Renter`s Dilemma: How to Update an Indian Style Kitchen Design

Barren walls, exposed plumbing and gaping spaces are hallmarks of old-style Indian kitchens. And while the style has served generations before us, it does fall short on form and functionality. Whether you’ve just moved into a new home and aren’t ready to splurge on woodwork, or are faced with the quintessential rental dilemma – to add or not to add functional touches – this guide should have you covered.

From spiffy modular storage solutions and double-hatting furniture to clever pipe-veiling hacks, seek inspiration from these homes to transform your old-style kitchen into an aesthetic and ergonomic cooking area – all without making any structural changes to your space (although some of these projects might involve hitting a few nails into your wall, so prepare to get your landlord on board if you’re renting).

Embrace open shelving
Open shelving can be a great way to give your kitchen a spiffy facelift, while forcing you to declutter and dispose of unwanted pots, pans and other kitchen utensils. Use eye-popping opaque containers to hold items that you’d prefer to remain private from prying eyes – these can double as pretty showpieces.

Gain more storage with sideboards
Storage is a definitive feature in best of kitchen designs. Fill out a bare wall in the kitchen with slim sideboards to get more storage. Consider pairing two sideboards together to create a cohesive extended storage area like this one.

Wall-mount a stylish organiser rack
Go for a charming open storage rack to turn your wall from spartan to sophisticated in an instant. If you have an old unit lying around, give it a fresh lick of paint to make it worthy of your kitchen wall. Alternatively, go for an entirely new unit.

…or to house ornamental plates and saucers (make sure you pick a sturdy plate rack for this).

Utilitarian, multipurpose and visually-pleasing, these multipurpose kitchen racks are a gift from kitchen heaven

Invest in modular storage baskets
Indian style kitchen designs are typically laden with long, sweeping shelves that make compartmentalisation a challenge. The solution? Modular storage boxes and baskets. These are flexible and can be rearranged into various formats and layouts. Stack them, lay them side by side, under the counter, over the counter or anywhere in between. They work both individually and clustered together, and are gold in a kitchen that lacks modular storage. Plus they work in all styles of kitchens. They are available in food-grade variants and in various formats – from closed-top to open-front – in a range of sizes.

Be a star organiser by segregating your kitchenware into pretty baskets by category. This way, you not only have easy access and recall for each basket, but also an eye-catching visual centrepiece.

Speaking of baskets, how about hanging wire baskets on your walls to store daily-use groceries? This way, you can see and reach the items in your inventory and also have a pleasing, organic-looking arrangement.

Dig out your pretty crockery
Why keep your china and expensive crockery hidden away in dusty lofts when you can give them pride of place on your shelves and keep them safe at the same time? Invest in a cabinet (you can take this with you if you ever move out) and stack your treasured crockery in an attractive little display. Don’t be afraid to mix up your collections. This crockery cabinet is proof that a little variety can add airy, unfussy charm to a kitchen.

Create a pegboard pin-up
Elevate your cooking experience (literally) with a pegboard wall. Hang lightweight colanders, small frying pans, spatulas, spoons, whisks, tea-towels, pot-holders, scissors and other small items to create a characterful collage. This way, not only do you have all your tools and utensils within quick reach, you also allow your wall to serve as a focal point. Storage and style, check.

Alternatively, install metal rods, racks and hooks directly onto the wall to create a sturdy and convenient facility for aerial storage. Hang your mugs, spatulas and pans to free up space under your counter.

Tip: For a quick way to lighten the mood in your kitchen, consider painting the wall behind your pegboard a vibrant hue to create a striking design statement.

Add a counter skirt
Under-sink plumbing and old-style open shelves can be horrible eyesores – not something you should have to look at during happy cooking events. Install a basic curtain line (you could do this yourself or call in a carpenter) and put up cheery curtains to mask your pipes and under-counter storage. And voila, stand back and see your kitchen gain a swish flourish.

Conjure a trolley island
If you can’t have a freestanding island, get a rolling one. Wheel it into your kitchen to use it as an extra surface when you’re cooking, and reserve the option of wheeling it out to use as an extra surface when guests arrive. Make sure to match the dimensions of your rolling island with the space you have available in your kitchen to avoid cramping your cooking area.

If you don’t have space for a large rolling island, go for a compact trolley. Use it as a spare counter in the kitchen while you’re cooking, and roll it out with plates, bowls and garnishes when you’re setting the table at mealtimes.

Spice up your essentials display
Let your grains, oils and masalas see the light of day by liberating them from their original packets and highlighting them in chic, see-through holders. A visually enhanced essentials display will save you from last-minute rummaging when you’re cooking, and serve as an accent piece in your kitchen.

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