What do you think, would you consider a floating kitchen?

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Author

Michael from Kitchinsider.com

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.