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Make Best Use of the Corners in Your Kitchen

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 21 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Kitchen Design Space Fitted Kitchen

Making usable space for the corners of fitted kitchens has vexed kitchen designers and planners right from the start. If you use ordinary base units and wall cupboards, no amount of kitchen design wizardry will arrange them without leaving a dead space at the corner that can't be accessed.

Wall Cupboards are Easier to Design Around

The problem is not as acute with wall cupboards as they are at eye level and you can see what's in the corner. L-shaped wall cupboards go round a corner and as long as the doors have room to open, the whole space is accessible. Things that have been placed at the back in the corner will be a little tricky to reach, so you should spend time planning kitchen storage so that you can put lesser used and lighter items in that space.

There are also almost square wall-mounted corner units with one central door at an angle across the corner. These are the exact dimensions to carry the wall unit run from one wall to the other so they are perfect if you have the wall space to have ordinary wall cupboards either side of them. A unit like this will protrude into the kitchen a little more where the door cuts the corner off, but this is less of a problem at head height.

One word of warning is not to mix the door of this unit up with any of the others as it will be a slightly different size. This is because it runs on the long side of the triangle formed in the corner.

Base Units Present More Kitchen Design Problems

Base units cause more problems for kitchen design. As the hidden space in the corner is down at ankle level, it's much harder to see what's in that corner, much less accessible.

The traditional solution for many years has been the wire or plastic carousel. This sits in a double length base unit and has two shelves, one on top of the other, and is attached to the cabinet door so that it spins out as it opens to display its wares. Plastic ones are cheaper but wire ones allow you to see through to the contents of the lower shelf more easily.

Developing the Carousel to Deliver Better Space Usage

Although a reasonable solution, carousels have fair bit of wasted space as they have to be semi-circular, so the cabinet's corners aren't used. Kitchen cabinet designers have produced myriad different variations on the carousel format, with dog-leg mechanisms so that carousels can be more rectangular and come out further when you open the door.

Another variant on the carousel is to have three quarters of a circle in a carousel that sits in a single base unit right in the corner. When rotated to the appropriate position the missing quarter of the carousel forms a right angle in the corner so that a two-piece right-angled door can close to neatly hide the carousel away. Neat and tidy works well with kitchen design.

Custom Kitchen Offer More Solutions

With custom kitchens there are more options for funkier corner units. There are some complex and ingenious mechanisms on the market that make the most of the corner space but are much more expensive. This is less likely to be a problem if you are going to the expense of a custom kitchen anyway.

Most of them are variations on a design that has the chrome wire shelves of the first and most accessible cabinet attached to that unit's door. The door is mounted on a long dog-legged hinge so that as it is opened it is pushed out and away from the adjacent cabinet. At the same time a linkage in the base of the cabinet pulls a similar wire shelving unit along from the second half of the unit, in the corner, so that it is now visible through the open door.

Mechanisms like this certainly make the best use of corners and are a boon in terms of kitchen design, but it will take time to see if complex mechanisms like this will stand the test of time or break after a few years of hefty use.

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