A minimal kitchen presents the ultimate dilemma.
Especially if you love to cook.
You need your equipment, but you don’t want clutter.
After all, your kitchen isn't a working museum where kids spill out of a school bus to come and watch you make scones, 1800’s style. Black iron skillets, dented copper pans and bunches of dusty herbs cascading from the ceiling.
You want clean lines, quiet elegance, and seamless integration.
So how do you keep everything within easy reach but hidden away?
How do you optimise your space so your shelves aren’t packed in like Tetris?
The great news is, kitchen storage has come lightyears since the Victorian scullery. You don’t have to choose between rummaging in dark corners, or jars, oils, gadgets and recipe books strewn across the worktop. Now everything has a uniquely designed space.
Drawers and carousels glide open like magic carpets. Secret compartments levitate out of worktops. Entire kitchens fold out of a single cupboard. Rather than you working in the kitchen, your kitchen works for you. Cooking feels effortless and there’s no compromise on style.
Here’s how to store everything you need in your minimal kitchen.
In this article, I’m going to show you innovative and intelligent kitchen storage solutions.
Taking four brands who’ve perfected the art, you’ll see how to rid yourself of clutter and have everything just an arms reach away.
The Italian brand Boffi are world leaders in precision engineered kitchens.
With doors that extend from floor to above counter level, their Combine design is an imposing 'monolithic' style kitchen.
It’s recently undergone a hidden transformation in the evolution version. By increasing the depth of the worktop, they've incorporated an equipment track behind the hob, sink and food preparation areas. This uses a space that’s never been considered for storage before.
Integrated into the worktop, sliding lids cover storage compartments with cutlery trays, knife blocks, spice and oil holders, and electric sets with hidden sockets.
You can also add an elegant hanging bar above the compartments with integral lighting. Now everything you need is instantly to hand and lit without the need for overhead spots or pendants.
Using the same hidden space, Boffi’s Aprile kitchen has a concealed knife block, chopping slab, and storage containers that rise from the worktop via a touch sensor.
The same system can be adapted to become a splashback behind your hob with integrated down draft suction. No need for dated overhead extractors. Fumes are sucked into a filtering system in the island, and return to the room as clean air.
A new handle system called Sloane was recently added to Aprile. It's carved into the cabinet door and can be lined in contrasting materials like wood or stainless steel. An interesting addition to an elegant kitchen.
I mentioned b2, by the German kitchen maker Bulthaup, in my Creating a Calm Home article, but it’s such a masterclass in organised storage, there’s more you need to see.
Inspired by a carpenter’s workshop, minus Pinocchio and the sawdust, there’s 3 freestanding elements.
The Workbench - sink, hob and food prep.
The Tool Cabinet - pots, pans and pasta.
The Appliance Cabinet - no prizes for guessing.
Bulthaup calculated the exact space you need for tools, gadgets, tableware and food. Then compressed this with cleverly interlocking storage elements to the minimum dimensions.
The result - The Tool Cabinet.
When closed an elegant piece of furniture. When open, an entire kitchen ready to go.
Doors can be configured with holding rails, rods, hooks, and knife boards. You can also add a metal framed door with jars, containers and shelves, giving you three layers of storage in one.
Usually you can hide every appliance in the kitchen except your oven. The Appliance Cabinet takes care of this by concealing everything behind matching wood doors. I love how the doors rotate and slide down the side of the cabinet.
b2 is available in walnut or oak, with slatted maple shelves and aluminium inserts. A beautifully crafted, minimalist’s dream.
Bulthaup are always creating new ways to store your kitchen essentials. My favourite’s the drawer organisation in their b3 kitchen.
The flat bottom drawer’s been abandoned in favour of horizontal V-shaped troughs. Inserts have a triangular base to slot into place. Storage containers, boxes, trays, knife blocks and foil roll holders. Now even spice jars want to get in your drawers!
Everything’s neatly laid out and immediately to hand. Wood, metal or perspex prisms allow you to subdivide compartments and endlessly adapt.
If you’ve read this far and thinking - 'gorgeous designs and great ideas Dan, but I just have too much stuff!' And you’ve put your kitchen on a diet six times already, but not shed a pound of clutter. All’s not lost.
The answer to your bloated kitchen is my Move to Minimal 3 Step Fix. Three super simple questions that tell you what to keep, and what to throw.
And if you want more inspiration, there's over 300 kitchen designs on our minimal kitchen Pinterest board.
Poliform’s focus is to bring the contents of your cabinets and drawers to you, so you never have to reach for anything.
I particularly love their Phoenix design. An ultra slim worktop, it’s seamless on all sides except for the neatly cut away handle along the drawer edge. Perfect for an open plan space, with no high level cupboards and an island unit that contains storage in a single block.
As you open their full height cupboard, the doors slide into hidden compartments to reveal a miniature kitchen. There are high level shelves, small recessed sections, a worktop and low level drawers.
This could work as a breakfast bar, coffee area or drinks cabinet complete with toaster and cereals; coffee machine and cups; plates, glasses and cutlery. The interior finish is so immaculate with integrated lighting it looks more like a walk in wardrobe.
Below counter level uniform cabinet fronts maintain symmetry. But open them up to find hidden drawers. The subdivided space is fully used without spoiling the minimal exterior.
An alternative full height cabinet reveals shelves that glide out. Again the door slides invisibly down the side of the cabinet and integrated lighting automatically illuminates. A low retaining edge means nothing falls from the shelves with access from three sides. Leave it open while cooking and neatly fold it away when you’re done.
If you value craftsmanship, but want a contemporary design, then the Danish cabinet maker Garde Hvalsøe is for you.
Not a kitchen composed of modules you select from a collection. Framed is individually handmade by skilled craftsmen as a single unit.
Mounted on legs or a recessed block for a lighter appearance, there are shallow drawers for cutlery, utensils and linen, and deep drawers for pans and crockery. The cabinet frame is recessed, so the drawer fronts appear to float. Carved from a single piece of Ash or Oregon Pine, the wood grain beautifully flows from one drawer to the next.
The metal sides glide up and over to become the worktop and then down to form the sink as one seamless piece. You’ll want to run your hand over the cool surface. Available in copper or zinc, the metal develops a unique patination over time.
The exquisite craftsmanship continues with dovetail jointed drawers. Peek inside and you feel you’re onboard an old sailing ship on the spice route from Zanzibar. The intricate wooden compartments store knives like cutlasses, and jars nestle in curved channels like barrels. You can almost smell the cinnamon, vanilla and cardamom. Everything for culinary adventures in the kitchen.
The restrained palette of two natural materials with clean lines, two drawer depths and no handles makes Framed a minimal masterpiece.
Gone are the days when it's a choice between minimal, or the convenience of having things in easy reach.
Now storage is so sophisticated and seamless, you can have everything neatly hidden but immediately to hand.
So clear the clutter of oils, pepper grinders, knife blocks, and spice racks. Enjoy the calm elegance of minimal design instead.