How to have an entire kitchen in a cupboard

Ned Browne 30 November -0001

With prices going up and space going down, sometimes it feels like your dream kitchen will never be more than a pipedream. That could be about to change thanks to these cupboard kitchens. 

According to the Institution of British Architects, in 1920 the average home measured 1,647 square feet. Almost 100 years on and they clock in at just 925 square feet. Of course, the Institution are not measuring like for like—the growth in apartments skews the figures. But one thing is undeniable: we are far more likely to live in a smaller property.

Take the new development by Pocket Living in Vauxhall, a stone’s throw from Lambeth Palace—the apartments measure just 409 square feet. As with many developments of their ilk, the living room and kitchen are a single, open-plan room.

Businesses have not been slow to take advantage of the opportunities that shrinking properties present: you can buy countertop dishwashers, beds that fold into walls, micro vacuum cleaners and kitchens in cupboards.


What’s a kitchen in a cupboard?

kitchen in a cupboard
Image via Living in a Shoebox

The premise is simple: your entire kitchen cleverly folds into a giant cupboard, which means no unsightly clutter when you’re not cooking. And, because they fold out you get far more storage than you’d expect.

When you open the doors for the first time, be prepared to be surprised; foldaway kitchens are definitely a talking point.


What’s included?

Like with everything in life, the answer is: “how long is a piece of string?” Very basic off-the-peg designs exist that are effectively glorified storage units. 

On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve seen bespoke designs that include microwaves, fridge freezers, solid oak shelving, ovens, washer dryers, granite worktops and dishwashers. They even throw in the kitchen sink. 

Don’t expect much change from £10,000 for best of breed.



Most manufacturers do not undertake installation. There is probably a good reason for this: fitting large items of furniture that need running water and electricity into existing (sometimes very old) rooms is no mean feat.

The kitchens, whilst not normally flat-pack, do come in sections, which need to be assembled by a competent tradesman. You’ll need a plumber and an electrician too.


Before you place your order:

  • Ensure you have a water supply—hot and cold—nearby.
  • Check there’s a drain you can access easily.
  • Ensure you’ll be able to run suitable electric cabling—remember kitchen appliances operate off a 13 amp fuse and ovens often require their own separate supply (always read the instructions). This may mean installing a new fuse box.
  • Measure the space available very carefully.
  • Line up someone to undertake the installation—most bespoke designs take between six and eight weeks to manufacture. Make sure they provide a written quote for the work.

If you’re not confident, you may need to pay a plumber and an electrician (or a highly competent all-round builder) to complete a site visit in advance. Make sure you do this before paying the deposit.


Your first dinner party

Give yourself a few weeks to get used to your new kitchen—it’s a very different cooking experience. 

Then throw a dinner party. Your new kitchen is guaranteed to turn heads.


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