As designers, we are all aware that the Kitchen has become part of the greatroom.

Also as designers, we are always looking for new ways to design this room to work in these open spaces.

The “Hidden” Kitchen is a trend that has been creeping into Kitchen design lately and in this post I would like to explore what that entails.

Read on to learn my 15 ways to get this look!

I describe the Hidden Kitchen as a kitchen space that blends in with the rest of the greatroom space.

It is a design approach that integrates the Kitchen in the room without having it stand out as a separate entity.

The Hidden Kitchen still needs to function for the basic need of food preparation, but in this case the lines should blur between the decor style in the greatroom.

The following are 15 ideas you as the Kitchen Designer could incorporate into your client’s Hidden Kitchen!

1. Eliminate the Upper Wall Cabinets

Wall cabinets typically scream Kitchen.

The removal of them allows you to get creative with all of this wall space.

It also helps the Kitchen blend into the rest of the room.

Keep in mind though, that you will need to replace the storage lost by removing this important Kitchen element.

2. Install a Display Shelf

Open shelves are often found in other areas of the greatroom such as on either side of the fireplace.

You can echo this look by installing a single display shelf or two in the Kitchen area.

These shelves can be stained or painted and repeated in the rest of the space.

Another option is to integrate them into the wall treatment such as to cap a slab of stone or quartz in a backsplash or as part of a full slab wall installation.

3. Create a Hidden Pantry

The pantry or larder was a staple in Kitchens 100 years ago and they are making a big comeback in the Post-COVID Pandemic Kitchen

In the “Hidden” Kitchen they can be disguised to work with the look and feel you are creating for your client.

Hinging systems now available allow for the door to a large walk in pantry to blend into a framed wall, or within a bank of tall cabinet units.

4. Incorporate a Row of Tall Cabinets

Instead of the standard base cabinet and wall cabinet Kitchen set up, install a row of tall cabinets for storage and built-in appliances.

This approach is similar to installing a full wall of paneling.

The wall will then blend into the background hiding all the kitchen function behind it.

Kitchen design with a full wall of tall elements and a large center island in front of it, makes for a great hidden kitchen layout.

5. Integrate Appliances with Panels

The large stainless steel refrigerator is hard to conceal in a hidden Kitchen.

A solution is to specify an integrated refrigerator and apply cabinet panels to it.

Installing it on a wall with tall cabinet units hides the refrigeration within the wall of tall cabinets.

To take the hidden theme even further, you could specify a refrigeration column that employs touch to open which allows it to be installed without a handle.

6. Specify Sliding Doors

I first saw the installation of tall sliding doors at the EuroCucina design show in Milan several years ago.

They offer the perfect solution to hiding a Kitchen when not in use and exposing it when needed through the use of sliding panels.

Tall sliding doors offer the designer many opportunities to get creative with what is exposed when the Kitchen is hidden.

This would be a great solution to experiment with for the ultimate hidden Kitchen design.

7. Hide the Hood

An extractor hood is essential in a greatroom Kitchen design because you do not want cooking odors, grease and steam floating around the space.

In the Hidden Kitchen, a design solution to “hide” the ventilation system is important.

Options include discreet ceiling mounted units or down draft systems.

You can also opt to integrate it into the background by matching it to your wall treatment.

Don’t eliminate the hood though, since as stated above, you want to extract all signs of cooking from the hidden Kitchen at the end of the greatroom.

8. Avoid Door or Drawer Hardware

While there are only a handful of refrigerators that offer touch to open operation, it is much easier to get cabinetry with touch to open functionality.

To help hide the Kitchen, avoid installing decorative hardware on the cabinetry.

Options for this include special hardware that when pushed will pop the door or drawer open, or you could opt for a cabinet design with a channel.

There is even electronic systems that with the lightest touch will open and close cabinet doors and drawers.

If hardware is a must, match it to the cabinet door style so that it disappears into the background.

9. Match the Cabinetry to the Floor

A trick of the eye you may want to employ for your hidden Kitchen design is to match the cabinetry to the floor of the greatroom.

A neutral color scheme for both these elements will give the affect of blending the two.

If the Kitchen is located at the end of the space, having the cabinets stained to match the floor and installed with the grain continuing vertically up the cabinet doors can make the Kitchen disappear.

This technique works best with slab style wood veneer styled Kitchen cabinet doors.

Echoing this treatment on the walls in other areas of the space will pull the whole look together.

10. Include a Table instead of an Island

A Kitchen island is the most asked for element in a Kitchen design by homeowners.

Most people however do not know that the Kitchen Island evolved from the harvest table placed in the middle of the room.

To integrate your dining and Kitchen areas, consider including a table instead of a standard island to meld these two areas together.

The table as Kitchen island need not be the traditional country harvest table.

Experiment with ultra modern or industrial design to craft one that works in your client’s hidden Kitchen.

11. Incorporate Freestanding Furniture Pieces

A concept called the Unfitted Kitchen, can work well to “hide” the Kitchen in a greatroom.

The Unfitted Kitchen consists of a variety of furniture pieces acting as individual work zones within the space.

For example a hutch for dishes, an armoire as a pantry, an arched hearth for a cooking zone or a dresser for pots & pans storage.

It is easy to see how this approach could work in a room that included furniture pieces for other activities in the space.

12. Keep Sinks & Faucets Streamline

With the abundant choice in sinks and faucets on the market, it is easy to “hide” these elements within your Kitchen design.

A black sink in a black quartz countertop or a white faucet against a white large format tile backsplash can do the trick.

When specifying the sinks and faucets in the room think about how you could blend them into the background.

Also, keep with simple designs like a single large sink undermounted or integrated into the countertop, with a slim line single hole goose neck faucet.

Little details like this will have them “disappearing” in your hidden Kitchen design.

13. Install Show stopping Lighting

Decorative lighting has become a feature in interior design.

By choosing show stopping lighting throughout the greatroom, including in the Kitchen, you will meld the spaces together.

Overhead lighting is usually the first place to start, but take your lighting one step further and install wall scones in the Kitchen area.

Those large walls where the upper wall cabinets have been removed is the perfect place to install a couple of decorative wall scones.

14. Include Table Lamps

With the lack of wall cabinets, it can be difficult to get task lighting on to the countertops.

The perfect solution in a Hidden Kitchen is to place table lamps on the counters or island top.

They will product an unexpected element in the Kitchen and offer great mood lighting for the overall space.

15. Add Some Greenery

And finally, add some greenery.

By this I mean some statement plants!

Don’t be afraid to accessorize with a large potted plant or dwarf tree in the Kitchen space.

Placing plants on those display shelves works well too.

Hopefully this look at the Hidden Kitchen will inspire you to look at how you could integrate the Kitchen more into your client’s greatroom design.

As always, I would love to hear you thoughts on this subject.

You can leave me a comment below.

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Jan Rutgers B.Sc. H.Ec.

Jan Rutgers has been designing kitchens and products for over 25 years and is a recipient of Kitchen & Bath Design News’ Top Innovators in 2020 for the Kitchen & Bath Industry. She has designed more than 1000 kitchens learning valuable skills with each one! Her experience in Kitchen Design, Millwork Manufacturing and Product Development has led her to create VESTABUL SCHOOL OF DESIGN where she educates and mentors people passionate about the Kitchen Design Industry.

1 Comment on “15 Ways to Design a “Hidden” Kitchen

  1. Hello there. Since earlier this year, I’ve been saving a hugs portion of my salary to remodel my kitchen which is expected to start this fall. Thanks to you, I now realize that we could create a more stylish and refined appearance for our kitchen by setting up several tall cabinets too. Alright, I’ll try to keep this tip in mind when ordering an installation soon after.

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