According to various studies, homeowners spend around two to three hours a day in the kitchen and it is one of the most frequented rooms at home. Kitchen drawers, pull-outs, doors and cabinets are each opened about eight times a day. The refrigerator alone is opened 30 times! Often trusted to be the cleanest space in the house, the kitchen is actually the most germ-ridden one. When it comes to injury-prone areas, it bags the second spot, right after bathrooms. And therefore, it is very important to have well-designed, highly functional modular kitchens.

This modular kitchen planning and designing guide — filled with the knowledge our experts have gathered by designing 15,000+ Indian kitchens — will help you understand how to make a modular kitchen. From layouts to the various components of modular kitchens, we have covered everything you need to know to truly understand kitchen design.

Understanding the Modular Kitchen Layout

Like all efficient workplaces, modular kitchens require clever designs that benefit you by reducing your efforts and supporting your workflow. Hence, this makes the kitchen layout your starting point and the prime factor influencing the efficiency of your kitchen. Let us show you some common layouts that can be spotted in Indian homes and also how each of them can be made more functional.

#1: Straight Modular Kitchens

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This layout consists of one straight counter with cabinets

Also known as one-wall kitchens, straight modular kitchens are perfect for compact spaces. As the name suggests, this kind of kitchen layout occupies only one wall and consists of a linear counter with top and base cabinets.

Ideal for: Small, nuclear families with limited requirements.

Expert recommendation: We recommend not exceeding 12 feet for the counter length since it might make movement a bit tiresome in this kitchen layout plan.

Pros:

  • Everything lies within easy reach
  • Maximises floor area for traffic and movement, especially if you have limited space
  • Since this modular kitchen layout can accommodate limited counter space and cabinetry, it tends to be budget-friendly
  • Versatile layout since it can be changed by adding a table or an island in front

Cons:

  • This does not offer space for multiple cooks
  • Also, if not well designed, it could impede movement within the kitchen
  • Less storage space as compared to other layouts

#2: L-Shaped Modular Kitchens

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This is the most popular Indian kitchen layout plan

One of the most common modular kitchen plans, the L-shaped kitchen hits a sweet spot between budget, functionality and storage. So if you’re someone who believes in having a place for everything and everything in its place, then this modular kitchen layout is just the one for you.

Ideal for: One to two people cooking at a time.

Expert recommendation: Consider installing some lights under -the top cabinets so that no part of the kitchen remains poorly lit.

Pros:

  • Ideal for homes with an open floor plan
  • The golden triangle works best in such a modular kitchen layout plan
  • Great for corner kitchens
  • Also provides versatile spaces for positioning the kitchen zones

Cons:

  • Not ideal for a very large kitchen since it will not bring out the kitchen’s full potential
  • Also, more counter space means more maintenance

#3: U-Shaped Modular Kitchens

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Ideal for large kitchens

Also called the horseshoe kitchens since the countertop, overhead and base cabinets run along three adjacent walls. If planned well, this layout will ensure that you don’t have to walk around a lot between cabinets and appliances. Here’s How to Make Your U-shaped Kitchen Work for You?

Ideal for: Big families with two to three people cooking at the same time.

Expert recommendation: Don’t waste the corner space with ordinary shelves. Instead, you can get it fitted with innovative modular accessories like the corner carousel. Read on to find out how to set modular kitchen.

Pros:

  • Offers ample work and storage space
  • Easy movement since everything can be placed at equal distances
  • Especially Ideal for multiple cooks
  • Also presents possibility to add an extra counter in spacious kitchens

Cons:

  • Not suitable for small modular kitchen plans
  • Can turn out to be expensive given the ample cabinetry
  • Also runs the risk of looking compact if not planned well
  • Moreover, base corners might be difficult to use

#4: Parallel Modular Kitchens

modular-kitchens-parallel-layout
An efficient layout for more storage

Have you ever walked into a kitchen and wondered how amazing it would be to have endless counter space on either side? This can be made possible with parallel kitchens. Also called galley modular kitchens, it gives you a lot of counter space and creates efficient storage options, without making you deal with hard-to-reach corners.

Ideal for: Medium to big families with two or three cooks.

Expert recommendation: For an efficient golden triangle, place the cooktop and sink on opposite counters. In this modular kitchen guide we have covered how to plan a kitchen for effective work triangle. 

Pros:

  • A highly efficient layout since it reduces the movement involved for each task
  • Offers plenty of storage area given the number of cabinets you can install
  • Cost-effective
  • A great layout if you have a door or window on one end

Cons:

  • Can get crowded if the width of the kitchen is tight
  • No space or option to add corner units

#5: Island Modular Kitchens

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The island acts as added counter space

An island is an additional counter and is placed typically in the centre of your kitchen. It creates additional storage space and doubles up as a place to eat. It also prevents wastage of space in a large kitchen without compromising movement in it.

Ideal for: Couples with kids, since the island can double up as a mini dining area within the kitchen.

Expert recommendation: Ensure that you have adequate space for placing an island — at least 5 ft. between the two counters.

Pros:

  • Generates extra storage and prep space 
  • Creates an alternate space for the sink or hob
  • Also gives an option to add seating in the modular kitchen layout plan
  • Evidently, a great opportunity to create a focal point in the kitchen

Cons:

  • Can complicate the golden triangle
  • Can also become dead space if not utilised well
  • Installing an island will add to your kitchen renovation cost
  • I can also make your kitchen look dense if the chosen colour palette is on the darker side

Also check out the Pros & Cons of Having a Kitchen Island.

#6: Peninsula Modular Kitchens

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Also known as G-shaped kitchen

Confused about all the island and peninsula talk? We assure you that this is still a modular kitchen planning and designing guide and not a geography lesson! A peninsula kitchen is nothing but an island counter that is attached to the wall; which means that it is not a stand-alone block. Just like islands, peninsulas or G-shaped kitchens (as they are also called) give you extra counter space while creating a seating area, too.

Ideal for: Families that host regular social gatherings.

Expert recommendation: You can turn the peninsula into a breakfast counter or a home bar.

Pros:

  • Creates additional space
  • Especially suitable in a narrow kitchen
  • Can also act as a room divider and define spaces

Cons:

  • Can cause interrupted movement in the kitchen
  • Since it juts out of a wall, it can restrict access to corner storage
  • It also does not work well for a small kitchen

Here are 25+ Kitchen Designs That Will Inspire You (With Amazing Pictures)

How to Make a Modular Kitchen

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The golden triangle!

The work triangle in your modular kitchens, also called the golden triangle, was developed in the early 20th century. This concept states that the three primary work areas of the kitchen — the cooktop, sink and the refrigerator — should form a triangle.

Why is it important?

The hob, sink and the refrigerator are the most frequently used areas in the kitchen. So placing them in a triangle allows you to juggle easily between these areas without anything blocking your flow as you cook (on the stove), peel or chop (by the sink) and retrieve things (from the refrigerator). Therefore, by ensuring that you don’t have to walk too much, the golden triangle makes working in modular kitchens less effortful.

How does it work?

Let’s talk numbers here —

  • Firstly, the distance between any two of the three points of the triangle should ideally be between 4 ft. and 9 ft.
  • Secondly, the total sum of the sides of the triangle should be between 12 ft. and 26 ft.
  • This allows enough space to work comfortably at each station — the hob, sink and the refrigerator — and move easily between them
  • Also try to ensure that the triangle is not obstructed by counters, cabinets or islands
  • Finally, keep entries and exits away from the triangle so that the area can be kept as free as possible

How to Set Modular Kitchens

modular-kitchens-kitchen-zones

Experts go beyond the golden triangle and demarcate work zones — for storage, prepping, cooking and finally, cleaning. While this approach can be adopted alongside the triangle, it comes especially handy when you’re faced with limitations that don’t allow you to achieve the triangle. Say you can’t change the placement of your sink because the position of the water inlet and the outlet is predetermined; the same could happen with the refrigerator because of the electricity connection. Breaking up your kitchen into different work sites will allow you to maximise the space and its efficiency while customising the design as per your kitchen’s restrictions and your lifestyle.

#1: Set Cabinets by Storage Type

Firstly, split your storage zone into consumables (food) and non-consumables (other storage).

Consumables

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A pantry unit is a saviour for groceries

This area is explicitly reserved for storing food items. Ideally, you want to place the refrigerator and the cabinetry to store non-perishable items like canned goods and dried fruits. So a great way to go about this is to create a built-in vertical cabinet that caters to all of these needs.

Non-Consumables

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Big drawers are meant for large utensils

This zone is dedicated entirely for storing utensils — pots, pans, cutlery, kitchen knives, you get the drift. The purpose of keeping these in one place is to make it easier to grab them while cooking. It also negates the need to move from the sink to all ends of the kitchen when putting away clean vessels.

#2: Set Cabinets by Activity

Moving on to the other zones of your kitchen. These include the hob unit, prepping space and the cleaning zone.

Cooking

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A hob unit is a must in the cooking zone

Mind you, this zone is reserved only for cooking — not prepping or chopping. Naturally then, this entire zone is best occupied by the stove, oven and chimney. Also if you have space for some under-counter cabinets, you could use them to store everyday cooking utensils.

Preparing

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Have ample counter space as your prep zone

To drop your chopped veggies into the pan easily, your prep station should ideally be to the right of the cooking zone. Additionally, having the prepping and storage spaces flank the cooking zone creates a straight line of efficiency. Your prep corner could include the knife stand, cutting boards, shelving for spices and countertop appliances such as mixers and food processors.

Cleaning

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Decide on the right sink and utility storage

This zone consists of the sink, drying rack, dishwasher (if you have one) and the dustbin. So positioning it at the far end of modular kitchens ensures that dirty dishes are out of the way, giving you enough space to dry utensils. This placement also ensures that you form the much-coveted golden triangle.

Read this for more on how to plan a kitchen: Clearly Demarcating 5 Kitchen Zones Can Make Cooking Easier for You.

Personalisation 

In the experience of our experts, mishaps and injuries can occur if the kitchen is not built to be sensitive to the users’ needs. For example, if you add a lot of lower cabinets in modular kitchens meant to be used by an elderly individual, it could give rise to back problems.

Since this modular kitchen guide has important considerations and recommendations for various scenarios, answering these questions will equip you to ensure better safety for all members of your household and identify some cost-saving measures.

For the Primary User

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Cabinets are going to be decided based on this

Are you the in-house chef? Or do you simply despise cooking and prefer having your help cook for you? Because this distinction will set the tone for what you indulge in.

Expert recommendations:

I COOK THE HELP COOKS
Slimline handles (these are more discreet and give a cleaner look)Regular handles
Decorative backsplash Easy-to-maintain tiles
Tambour unit (a multi-purpose cabinet with a with roll-up shutter)No tambour unit
Wicker basketsRegular baskets
Any finish of your choice (if you are up to the task of maintaining and cleaning the kitchen well and regularly)Dark, plain laminate (which is easier to maintain)
Top-lift storage cabinetsSimple-hinged shutters

For Your Unique Storage Requirements

modular-kitchens-storage-requirements
There can be so much customisation in cabinetry

Have you accumulated a lot of things in your kitchen over the years? Do you like to maintain a well-stocked kitchen or would you rather make do with the basics? Have a clear estimate of your storage needs at the very onset.

Expert recommendations:

I NEED BASIC STORAGEI NEED LOTS OF STORAGE
600mm (height) wall units720mm (height) wall units
No tall unitA tall unit
Less drawersMore drawers
No loftsLoft storage
Include a cavity in the wall cabinet for the microwaveBuilt-in microwave unit

For The Overall Family Demographics

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Elderly people need special accessories

It’s imperative to take into account the age of the people who are going to use modular kitchens. Because be it elderly parents or curious children making a beeline for the refrigerator, you need to build your kitchen to ensure their safety and comfort.

Expert recommendations:

YOUNG PEOPLEELDERLY PEOPLE
More top-lift cabinetsFewer top-lift cabinets
Less drawersMore drawers
The oven can be placed in the base unitPlace the oven at an appropriate height
A tall unit with a doorAdd an extendable table to get more counter space

For Your Budget

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Budget will decide the materials of your kitchen

Coming to one of the most important factors that all of us consider before buying anything — budget. The good news is that there are plenty of options available, making it possible for you to choose quality modular fittings without breaking the bank. Nevertheless, bear in mind that modular kitchens are frequently used spaces and thinking too lean can impede the functionality of the space.

Expert recommendations:

I HAVE A LIMITED BUDGET BUDGET IS NOT AN ISSUE
Regular handlesSlimline handles
No wicker basketsA couple of wicker baskets
No tambour unitTambour unit in PVC
No top-lift wall unitsInclude top-lift wall units
Granite or synthetic countertopMarble or quartz countertop

Checklist — How to Plan a Kitchen

Here’s a little bit of homework that would go a long way in getting a personalised kitchen for your home. Just follow these simple steps and you will be better-prepared for the call or meeting with your designer.

  • Click some photographs and take a video of your kitchen. Document the entire space
  • Do you have a floor plan for your kitchen? If you do, you’re halfway through
  • If not, take a graph paper and a plain sheet of paper and measure your kitchen precisely, noting down the width, length and finally the height
  • Outline these dimensions on the graph paper, considering one square as 50 mm or 100 mm
  • Identify the door(s) and window(s) and mark them
  • Mark the provisions for the water inlet and outlet since the sink will have to be installed there
  • Mark the location of the refrigerator, preferably near the entry door.
  • Make a note of your current storage requirements, dividing them into consumables and non-consumables. Also consider your family size and cooking habits, estimate how this requirement is likely to change in the coming years
  • Finally, make a list of the issues you’re facing in your current kitchen. It will help your designer be especially cognizant about finding solutions for them

The Building Blocks of Your Kitchen

modular-kitchens-building-blocks-kitchen-explode
An exploded view of everything that goes into your kitchen

Have you ever bought something only to discover later on that it has been hiding at the back of your cabinet? You can solve this problem by installing the right kind of fittings. So let’s put the fun back into cooking by first deconstructing the kitchen and then examining each component. Also factor in aesthetics, durability, maintenance and cost to find the right fit for you.

The main components that make a kitchen are:

  • Cabinets
  • Countertop
  • Backsplash
  • Flooring
  • Sink

#1: Cabinets

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The main component of your kitchen are cabinets

One could debate that cabinets are the most important part of a kitchen. Besides being the first thing people notice about the space, they also bear the maximum load in terms of storage. Remember the kitchen zones? They play an important role in understanding the types of cabinets you’ll require.

Cabinets can be divided according to the type of storage and where the kitchen spaces lie. Hence the basic segregation of cabinets is:

Consumables

  • Wall unit
  • Base unit
  • Veggie pull-out
  • Refrigerator unit
  • Pantry pullout
  • Tall unit

Non-Consumables

  • Oven/microwave unit
  • Roller shutter/tambor unit
  • Wall unit
  • Blind units

#2: Countertop for Modular Kitchens

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A durable countertop is essential

The perfect countertop can be a game changer for the look of your kitchen. And it’s not just about looks. Because it has to be stain-proof, scratch- and heat-resistant and extremely durable. The most common choices for Indian kitchens are granite, quartz and synthetic materials such as corian, caesarstone and sile stone. Out of these, granite emerges as the most popular material.

GraniteSynthetic (Corian, Caesarstone and Sile Stone)Quartz
DurabilityDurable, resistant to wear and tear and abrasionsExcellent durability. Stands the test of timeStrong surface and resistant to abrasions, chemical attacks and heat
MaintenanceStain-resistant, if properly sealed and treated. Darker granites are dense and do not require a sealer, whereas lighter granites may require multiple coats of the sealerThough this material is hard, non-porous and stain-resistant, it is not completely immune to turmeric and other food stains. Darker colours will conceal stains betterThis aces the turmeric stain test due to its non-porous surface
VarietyAvailable in various profiles and coloursComes in varying thicknesses and coloursAvailable in varying thicknesses and colours
Price rangeLowMedium to highHigh

#3: Backsplash for Modular Kitchens

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Get a backsplash that can withstand stains

Moving on to the next important aspect of a kitchen — the backsplash, the part of the kitchen that is extremely prone to splashes and stains during cooking. Popular material choices in Indian kitchens for this are ceramic, glass and mosaic tiles for the simple reason that these are easy to clean. You could also use your countertop material here for a more seamless, neat look.


Ceramic Glass Mosaic
DurabilityDurable since it is crack-resistantExposure to direct heat can crack the glass and hence avoid using glass tiles right behind the hob. Might be susceptible to chips and scratches over time but otherwise durableProne to damage due to the small size of the tiles
MaintenanceRequires regular cleaning to remove dust and grime between grout linesGrime and splashes are easy to wipe offRequires routine cleaning, especially between grout lines
VarietyAvailable in many prints, patterns and sizesComes in plenty of colours and shapesAvailable in plenty of colours
AestheticsHighly customisable and appealingCan make your kitchen appear larger and brighterHas a beautiful impact on your kitchen’s aesthetics and is highly customisable
Price rangeLowHighLow

#4: Flooring

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Flooring can change the look of your kitchen

This might not be a very debatable topic when it comes to kitchens, because most builder homes come with flooring that is fairly decent. That said, some homeowners might want to change the flooring for aesthetic or safety reasons. The most-preferred materials are ceramic tiles, marble and granite.

Ceramic tilesGraniteMarble
DurabilityHigh durabilityStands the test of time even after heavy useCan be easily scraped or chipped under wrong conditions
MaintenanceEasy to maintain When sealed, it becomes highly resistant to stains, heat, acids and waterRequires more maintenance and is more susceptible to damage
VarietyAvailable in a variety of colours, prints, and finishesLimited colour palette since it is a natural stoneAvailable in different patterns and finishes, though limited compared to tiles since it is a natural stone
AestheticsCreates a lovely decorative base for your kitchen interiorsStands out and becomes a unique focal pointUnparalleled aesthetic value
Price rangeLowMediumHigh

#5: Sink

Possibly the most hardworking member of the kitchen, the sink’s importance in the functionality of the space is often underestimated. If you are easily bothered by water spills while doing the dishes or you just don’t know where to place your dinnerware after washing, you are probably using the wrong sink. So here are the basic options, segregated by the bowl and installation type.

#1: Single Bowl

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A single bowl sink is the most common
  • Ideal for washing plenty of large-sized utensils at once
  • Though this type of sink suits nearly any kind of kitchen, it is better suited for smaller ones where countertop space may be scarce

#2: Double Bowl

kitchens-sink-double-bowl
Helpful when you have more people
  • This sink has two basins — one large and one small — consequently, allowing you to prep for cooking and washing in the same space
  • Most homeowners swear by double-bowl sinks since it makes multitasking easier
  • This is also a great choice when there are two cooks in the kitchen

#3: Sink with a Drainboard

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With this you do not need extra counter space to dry utensils
  • Comes with a drainboard and hence occupies more space on the countertop
  • Also provides space to dry utensils and drain vegetables

#4: Top-Mount

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It is easy to install
  • Also known as the drop-in or self-rimming sink, this variant is commonly found in Indian kitchens
  • Simply put, it has a ridge that fits over the countertop
  • Additionally, it is easy to install and is relatively cheap

#5: Under-Mount

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It is very easy to clean
  • Recessed below the countertop, the sink essentially rests underneath the counter
  • Easy to clean since there are no crevices where dirt or grime can get accumulated

We have tried to cover all bases when it comes to kitchen design and this guide should be able to answer all your questions. Here are 17 Stunning Kitchen Tile Designs That You Need to See Right Now!

We love to hear from you! Write to us with your comments and suggestions at editor@livspace.com

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