The complete guide to a modular kitchen

Published On: Sep 17, 2021

‘Happiness is a small house, with a big kitchen.’ -Alfred Hitchcock 

In the past one and a half years, the kitchen has been the hero room of many homes. From experimental cooking to sumptuous meals, our kitchen has seen it all, it became a place where many families found solace amidst all the chaos. Which is one of the reasons why the need for a modern and contemporary kitchen rose drastically and paved way for the modular kitchen. A cost-effective, organised and well in everybody’s budget, sleek modular kitchen that is not only  efficiently designed by a designer way who can make your kitchen look upgraded.

So let us look at this guide with the help of our interior expert - who will take you through a journey of how the best kind of kitchen is planned including things like semi-modular kitchen, parallel layouts to PVC modular kitchen, we’ve got it all covered. Roll up your sleeves, grab a pen and paper and get going!

Let Us First Understand The Various Layouts

Every space that is designed in a home whether it is a workstation, a bedroom, a wardrobe, or even a kitchen, requires a layout that optimally uses it and makes it easy for the people using it. The most common layouts that are found in Indian homes are as follows:

U-shaped Modular Kitchen

U shaped modular kitchen

When planned properly this layout ensures that the one cooking in the kitchen doesn’t walk around from one countertop to the other. Also famously known as the horseshoe kitchen, you can easily locate this kitchen, when it runs along three walls minus the one with the door. Ideal for big families where two to three people use the kitchen simultaneously. We recommend that you need not waste the corners with plain shelves, fitting a modular accessory like the blind-corner unity or magic corners can be both appealing and extremely useful. For those who believe that a kitchen should house everything, from the dry pantry to crockery units, this is ideal for you and your family.

L-shaped Modular Kitchen

L-shaped modular kitchen with underlining lights under the cabinets

This layout of the kitchen is the most common one usually perfect when a single person is cooking or maximum of two people preparing a meal simultaneously. But this kind of kitchen needs to be used in such a way that there is a spot for each and every item in the kitchen. One way to make it look plush is by adding an underlining spotlight just under the overhead cabinets so that it makes it look spacey as well. For those who believe that a small and efficient kitchen is your kind of kitchen, this one definitely makes the cut.

Parallel Modular Kitchen

Parallel Modular Kitchen

This kind of kitchen has recently become extremely popular in modern apartments. Also known as galley modular kitchen, this kind of kitchen provides a lot of space creating storage options efficiently with easy to reach corners, with the kitchen door on one end and a window on the other. This kind of kitchen gives a very clean look aesthetically without any issue of cluttering on either of the countertops. If you are bit by a cleanliness bug and love your kitchen spic and span, this is the right layout for you.

Island Modular Kitchen

Island Modular Kitchen

Especially found in the Western part of the world, this kind of layout quickly took over Indian households where space was definitely not an issue. The island that works as additional space and a breakfast table, all in one, this kind of kitchen is perfect for a home with kids. Many homes prefer keeping hob or sink on the island but whatever the use, the island becomes the highlight of the kitchen. With the right colour palette and proper space between the island and the rest of the countertops, this is perfect for those who love to entertain guests or family friends occasionally and have an edgy style.

Peninsula Modular Kitchen

Peninsula Modular Kitchen

These terms take us straight back to school, don’t they, but don’t worry, we’re still in the present. An island that is not independent but extended from the wall and much smaller in size is called a peninsula. You don’t miss out on an extra space without having too much space in your kitchen by adding an extra counter space and seating area. In a narrow kitchen, this space can be a hero and play the part of a bar counter, breakfast table, instagram-worthy display of cheese board, all in one. For those who don’t wish to compromise on the look without having to give out too much space to the kitchen, this is a perfect way to blend in both.

Straight-line Modular Kitchen

Straight line Modular Kitchen

Last but not the least, this type of kitchen popularly known as a one-wall kitchen occupies only one wall and consists of base cabinets and overhead shelves on just one wall. With limited space, this kind of kitchen is not a popular layout in Indian households. But if you are a nuclear family looking for a budget-friendly kitchen, this can be one of the options for you.

Before we go any further, there is one shape in the kitchen that everyone must know, the triangular shape, popularly known as ‘work-triangle’. Now, what is this ‘work-triangle’, let us dig a little deeper into this concept.

This concept was developed in the early twentieth century, now known by many names, ‘the kitchen triangle’ or ‘the golden triangle’ - states that a kitchen’s three main work areas should form a triangle, the sink, the refrigerator, and the stove. It is vital because these three areas are the most used in the kitchen. What was stated in the early twentieth-century is still extremely valid and all of this is to ensure that you don’t keep on walking around and around in the kitchen making your workflow less tiresome and more enjoyable. Just going to crunch a few numbers here to make this theory sound more logical, don’t run away.

The main principle is that the distance between any two of the three points of the triangle should ideally be between 4ft and 9ft making the total sum of sides of the triangle between 12ft and 26ft giving enough space to work comfortably at each station. Try to ensure that the counters, cabinets, or islands do not obstruct the triangle in any way. In simple language, the three heroes of the kitchen shouldn’t be too close or too far.

Now, let’s get beyond numbers to a more interesting part of kitchen planning, the kitchen zones, and try to deconstruct as we proceed.

People sitting together & planning a layout

We, as experts, want to take your kitchen beyond the triangle and help you in demarcating work zones for various activities that take place in the kitchen. For eg., preparation, storage, cooking, and washing the utensils. When the kitchen is split up into various work sites it helps in maximising the space and utilising the kitchen as per the user’s lifestyle and restrictions (if any) in one’s home.

Modular Kitchen Design Specifications

Let us divide the zones in the kitchen based on activity. Splitting it into the three main elements of ‘the work triangle’, the hob unity, preparation space, and cleaning zone.

Cooking

person cooking in a modular kitchen

The hob unit must be in the cooking zone. This zone should only house stove, oven, chimney and the under-counter cabinets should only have everyday cooking utensils, cutlery, and spices holders to make your cooking an enjoyable experience.

Preparation

person preparing for food in the kitchen

The preparation zone should ideally be to the right of the cooking zone so that it makes it easier for the user to chop veggies and put them easily into the pan. The preparation zone should house things like knife stands, cutting boards, mixer grinders, and food processors.

Cleaning

person washing dishes

A zone that takes care of things after the meal is done, should include the sink, drying rack, dishwasher (if you have one) and a dustbin. Keeping in mind that this zone should be away from the cooking zone.

Now let us divide the zones based on storage and further splitting it into perishables and non-perishable items.

Perishables

built in cabinets

This zone should be reserved only for storing food items, ideally next to the refrigerator. The best way to go about it is by creating a build-in cabinet that acts as a pantry within the kitchen.

Non-perishables

cabinets containing cutlery and utensils

This zone should be explicitly dedicated in its entirety to store utensils, pots, pans, knives, cutlery, etc. While this zone is spread across the kitchen, ensuring that each item is placed carefully where it might be needed is the trick.

family having a good time in the kitchen

The most important thing while designing a kitchen is understanding who will be the end-user of the space. Whether it is the working professional who ensures everyone is fed on time and provides the occasional sweets to the family over the weekends, or is it the elderly who love to cook family recipes and feed the entire family with love and warmth. Below is a list of all possible scenarios that can help in creating an understanding of the various aspects that are sometimes missed while designing the 'perfect’ kitchen. The question is, ‘it is perfect for whom?’

End-user

man and woman cooking together

Is it the cook who comes during the day to help you cook or are you the in-house ‘masterchef’ providing food on the table? If the answer is the latter, then in that case it should be a pleasure walking into the kitchen to cook, with seamless handles to hold the cabinet wicker baskets, light-coloured laminates for the shutters, hydraulic top-lift cabinets, and decorative backsplash should be your choice.

Storage-requirements (for eg. configurations for a 2 or 3 BHK flats)

organised and systematic kitchen drawers

Are you a hoarder and love collecting kitchen items, like the little garlic peeler, cob corn stripper, or the extra-large wok that you will use ‘only when’ you wish to cook oriental? Or are the user who likes to put each and every item to use in your kitchen and put everything else in the trash or recycle it in some or other way? Well, we have storage ideas for both kinds as we love a good kitchen either way.

When it comes to keeping your ‘once-in-a-blue-moon’ items, loft storage is vital to store all these items out of sight only to remember when in use, more drawers, a tall unit, a built-in microwave, all these things make your kitchen look less cluttered and help you house all your purchases properly. Whereas, basic storage requires no tall unit, no lofts, lesser drawers, helping you keep your kitchen look basic and neat.

Budget (for eg., modular kitchen price)

kitchen next to it are either dollar bills

The most important factor other than the look and feel is the budget. But the best part is that one need not compromise on the beauty with the options available in the market making you be able to design a modular kitchen without burning a hole in your pocket.

Let us now just remember what are the most important factors in a kitchen and stick to those while designing a dream kitchen. Remember the word cooking has the word ‘king’ in it and when you master the art of cooking, why not master the art of designing it, or at least understanding the various components that your kitchen should have.

1. Countertop

kitchen where a good countertop is visible

The countertop of the kitchen is like sunglasses for your face, with the right kind, it can make your kitchen look fab or drab in just seconds. Other than good looks, a countertop should be stain-proof, heat-resistant and extremely durable as it holds pretty much everything in your kitchen, from your heated utensils to chopped vegetables. The most common choices for Indian kitchens are quartz and granite but more synthetic materials are becoming the game-changers lately, like corona, sile stone but granite has ruled for the past many decades and still is.

2. Cabinets

cabinets in high gloss acrylic finish

It is often said that cabinets are the most important part of the kitchen as they bear the maximum load in terms of storage. Let’s understand the various types of cabinets that can be placed in a kitchen. Dividing the cabinets basis the type of storage and their location the basic kind are: Wall units, refrigerator unity, pantry pull out, tall unity, base unity, oven unity, roller shutters or tambor unit as they’re popularly called and last but not the least the wall unit.

3. Backsplash

countertop and backsplash with the same material

The backsplash is very prone to splashes during cooking which is why ceramic, glass and mosaic tiles are the most popular choice for the simple reason that they are easy to clean. A backsplash also helps in creating a cleaner look if you extend the countertop material to the backsplash.

4. Flooring

retro kitchen flooring, checked black and white tiles

Often when we talk about the kitchen, flooring is neglected because mostly all homes have good flooring with neutral colours that match with the kitchen in some or the other way. However, if change is needed ceramic tiles and marbles are the two most used options for flooring.

5. Sink

a shiny double bowl sink

Over the years the sink which was the most undervalued part of the kitchen got a lot of importance because of multiple options that came crawling. Single bowl sink is the most commonly found sink in most homes, ideal for washing but with a scarce space to placed washed dishes, it quickly becomes crowded. Then comes the double bowl sink, with one large and one small sink, this kind of sink almost always wins the multi-tasking race. The third kind is the sink with a draining board, a new and revolutionary kind, which helps in providing space to drain vegetables and dry utensils.

A few elements that go unnoticed while designing a kitchen are listed below, they are always secondary but keeping an eye on them makes a whole lot of difference.

1. Theme/Latest Materials

Whenever we visit a restaurant we notice how every single thing is following a theme, whether it is cutlery, or the lighting, napkins or the seating, there is a rhythm in the way space speaks and if anything is off, it quickly catches the eye. Similarly, while designing any home, a pattern and theme should flow across, whether it is in materials or colours, whether they are black and white, grey and white, a theme should always follow. While designing a kitchen, keep in mind the colour of your furniture in the dining room as it can match with the laminate of the cabinets, the countertop can play a contrasting role while the materials speak the same language as the rest of the house.

2. Ventilation

It is a very important factor in the kitchen which is often neglected in Indian homes. You can figure out if the kitchen is designed thoughtfully by checking the ventilation. To make sure that the kitchen looks clean and fresh even after a heavy-duty cook, that is the sign of a properly designed kitchen with sufficient window space and doors for cross ventilation.

3. Lighting

For any space to look good, the lighting should not only be sufficient and proper it should also be functional and aesthetically pleasing. Ensure that the lighting type and style should match with the theme of the kitchen as it is psychologically proven that light intensity plays a key role in determining the mood of the end-user.

4. Appliance

Kitchen appliances play a vital role in making a modular kitchen feel contemporary and modern. When with each progressive day our phone gets updated why not bring this change in the kitchen with the latest gadgets and technological advancements.

Cabinets are one of the key ingredient for any kitchen, which are like the bones in a human body,  extremely crucial and hold the entire space together, therefore it is a must to discuss different kinds of cabinets materials, carcasses and coats.

1. Best Plywood For Kitchen Cabinets In India

Kitchen cabinets are like the bones in our body, extremely crucial and hold the entire space together. The material used in making these cabinets need to be top-notch, therefore, materials like plywood are always in demand, the most famous one being the BWR or Boiling- Water Resistant which are stronger yet lightweight and come in a variety of finishes.

2. Modular Kitchen Carcass Material

A carcass is the body of the module which joins panels together after which shutters, hardware and hinges are added. For the carcass, plywood, MDF or HDF, particleboard or wood are the most common options. Though plywood is moisture resistant and best option for kitchen cabinets, MDF or HDF are most commonly used since they can give a smooth and neat look. However, particleboard is the most economical option for a modular kitchen but it cannot hold weight and is the least durable of all materials, whereas, natural wood can be a very expensive and bulky option for your kitchen.

3. Modular Kitchen Shutter Material & Finishes

Natural wood shutters add a rustic charm to your kitchen, whereas, acrylic finish gives your kitchen a high-end finish. Aluminium profile shutters give a more industrial as well as neat look to the kitchen whereas glass or painted shutters help give a striking contrast when paired up with other kitchen materials like laminates or plywood. Veneer shutters are for those who want to replicate a wooden rustic feel but don’t want to spend too much on it. Laminate shutters are very popular and come in various finishes, colours and patterns. PU coated shutters help provide a seamless look to your kitchen whereas PVC membrane shutters are smooth and highly water-resistant.

confused customer or a customer thinking

We recommend that before jumping into wanting a new kitchen, prepare a checklist of all the things wrong in your kitchen, all the things that can be right in your kitchen and all the things that you wish to have in your kitchen.

We have tried our best to provide all the possible answers to the questions that can pop up in your mind but if we missed out on anything, head to the list of FAQ’s below and seek the answers for all those questions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q1: What is a modular kitchen?

A modular kitchen is simply a modern and flexible way to design your kitchen allowing you to choose from a variety of cabinets for different functions which come in ‘modules’. Each module comes in different sizes, styles, finishes and colours providing a lot of variety that fits your taste and style. It is a highly customisable option which means that you can make all your storage needs meet without settling for a mass-produced kitchen and add your unique flavour to your kitchen.

Q2: Why Should we need A Modular Kitchen?

Modular kitchen helps in providing a fresh and beautiful look and utilising the space optimally. With the help of contemporary finishes, materials and colours you can bring life to your kitchen. Each module in the kitchen can be repaired without damaging the entire kitchen as opposed to a civil kitchen. Modular kitchen helps you in making extra space according to your own need.

Q3: What is the time frame required to install a modular kitchen from Interior Company?

The time frame that Interior Company takes from the time you finalise designs and materials till the kitchen is delivered and installed in your home is 45* days.

Q4: How to provide the best storage for a modular kitchen?

The best way to provide storage for a modular kitchen is to first ensure your needs, how much storage is required utensils, cutlery, pantry (dry and wet both), appliances, whether or not a dishwasher a requirement of yours or a single bowl sink will suffice in your kitchen depending on your dishes per meal.

Q5. How to maintain my modular kitchen in the right way?

The best part about a modular kitchen is that it is not high-maintenance. Using disinfectant spray on the cabinets to clean and pull out the drawers gently and partially to increase the life cycle. Do not overstuff utensils in the cabinet as it can lead to a high-load problem. Make sure that you repair cracks or peeling immediately so that it does not become a big problem eventually.

Q6: What are the materials used for kitchen interior design?

Materials used for kitchen interior design are PVC plywood, acrylic, PU, particleboard, veneers, granite, tiles, aluminium, and then as per each customised kitchen materials can vary depending one the taste and budget of each user.

Q7. What makes the parallel kitchen design so special?

Parallel or galley kitchen is a relatively new concept in the Indian market. It is compact and convenient way to give your kitchen a modern and contemporary upgrade by keeping it clean, neat and sleek. With kitchens on a space crunch such a layout is perfect as it optimally utilises space and provides a more wide look by demarcating kitchen areas for cooking and preparation.

Q8: How to make a smart modular kitchen?

Handle-less kitchen cabinets, hydraulic cabinets, mosaic backsplash, dip-in kitchen sink with double bowls, one for cleaning and the other for draining, peppy colours with far more futuristic look, these are various ways in which your can make your kitchen look smarter and such features can accentuate the look in just a jiffy.

Q9. What is a customised modular kitchen?

A customised modular kitchen is a kitchen that is designed as per your home and the space available in your kitchen with all your requirements, finishes, materials, colours, themes and appliances.

Q10: What are possible built in kitchen appliances?

For starters, a chimney is a must, a microwave is a staple, it is quickly an appliance that has become popular in the past few years. Either a built-in hob or stylish stove, both are good options, depending on your budget. Appliances like dishwashers are not a successful bet in Indian kitchens, however, air-fryers, mixers grinders, toasters and sandwich makers safely kept inside a tambor unit are the new wave of style in the kitchen.

Q11: What are the latest trends in modular kitchen?

There are a lot of options when it comes to kitchen designing. The latest trends in 2021 are all about environment friendliness and sustainability including elements of the nature into designs, a perfect blend between nature and technologies. Minimalism is going to prevail as it not only promotes sustainable choice but also gives a clutter free and functional vibe across. Open kitchens are trending making kitchen the heart of the house as lately kitchen has been an active part of the house.

Q12: How to design a retro kitchen?

With checkered tiling or flooring, wallpaper on the island, contrasting vintage appliances, you can create a seamless retro kitchen. But the best way is to bring in a blend of modern and retro styles, with latest technology in appliances and vintage style panel finish.

Q13: What is the standard size of a kitchen island?

The average size of a kitchen island is 80 inches (6.6ft) X 40 inches (3.3ft) with 36 inches (3ft) to 42 inches (3.5ft) of clearance all around it. The standard height should be 36 inches (3ft) which can be raised up to 42 inches (3.5ft) if you want the island to be used for dining purposes.

Q14: Why are the pros/cons of modular kitchens?

Pros: Modular kitchens are sleek and stylish with a wide variety of textures, finishes and colours available. They are ergonomically designed with functional storage units and perfect finish. They save space and are durable.

Cons: As per each user’s requirement they can become expensive and high maintenance depending on the materials one chooses and the appliance one decides on installing. Due to a lot permutations and combinations on designs, layouts, colours and finishes, there can be a possibility of a clash of designs and one might end with a common design.

Hope we have covered all our bases and helped you get a clearer picture as to what all goes into designing a kitchen. So put your thinking caps on and visit our website to book an appointment with our kitchen expert today and see your dream kitchen come to life!