Many consumers want their kitchens to be as unique as they are.

They don’t want “cookie cutter” design but they also want to keep costs in check.

One innovative way to achieve this is by integrating antique or vintage furniture pieces into your client’s kitchen design.

By blending traditional and contemporary elements, you can create a unique, functional, and inviting kitchen designs that suits your client’s lifestyle and aesthetic preferences.

In this VESTA Blog we will explore how to do this and hopefully inspire you to include furniture pieces in an upcoming kitchen design.

A Bit of History

The historical kitchen was all about furniture pieces.

Individual pieces were brought into the space to help cooks preform different tasks.

In the industry, we still refer to these spaces as “Unfitted Kitchens”.

With the advent of “Fitted Kitchens” or kitchens were everything is built in, we lost touch with some of these special furniture pieces.

To get a unique look for your client, it is worth revisiting furniture pieces to see how they can enhance contemporary kitchen design.

Where to Begin

Before diving into the world of kitchen furniture integration, it’s essential to start with a well-thought-out plan.

You don’t want to include a furniture piece that doesn’t make sense within the design.

As with all your kitchen designs, begin by assessing the kitchen’s layout, size, and existing design elements.

Take into account the following factors:

Space Constraints

Consider the available space in the kitchen.

It’s crucial to choose furniture pieces that won’t overwhelm the area, ensuring that the kitchen remains functional and uncluttered.

Style and Aesthetic

Define your client’s style before you begin the design process.

Whether it’s modern, rustic, eclectic, or traditional, your choice of furniture should align with the kitchen’s overall design scheme.


Determine how the furniture pieces will contribute to the functionality of the kitchen.

Is it to add storage, seating, or prep space?

Keep this in mind when selecting furniture items.

Materials & Finishes

Pay attention to the materials and finishes of the kitchen furniture chosen.

Ensure they complement the other elements in the overall kitchen design and can stand up to the demands of this room.

Furniture Piece Options

There are multiple furniture pieces that can be integrated into a kitchen design.

Let’s explore some options.

Hutches & Sideboards

Hutches and sideboards are excellent additions to a kitchen design, providing both storage space and an opportunity to showcase decorative items.

A hutch or sideboard can be used to store dishes, glassware, or even small kitchen appliances.

It can also be used to showcase your client’s favorite kitchenware, collectibles, or decorative items on the open shelves or in glass-front cabinets.

This can add a personal touch to a kitchen and break up the monotony of traditional cabinets.

Depending on the kitchen’s style, you could choose a hutch or sideboard with a classic, vintage, or contemporary design.

Consider finishes like distressed paint, reclaimed wood, or sleek lacquer to match the kitchen’s aesthetic.

Open Shelving

Open shelving has gained popularity in contemporary kitchen designs for its ability to display dishes, glassware, and decorative items while maintaining an open and airy feel.

There are a variety of antique open shelving pieces on the market ranging from traditional, to country, to rustic and industrial.

Open shelves are excellent for displaying frequently-used items, making them easily accessible and could become a focal point in your designs.

By encouraging your client to curate the items on their open shelves they can create an aesthetically pleasing arrangement that makes their space unique.

Dining Tables & Chairs

Integrating a dining table into your kitchen design can create a seamless transition between meal preparation and dining.

Choose a dining table that fits comfortably within the kitchen space.

If you are designing a compact kitchen, consider a round or square table, which can make the room feel less cramped.

For larger kitchens, a rectangular table can create a sense of balance.

A trend we are seeing is to place a kitchen table in the center of a kitchen instead of an island.

The material and finish of the chosen dining table should complement the overall kitchen design.

And the dining chairs should not only be comfortable but also visually appealing.

Mix and match chair styles to add an eclectic touch, or opt for upholstered chairs for extra comfort.

Repurposing Vintage Furniture

Often the best way to get a one-of-a-kind look in a client’s kitchen with an antique or vintage piece of furniture is to repurpose it.

Incorporating heirloom furniture or flea market finds can infuse your kitchen designs with character and history.

Here are some ideas.

Kitchen Islands

Most client’s want a kitchen island and one of the most popular ways to integrate furniture into your kitchen design is to repurpose a piece as an island .

When choosing a furniture piece for a kitchen island, consider its design in relation to the kitchen’s style.

For a modern kitchen, sleek and minimalist designs with clean lines work well, while a rustic kitchen benefits from a distressed wood piece with charming details.

Also, always check out industrial items that can be converted into a functional kitchen island.

Industrial Repurpose

Here is an example of an industrial cart I had repurposed into a unique island.

We cleaned the piece up and added a wood countertop with hinged inserts to access the deep bins within the cart.

These bins are perfect for bulk storage and can also be filled with ice and used to cool drinks. (The built in drain at the bottom of the cart provides a way to drain the water when the ice melts.)

Also, the heavy duty casters allow this unique island to be rolled out to the patio for alfresco entertaining!

Sink Cabinets

Incorporating a furniture piece into a run of fitted cabinets can provide a focal point and the uniqueness your client is looking for.

A logical area to do this is at the main sink.

Retrofitting a traditional dresser or rustic cabinet to house a sink may be the perfect addition to a kitchen design.

Library & Tool Cabinets

Incorporating commercial cabinets such as vintage library card catalogue units can be great additions to a kitchen.

These units can be idea to store spices, condiments and small kitchen tools.

They also add a lot of texture to a design and can be the perfect juxtaposition to a modern kitchen design.


Dressers are ideal additions to contemporary kitchens.

They work well as a focal point on an extra wall as a coffee bar or serving area.

The options are almost infinite for how a kitchen designer can incorporate a vintage dresser in a kitchen design.


Another advantage to incorporating furniture pieces into a client’s kitchen design is sustainability.

Repurposing vintage furniture is an eco-friendly way to furnish your client’s kitchen.

By giving new life to old pieces, you reduce the demand for new furniture production.

Ultimately, the key to successfully integrating furniture pieces into your kitchen design is to infuse your client’s personality and preferences into the space.

Have you ever designed a kitchen that incorporated furniture pieces?

I’d love to hear about. Let me know in the comments below.

Jan Rutgers B.Sc. H.Ec.

Jan Rutgers is a Professional Kitchen Designer with more than 25 years experience. During her career she has designed over 1000 kitchens learning valuable skills with each one! She is founder of VESTABUL SCHOOL OF DESIGN where she educates and mentors people passionate about the Kitchen Design Industry.

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