How to Design a Functional Kitchen in 2021

modern kitchen cabinets

The kitchen is the heart of any home. It’s where households congregate to share stories from their day and is also one of the rooms we spend the most time in when at home. Thus, it only makes sense that your kitchen needs to be functional – functional in the way caters to your household; how the appliances are positioned, and how the kitchen cabinets are designed.

If you’re looking to kick off 2021 with a long-awaited kitchen renovation, then now’s the time to review the functional aspects of your kitchen design. Don’t forget; a great kitchen needs not only to look amazing but be functional as well—one without the other just won’t work.

Now, I won’t get into how to design a functional kitchen layout, as I’ve explained this in the past (read ‘6 Key Elements to Designing a Functional Kitchen‘). Instead, today I will look at other, often overlooked elements, which really make an impact.

I recently renovated my own kitchen, and I wasn’t going to overlook functionality! Given Ross’s Discount Home Centre specialise in kitchen cabinets and kitchen design, I had a fair idea of what to do. But it wasn’t till I spent hours upon hours researching, that I indeed saw the many elements that make a kitchen functional. I searched the internet high and low, looking for the best tips, and ‘need to know’ considerations and applied them to my kitchen renovation. I must say; it turned out pretty good for me! So, today, I like to spread the love by share with you what I learnt.

A drawer is not just a drawer

Ok, so maybe a drawer is just a drawer, but when designing a functional kitchen in 2020, you have the opportunity to make a drawer whatever you like!

Gone are the days where a drawer is only used to hold cutlery and utensils. Today, the sky’s the limit. With a magnitude of accessories, you can turn your draw into a super handy storage space for just about anything.

The two images below really got my attention when I was designing my kitchen – both are available from Hafele Australia and are suitable for Ross’s Discount Home Center’s drawer base cupboards.

Hafele Australia

How ingenious is this in-drawer charging station! Nothing looks messier than cords and electrical devices laying across the kitchen bench charging. With the simple addition of a USB power switch, you can create a very handy (and uber-modern) in-drawer charging station that will keep all your devices charging whilst being out of sight.

This spice rack insert is a must-have feature for any cooking enthusiast. Never again will you have to search through your spices to find the right spice. Nor will you have to worry about finding a suitable spice rack to fit your growing collection. Today, you can buy spice rack drawer inserts to fit any cabinetry, including the drawer base cupboards here at Ross’s Discount Home Center.

Make the most of your space

Having adequate storage is a fundamental functional requirement of any kitchen design. Thus, it’s essential to maximise your space. Make the most of every square inch of your kitchen and avoid creating void areas that don’t serve a purpose or function.

An excellent example of this is the extra drawer I created above the oven in my kitchen. I have a 900mm built-in oven which left a small area above. Rather than blocking it off with a filler panel, I turned it into a drawer for utensils.

It’s little changes such as this that make a massive difference in the functionality of your kitchen.

Come in and speak to our kitchen design specialist to ensure your kitchen design is as functional as it can be!

Planned storage

Speaking of storage, one sure thing to avoid is to design your new kitchen with less storage space than your current kitchen. It’s easy to underestimate how many small kitchen appliances and dinner sets we have. Moreover, how much space they take up.

Unless you’re planning to have a Facebook Marketplace selling spree, you’ll need to make sure your new kitchen offers the same amount of storage – if not more – than your old kitchen does.

I almost fell victim to this; as conscious as I was about creating more storage! Even though my new kitchen is much larger than my old, it has fewer walls (open plan) and therefore fewer opportunities to add base and wall cabinets. I avoided this problem by maximising my pantry cabinets; I have an entire wall of Ross’s Discount Home Centre pantry cabinets that store all my kitchen goodies out of sight.

It’s a good idea to take an audit of everything in your kitchen. This way, you can make sure your new kitchen design accommodates everything. Our handy 3D kitchen panner is excellent in this respect. You can design your kitchen to visualise how it will look and where everything will be stored.

Light and bright

Designing a functional kitchen in 2021 isn’t only about the placement of items and storage space. It also needs good lighting. You want your kitchen to shine. To be the focal point of your home. You also need to be able to see what you’re doing at all times. Thus, natural light and artificial light are an essential element in designing a functional kitchen.

Adding a skylight in your kitchen isn’t just trendy, it’s a great way to introduce natural light into a kitchen that has no windows. Such was the case in my new kitchen. A skylight made such a difference!

In terms of artificial light, there are various options available, including undercabinet LED strips, which are very popular and feature lights over island benches.

I don’t think you can over-do lighting. lOok at your space and ask your kitchen designer or electrician if you’re unsure.


There are many ways to design a functional kitchen in 2021 beyond the kitchen layout. While a functional layout is essential; it isn’t the only consideration. To create a kitchen that is both modern and highly functional, consider modern drawer accessories, maximise your space, so it works for you, ensure you have the same amount or more storage than before, and make sure it is as bright as can be!

If you need help designing your new kitchen, come in and speak with our kitchen sales team at Ross’s Discount Home Centre. We can supply you with the foundations for your functional kitchen in our quality kitchen cabinet range.


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