In a small space, you may prefer to have the look of a U-shaped kitchen while swapping out one long run of units on one side for an island unit. This may make your space more useable and is especially useful if your kitchen incorporates a back door. Don't be afraid to showcase your personality in a compact room. Here an array of houseplants add a homely touch. Swap wall units for open shelves on one side of a U-shaped kitchen and it will help to open up the space a little, especially next to a full-height cabinet such as oven housing. Using a contrasting wall paint will help to highlight the absence of cabinetry. Pops of red and pink on small appliances, kitchen linen and accessories enliven this predominantly green scheme. While chimney breasts and windows can prove tricky to design a U-shaped kitchen around, tackled well they can turn into design features in their own right. The integration of a hob, oven and cooker hood into this chimney and the fit of base and wall units around the adjacent alcove and window spaces bring oodles of charm and character to this space. A lovely warm green on walls makes the perfect backdrop to country-cream units and oak worktops.
Often, it's not possible to get rid of structural pillars,' says Scott Nicholson, ‘but sometimes you can move them, and even shifting by half a metre can have a huge impact in some rooms. You can usually convert something negative into a positive feature if you deal with it imaginatively – try building a pillar into an island to create an architectural feature, for example. L-shaped and t-shaped rooms can be effectively split into zones, dedicating one leg to dining or storage, and keeping the working kitchen in the other. If you buy a property with curved walls, such as an oast house, it's usually because you like its style – ‘so make the most of its quirkiness with cabinets that follow the curves,' Scott advises. Even if this means that you have to buy more expensive bespoke furniture, you may not need a large amount of it to create a dramatic effect.
Place an island ingeniously and it's possible to separate the food preparation zone from an intimate dining area, whilst also preserving that all important open-plan feel. In this fabulously modern space, the creamy cabinetry and luxe hi-gloss textures bring a sense of cohesion to a wonderfully spacious, light and airy kitchen-diner, with colour and design leading the eye past the confines of the interior to the outdoor space beyond. Look closely at this classy, understated kitchen island and you'll discover it serves a multitude of purposes – a place to wash, prep food, with a neat breakfast bar to eat at with tucked-under stools. It has integrated power points so you can plug in any kitchen appliances you need and even sports matching-wood alcove shelving for displaying pottery and books.
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