Guide to designing a curved kitchen

For a timeless kitchen design without hard edges, choose cabinets with curves, which solve all manner of problems while making the space feel more open and inviting

TODO alt text

Stylish, practical and ergonomic, curved cabinets are an elegant solution when designing a kitchen. Their soft lines work well in family homes, where they reduce the risk that hard edges pose to children. Curves are also ideal for small, awkward kitchens, where protruding corners can place restrictions on movement, and will open up the room and create the illusion of space.

Until recently, the idea of curves in the kitchen was the preserve of contemporary homes, but there is now a wide choice for period properties, ranging from relaxed country styles to grand classical designs. Both built-in and freestanding cabinets are widely available, from bespoke handmade manufacturers and high street suppliers.

Crown Imperial Midsomer Shaker-style kitchen

Curves beautifully extend the cooking area in Crown Imperial’s Midsomer kitchen, a classic painted Shaker design with a solid oak frame, available in 19 colours. From £221 for a 60cm base cabinet

Where to use curves in the kitchen

Curves are particularly well suited to kitchen diners, with perhaps a rounded breakfast bar forming an attractive focal point in an open plan area. The kitchen’s soft appearance will create a relaxed feel, helping it to blend in with other ‘zones’ and inviting families to spend time there together.

Island units with curves bring real wow factor to the kitchen; in its simplest form the island may be rectangular with rounded edges to subtly soften the overall appearance, or it may be fully circular. The most impressive islands form a semicircular work space around the cook, with perhaps a hob at the centre and preparation space on either side.

Other ways to use curves include protruding cabinets beneath pantry cupboards, and around hob and sink areas. They are also a good idea near doorways, to make a smoother entrance.

Mark Wilkinson bespoke kitchen with curvy unit

A semi-circular cabinet splits a long run of units, subtly defining a work area in this Cook’s kitchen by Mark Wilkinson, from £50,000

Are curved kitchen units more expensive?

The downside of curves is that they cost more than standard units – up to twice as much, due to the extra craftsmanship involved in their manufacture. But they can be more subtly incorporated at a lesser cost, with perhaps just the end of a built-in run being curved, a corner dresser, or if space allows an island, which works well with straight edges elsewhere in the kitchen.

Rencraft curved ktichen island

This breakfast island by Rencraft is topped with Costa Smeralda granite; kitchens start from £16,000

Do curves reduce storage space?

It is a common misconception that curved units compromise on internal storage – bespoke manufacturers work hard to ensure every inch can be utilised, and good kitchen planners can create a scheme that contains even more storage than a traditional design. Your possessions will, however, fit in differently than before, such as chopping may be too modern, but a simple Shaker-style panelled design is ideal for period homes.

Parlour Fam curved breakfast island

A curved island perfectly introduces a free-standing feel in this kitchen by Parlour Farm, where prices start from £15,000

Curvy finishing touches

Cabinet door furniture should also be smooth — consider round knobs, curved bar or cup handles or doors with handle grooves designed in. Worktops will need to be custom cut, usually in solid timber, granite or a composite, and this can add significantly to the cost. Don’t forget to include curves in other elements, such as sinks, taps and rounded appliances, to complete the look.

Davonport curvy kitchen island and dining area

The Audley kitchen from Davonport perfectly combines light, airy painted cabinetry with rich glass and timber to create a stunning contrast. Prices start at £30,000 for a complete kitchen