The Sunday Times magazine (26th March 2023) had an article on the rise of the unfitted kitchen and talks about the rise in searches for them. All the images featured a lot of fitted cabinetry. Ironically, this is the key to getting this look right.




I have always been a fan of stepping away from filling your room with boxes and pairing it with pieces of furniture, be they vintage, antique or modern classics. Just as you wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) dress head to toe in a single designer. Just as the rise of the “high-low” as a fashion concept, elevating more standard items with one-off pieces.


I often recommend clients remove cabinetry from their kitchen and tell them to go and look for a piece of furniture instead. Recently a client’s brief was for cabinetry everywhere in a large, open-plan kitchen/living space. I advised them to take part of their budget to an auction room or antique dealer to find something that would elevate the space, soften it and give it more personality. When I showed them a few examples of what to look for, they were delighted with the idea and then the results.




Six things to consider when going for the unfitted kitchen look:


  1. Fitted cabinetry doesn’t have to look boring. Go for an in-frame shaker look or wood textures on the cabinets.
  2. The contrast between the fitted cabinets and the free-standing or one-off pieces is key. Modern contrasting to vintage. Think of colour, texture and scale
  3. Bring your personality into the space. Don’t be afraid of colour and things that make you smile.
  4. Consider how you can make a vintage piece more useful. A good kitchen designer or joiner can advise on how to put more modern runners or internals into an old piece.
  5. Open shelves are popular here. You have to consider if you have the patience to keep them looking clean and organised, rather than ending up as a dumping zone
  6. Rugs may seem difficult in a kitchen but there are washable and hardwearing options that will bring warmth and soften sounds.