About Modular Kitchen: 9 Things You Should Know

Are you planning to get a modular kitchen for your home? Learn about some advantages and disadvantages of a modular kitchen and the various models available to make your kitchen look sleek and modern.

By Hannah S Mathew

About Modular Kitchen: 9 Things You Should Know

We’ve heard it before, 'The kitchen is the heart of every home'. From ancient times to the present, the importance of the kitchen has remained the same. It is that one place in a house which powers both the body and the soul of every family member. The kitchen is not just a laboratory or a workshop for cuisine but a place where meals become occasions for the family to bond together.

About modular kitchen

Traditionally, kitchens were built and integrated onsite. However, with advancements in technology, it is now possible to build a customised kitchen away from the site and then reassemble it at the desired location. Such a kitchen is called a modular kitchen.

Why get a modular kitchen?

In a modular kitchen design, science and technology come together to optimise functionality, user-friendliness and the look of the cooking area. As a result, every homemaker nowadays dreams of getting a modular kitchen. And, it's no big deal to get one, as modular kitchens are available to suit every budget. The numerous benefits of having a modular kitchen include a wide array of colours and designs to choose from. Careful selection of cabinets based on usage, along with consideration of space, lighting and furniture placement, improves the overall look and functionality of the kitchen.

"The design of a kitchen largely revolves around the functional aspect – how busy it is, who would be using it, how easy or hard it is to maintain the materials used, and so on. An active kitchen which has strong aromas should ideally be a closed kitchen, while a less active kitchen with moderate cooking could be an open kitchen. Materials such as granite and laminates are hardy and easy to maintain. Light-coloured cabinets will make a small kitchen appear larger and more airy, while dark-coloured cabinets can be used in a large kitchen." — Komal Palicha, Interior Designer

Different types of modular kitchen

L-shaped kitchen design: This is a very popular type of modular kitchen design in India. The L-shape layout of the kitchen is ideal for smaller kitchens. There are two countertops at right angles to each other and one is usually shorter than the other. It is compact yet provides ample space for working as well as storage. While one side of the counter is used for cooking, the other side is set aside for cleaning dishes.

U-shaped modular kitchen: This design is preferred in households with a large space marked out for the kitchen. The U-shaped countertop extends along the three walls of the kitchen and provides ample working area as well as storage space. Each counter can be earmarked as zones for preparation, cooking and washing.

Parallel modular kitchen design: A parallel kitchen has two countertops facing each other, with a passageway in between. It is ideal for longitudinal kitchens which open into a utility area. One countertop can be used as a dry area and the other one as a wet area. In a parallel modular kitchen design, the cabinets are usually have sliding doors.

Straight modular kitchen design: A straight line kitchen design is ideal for an open kitchen layout. The countertop and cabinets are all installed on one wall of the kitchen which is also the longer wall. This open design makes it easy to access all areas of the kitchen as well as to reach for the kitchen appliances and cooking tools.

Island modular kitchen design: Ideally, this design is appropriate for a spacious kitchen and gives it a contemporary look. The island acts as a small dining space cum an extra countertop for food preparation and provides for extra storage space.

Advantages and disadvantages of modular kitchen

Modular kitchen is becoming a popular choice. However, before you decide to order a modular kitchen, here are 9 things you should ponder over:

1. Why should I opt for a modular kitchen?

Unlike a normal kitchen, you’ll no longer need to dash across sprawling spaces from the pantry to the fridge to the oven to the counter. In the modern modular kitchen, everything is at arm’s length! This makes for convenient cooking. The compact nature of the modular kitchen space makes it easy to remove, reinstall and clean. Furthermore, the fabulous colour combinations gives a modular kitchen the look of something straight out of a picture postcard.

2. What constitutes modular kitchen accessories?

Although you have a vast array to consider, the main sections of a modern modular kitchen are just a few. The most important component is the chimney with an exhaust hood to help control the humidity and odour. Modular kitchen cabinets and drawers that are lightweight and easy to operate make up the other sections.

3. Are modular kitchens available in different layouts?

There are various modular kitchen designs to choose from. You can decide on the ‘U’ or ‘L’ shape based on your requirement and space. In a ‘U’-shaped modular kitchen, an island can perform the roles of countertop and breakfast area, saving valuable space. Also, a trolley, basket and other accessories can give you ease of mobility.

4. What about durability?

The modular kitchen's neat and polished finish makes it as 'pretty as a picture'. The surfaces are generally scratch and shatter-proof. So, the possibility of damage is minimal and longevity sure-fire. However, longevity of a modular kitchen depends on the type of material used to construct it, such as wood, marble, stainless steel and so on. Depending on your needs, you can choose the material.

5. Are the maintenance costs high?

Modular kitchen units are usually low-maintenance and hassle-free. Moreover, a good service provider should give your modern modular kitchen a 15-year warranty and a life-time guarantee. Repairs are easy on the pocket and time-saving for modular kitchens. This is because everything is compact and independently fitted.

6. Can I customise my modular kitchen as per my needs?

Prefabricated modular kitchen fittings are available to help you customise and meet your every need. Besides, you can opt for custom-made shelves and cabinets based on the size and number of your kitchen appliances. Appliances can then fit neatly into their cosy niches to make the kitchen as space-efficient as possible. Personalised gadget space can be arranged to be at eye, elbow or floor-levels based on your height requirements.

7. How long does it take to install one?

Installing a modular kitchen takes some planning. But, if you’re in a hurry, full installation can happen in two to three days, especially if you order prefabricated fixtures. However, for this to happen, the kitchen should be bare, with no pre-installed counter-top or shelves on the walls.

8. Can I convert my kitchen to a modular kitchen?

Yes. You can get your old kitchen changed into a modular kitchen. But, to get this done, choose a good kitchen designing company. The designers will measure your kitchen to allocate space for every gadget, from cabinets to dishwasher to fridge and so on. This way, they will make the best use of the available space. The designers may also make slight alterations to your old kitchen to achieve the best results.

9. What is the cost of installing a modular kitchen?

Fixtures, material and layout are the main determining factors when it comes to the cost you will incur. Choose the kind and quantity of gadgets, décor and lighting carefully to avoid unnecessary purchases. Cost-effective material like laminate, ceramic and granite not only cut costs but are also cheaper to maintain. The modular kitchen’s layout and area of coverage too can burn a hole in your pocket if you’re not too careful. On an average, the modular kitchen price varies from Rs 800 to 5,000 per square feet.

"Modular kitchens are made offsite, and hence they save a lot of time. Installation is quick and easy, and modifications (if any, in the future) can be done with a fair amount of ease. The cabinets have a better finish, as they are machine-made.
The disadvantage is mainly in the material, as most modular kitchen designs use MDF (Mild Density Fibreboard), which is not as durable as plywood. Also, Indian kitchens have active cooking with lots of ingredients, which leave stains and marks." — Komal Palicha, Interior Designer

What is a semimodular kitchen?

Although modular kitchens are trendy, efficient and aesthetic, you may opt for some portions of your kitchen to be carpentered. This can be due to cost constraints or to integrate some specific requirement you may have into the existing design. This combination of modular and partially carpentered kitchen design is termed as semimodular kitchen.

"An ergonomic design is one that is designed to maximise functionality and ease. The kitchen is an area that needs to be thought through, as it should be functional, and storage space must be maximised. Whether modular or made-at-site, it’s important to follow ergonomics to put together an effective, functional kitchen." — Komal Palicha, Interior Designer

Difference between modular and semimodular kitchen

1. In a semimodular kitchen, the cabinets are built on site and cannot be dismantled as individual components. However, in a modular kitchen design, each cabinet is independent of the other and can be readily assembled or disassembled at any site.

2. To build a semimodular kitchen, you will need your builder to construct a cement platform and install a marble or granite countertop over it. The framework of the cabinets is then built around this structure. There is no such requirement for a modular kitchen.

3. The fit and quality of a semimodular kitchen can differ from the modular ones. The modular kitchen usually has a superior quality and functioning. Also, the time for installation and delivery is much less for a modular kitchen.

4. Semimodular kitchen provides more scope for customisation as the fittings are not standardised. You can adjust the height or width of the compartments based on your needs.

5. The semimodular kitchen is more cost-effective due to cheaper raw materials when compared to a completely modular kitchen.

As technology advances, the modular kitchen would become a part of every home. Not only would this make cooking a happier experience, but also ensure that the kitchen is well organised and makes a style statement about the family. So, what’s keeping you back? Go on! Dream up your kitchen and make it come alive!

About the author:

Written by Hannah S Mathew on 9 April 2019

Hannah S Mathew is an Assistant Professor of English, a freelance writer, soft skills trainer, learning content developer, mentor, diagnostic counsellor and devoted mom to a teenager. 

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