A neighbor said, “You know what? I prefer having one open cupboard with four or five granite or concrete slabs than all these fancy pull-out modular cabinets. About a decade ago, everything I used in the kitchen were contained within these shelves. Little has changed over the years in the kind of food we eat, and yet I find it so hard to organize with these cabinets.”  She had a puzzled expression on her face looking at how the vast expanse of kitchen lacked space for everything.  There were still stuff lying on counter top like mixer/wet grinder, cutting board, knives etc.

I know I keep coming back to the topic of storage in kitchens because it bothers me. A LOT. After spending a lakh on a kitchen, the last thing you want to deal with is lack of storage for rainy-day grocery and tons of appliances. As I started thinking, what my neighbor said made a lot of sense as I went back in time to my mother’s or granny’s kitchens. Open shelves – easy to access, clean, manage, take stock and organize.  Simplicity rules.

Back to off-the-shelf Indian modular kitchens, they are still evolving. It will take a while before they match the standards of German or Italian kitchens.  It was seven years ago when I designed my kitchen and back then, not a lt f thought went into how appliances should be stored.  Here are a few things that bother me in readymade Indian mdular kitchens:

1. Appliances : I have a ton of them, thanks to my mom. She loves buying stuff because they look nice. But when it comes to using, she’s to happy to pass them over to me. And, I don’t mind using them. To begin with, there’s the hand blender, then a food processor, chopper, juicer (non-citrus), mixer, wet grinder, microwave and a 2 foot space to accommodate them.  End results: some of them never get used as much as I would like to because it’s too much work to remove them, fix, use, wash, wipe it clean and cramp it back.

2. An assortment of spices: I’m sure it’s of late a common trend for most Indian kitchens to stock all the spices. Our daily cooking is a combination of North Indian and South Indian cuisine – North Indian for lunch (rotis, chana, rajama, dal subzi, salad, etc) and South Indian for dinner (dosa, idli, adai, rice/sambhar/curry). Noodles, pasta, pizza, chat, sandwiches and salad with dressing are meant for the weekend. So, it becomes quite a nightmare at times to take stock of everything from garam masala to homemade sambhar power, kanji maavu (porridge powder) and dosa mulagai podi, let alone the dearth of space.

If one were ready to spend a little more, well a LOT more, none of these would be a problem.  My dream kitchen is a Hafele one – functional and looks great. But I doubt about the efficient use of space as to fix all those racks would nt be possible in a small kitchen.

As always, some images to drool over:

Wheres the kitchen?
Where's the kitchen?

A restaurant or home?
A restaurant or home?
Closer to the home look
Closer to the home look
An L-shaped kitchen
An L-shaped kitchen

What are the problems you face or are you quite satisfied with the way you’ve designed it? Share your success story!

Image Courtesy:

Nolte Home Studio



  1. I have been searching for someone who can do a kitchen like the ones in the picture on the blog – found one vendor in Bangalore but his cost is 10 Lakhs + since the kitchen will be manufactured in Italy :(

    Indian kitchen vendors use Hafele / Hittech etc. but still finish is far from what we see here…..modular kitchen vendors in India are marginally better than the carpenters my hunt is on..if i find good one will update here…

  2. I actually don’t see any problems with the modular set up. If you plan the space well and plan for all appliances, it beats the granite rigid setup hollow! Am so surprised you’re nostalgic about open shelving in India where the dust levels are killing.

    I remember how greasy some vessels would get in my mom’s kitchen. Eww.

    I like my kitchen, it has deep strong drawers to store my grinder/mixer and multitude of appliances (that my mom loves to buy too :)

    A place for everything and everything in it’s place would accurately describe my kitchen it’s the one room I’m actually happy about :)

  3. I have a Hafele/Blum Kitchen, but if you get a good carpenter and buy the internals from these guys it’s not that expensive. For my new place that’s what I’m doing – getting a carpenter to build the boxes and the shutters but the internals arr mostly Hafele (and one or two Sleek – to bring the costs down). It’s costing me 2L and I think for the amount of stuff I’m getting (all drawers in the lower areas etc) it’s totally worth it.

    Now if only i would actually cook in the kitchen :p

  4. laksh

    Poppy: Good for you; I’m glad you like the way you’ve designed your kitchen. Share pictures please!

    Actually, greasiness was never a problem with us. Now that you mentioned I think of it and never had encountered that issue either in my or mom’s kitchen. May be because we use very less oil (1 litre a month for 2-3 people) for cooking and the utensils rack is not close to the cooking area.

    And, I did get a carpenter to do the boxes while the internal fittings are Kaff. That’s exactly what I meant – if one is willing to shell out more then definitely it’s possible. Kaff had a limited range earlier and almost none for appliances like the one in Hafele.

  5. Hi,

    I am Abhishek and i need help in getting my interiors done (4 wrdrobes+ kitchen+lofts+fale ceilin) for my new house…..can anyone suggest me something good pls and it should be reasonable.iu stay at sarjapur road and my number is 9886038925…

  6. This is a Six year old post. But your views of that time matches with my views in 2016. If there is no dearth of place in the kitchen, then the so called Modular Kitchen, even in 2016, is a hindrance in day-to-day cooking. We have decided NOT TO GO IN for Modular kitchens, but a traditional kitchen with wardrobe for storing vessels.

    Thanks a lot for your views.

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