Design of modular kitchen: 10 avoidable mistakes


Once a person starts looking at the designs of the modular kitchen as a ‘system’, things start falling in place for a solution that not only looks good but works and lasts a lifetime. A perfect remains perfect only until all its elements like storage, layout, countertop, flooring, etc. individually as well as collectively remain directed towards the efficiency of the modular kitchen.

Moreover, for designs of modular kitchens in India, it becomes even more important to focus on the basic details of the as the functions of a are more complex here.



Not Planning around workflow in the of modular


Modular Kitchen - Ideal layout with countertop space
1. Layout – functional and flow which is good


Modular Kitchen - Poor layout with wrong countertop space
2. Layout – poorly designed


The modular kitchen layout


white kitchen accents, big white tiles, white kitchen counter and kitchen shelves, kitchen indoor plants
Planned layout will transform your space.


Laying out the key areas is vital in keeping with the storage and space required in the of the modular kitchen. The layout requires three functional areas are Fridge, Cooking, Sink, and countertop alongside. Counter space needs to be closer to the fridge in the layout so that loading and unloading from the fridge are easy.

Similarly, we need space in the layout on either side of the Hob over the countertop. When you do the dishes you need space to place soiled utensils.  And then, post-cleaning to dry them up. Added to this is in the layout the space for movement.

Lastly, the storage for each function, so you access it with minimum effort and ergonomics must remain employed.


Fridge selection



One must select the fridge keeping in mind its storage volume and its physical size. It is going to take flooring space and many times protrude out beyond the countertop line. It kills the looks and balance of in consonance with the cabinetry and storage.

In my experience, the current day’s choice is 600ltrs plus, side by side or top-bottom doors. They all come with thick and their opening requires free space on both sides when drawers draw out. So, you cannot place it next to the wall.

If there is no choice, then introduce a 300mm wide ladder pull unit, which is very useful for storage. Freestanding fridge requires adequate ventilation – on the sides, back, and top.

Be mindful of its opening, left or right hinged, keeping in mind where the nearest countertop surface is. Assessing the volume of storage should be carefully done as it will have long-term implications. Therefore, place the refrigerator correctly according to the of the modular kitchen.


Cooking hob

It remains one serious appliance that besides placement also needs perfect design. Here I am referring to Indian pots and utensils, they are all curved out and hence require the proper cut grill to seat.

Countertop space on either side is a must in the of the modular kitchen. The same to be supported with easy accessibility to, cutlery, spice, utensil drawers, storage, and a high-powered hood on top to evacuate, odour, oil, and heat. Look for child safety knobs and gas cutoff safety features.


Sink selection

Another very personal feature, every lady decides to come from her habit and ease. Give adequate space on either side, deep enough sink bowls, number of bowls, and drainboard in the of modular kitchen.


Sink Types - Modular Kitchen with space for countertop
Sink Types


Sink Accessories
Quality Sink Accessories Are Important


The faucet is of high quality, performance, and has requisite water pressure. The sink faucet is used many times by the entire family including the domestic helps. It is prone to rough usage. You don’t want dripping to take place, buy quality brands. You have enough choice of material too, SS, fragranite and a few more.

Go study the same, understand, and make your selection. Remember, once the sink is installed it will only be discarded when you go for a new kitchen. Yes, the only option is to take a top-mounted model which can be replaced without the countertop having to be removed.

A waste disposal crusher is a growing need and reduces your organic waste handling, select one with an air switch, it is installed on the countertop close to the sink. The dishwasher goes next to the sink unit as the plumbing is within the sink unit or else the machine sticks out, which is not a good idea. Easy to load the machine after one quick rinse with jet. The crusher takes care of the solid food, bones after a meal.

The sink unit also houses the waste bins with segregation, as required by civic authorities too. If poorly designed and managed the stinking point, cockroaches love it. Remember, this zone in the is the most vulnerable and can be painful if not handled at the and execution stage.



It is surely a plumbers job. Sounds simple! But not where you’ve untrained hands and minds working to make the client crib times to come. Plotting the layout of plumbing, after having understood the complete requirement of items as explained above, is happening within the sink unit, it is a skilled job.

The quality /type of pipe, its fittings, and workmanship calls for the best, never ever compromise. Besides supply line adequacy, the disposal line size matters a lot. You need to be mindful of clogging, right gradient to push out the waste. Ensure once the lines are laid that hydrostatic pressure test is conducted and a keen eye inspects and confirms zero leakage. This work is expensive going forward, so get the right guy to install it.


Sink installation

It requires the utmost care and skill. Depending on what kind of sink is chosen, be it inset, under-mounted (sandwiched), or sit-on. Follow the company manual, have a supervisor standing to verify the steps and material being used. The sandwiched one requires seating on the two surfaces enough to hold the collar of the sink. Any oversight here will destroy the sink unit and adjoining units in no time. This ‘one issue’ has given a bad name to modular kitchens in India.


Water Purifier

Its type, capacity, and its location need planning from day one, don’t leave it for a last-minute purchase. We in India don’t get consistent quality potable water. Civic bodies will supply, buildings or housing society will buy tankers and sometimes have borewell water coming through your taps. So, select UV, RO, and alkaline water purifiers as per the quality of water to be treated. Added to this is an online supply to your fridge for ice and drinking water. The pipe has to be laid while civil work is progressing.


Electrical Wiring and its earthing makes the modular safe

It’s a trend now in India to have a fully loaded modular kitchen. There is a demand for multiple built-in appliances and also many countertop floating and handheld ones. Built-in ones require power sockets rightly fixed as per the manual and company directions, while its control switches come on the dado or nearby wall.

Similarly, all movable appliances require supply sockets in the area of their use. Having established the load required, break it up with separate MCBs, never save on the length of wire and a slot in the distribution box. This will ensure there is never a complete shut down due to one appliance faulting and also due to its earthing.

Please note: The dishwasher is a very sensitive appliance and should be fed with quality electricity and perfect earth. The damage is always the control or operating module (PCB) and it will cost you nothing less than a replacement, it is expensive.


Venting the built-in appliances and ducting for hoods


Modular Kitchen Ventilation
of Modular Ventilation


Built-in appliances have prescribed ventilation needs to be followed to the T. So, the inflow of ambient air point, its clear path to the appliance and further route to carry the heat out through a vent exit. Which means that you must incorporate its unrestricted flow in the layout and flooring plan.

In countries like India, we require to even follow the same for all induction cooking hobs over countertops. Never install a fridge and ovens side by side without the insulation shield sandwiched. You get heat shields that deflect 90% heat between the two, cooling and oven units.

The fridge dissipates heat all day long and needs evacuation and if the oven is adding to it then it will affect the cooling inside and the longevity of the appliance.

The hob over the countertop requires the extraction of heat, vapors, odour out of the from above the hob, and a clear path remains required through a pipe. Normally it’s either a 4” or 6“ pipe, never make it telescopic or reduced from the motor. Backpressure, load on the motor, and sound within the will be annoying. Hood/Chimney should always be ducted and not recyclable unless the architecture or layout doesn’t permit it.

These days companies are suggesting down-draft hoods and integrated extractors. The motor pulls and pushes the heat, vapour, and odour through a pipe buried under the flooring or even out if the same is against a wall, provided the isn’t exterior and spoiling the façade. This kind of extractor isn’t for oriental cooking. Yes, maybe be for an island show to just warm/simmer your food. Don’t get misled!


Gas pipeline 

Another important aspect of the of modular is a plan for the gas pipeline. The gas pipeline should be accessible to check for any leakage and change while no electric point should be touching it or the hot water line. In India, the meter for the gas supply remains installed within the modular and it should remain ventilated and easy to take the reading. Plan this at the and layout stage itself and assign the location and the path for its supply to your cooking hob. This should be as per the norms and rules of the gas supplying agency. Safety is paramount!


is practical value addition in modular


designer cooking area
Stylish countertops for kitchens


It adds to the overall aesthetics of the of modular and its feel, while the resilience of the surface can’t stay ignored. Here, the designer/architect has to be fully involved since the entire scheme and control is their domain. You can also mix two kitchen top materials in two different zones, dry countertop, breakfast countertop.

Choose an impervious countertop material so nothing gets absorbed over a period of time and stain it. The workmanship of the same will affect the looks and longevity. Keep in mind the kind of handles chosen for base units. You need a drip groove under it. You can’t extend the countertop beyond a point making it difficult for your fingertips to open the and drawers.


Ergonomics in the of modular


Ergonomics 1 - Modular Kitchen
of Modular Kitchen  – Ergonomics


Ergonomics 2 - Modular Kitchen with storage and countertop

Ergonomics 3 - Modular Kitchen with storage and countertop

The dictionary definition of ergonomics says ‘the study of man in relation to the environment and the adaptation, general conditions to fit an individual to maximize efficiency’. Nowhere is this more applicable than the kitchen.

The first aspect is on the kitchen plan or the layout as mentioned above in my first point. Ease of walking around is critical, keep a minimum of 3 ft going to 4 ft. in the layout.


Simple check: The doorway with a tray in hand is 3 ft.

Choose more drawers or storage in the base units. Besides the comfort, it helps to keep a track of the stored items and makes their retrieval easy. Therefore, it offers additional storage.

Countertop heights as per the user’s ease, folding at elbow level. units for regular access from eye level shouldn’t go beyond 7 ft. While the built-in appliances should start at waist high and not much above eye level. Keep a stepper for reaching the units on a higher level when space constraint is there.

Introduce tall units with internal drawers, 5 maximum, this is a great help to store your food in different forms and packs.

If you focus on all these aspects in the latest of modular kitchen, you can never go wrong,


Lights and their controls in the of modular


task lighting for a cooking area to make it functional
Task makes cooking easier


You need to address these three aspects with clarity- Lights within cabinets, countertop illumination, and ambient. The should remain well lit and choose the lux-levels as per your taste, warm white or white. Food preparation advocates good lighting, examining uncooked to cooking and then serving.

At the same time, you can’t have heat bothering you, so is a great innovation. So, think through the operational points for lights and other useful floating appliances, keep extra. Therefore, the of modular must accommodate fixtures and their proper placement too.


Flooring selection in the of modular


wooden flooring, glass sliding doors, black kitchen counters, small kitchen
Elegant flooring transforms the space.


Ensure the flooring material is impervious, non-slippery, with oil, water, and any food spillage. The surface should be easily cleanable and fixed at zero levels with no gradients. We don’t want liquids to flow beneath the skirting on a sloping flooring. You don’t need to wash the flooring with a hosepipe, swab it, vacuum it and be happy. Also, the material and of modular flooring shouldn’t stain with any substance dripping over it accidentally.


storage planning


storage space for cooking area
Concealed and organized storage area.


Storage space of food, crockery, cutlery, and utensils is at a premium in the of modular kitchen. Planning the storage with the user is important if required to visit their current for tea and understand it.

aides such as knives, chopping boards, trays, foil and shrink wrap roles all require a designated place.  These should be within easy reach.

Don’t forget you have to house all sorts of cleaning agents and aides, buckets, steppers, mops, brushes, sponges. You have to think and provide space to place napkins to dry and reach while working, paper towels alone cannot suffice.


You need TV and Audio too


TV and audio wall set up
mounted TV for


Plan this as you need space, in the direction you would like to watch it while working, audio systems can remain housed pretty easily. You need to bring in wires to connect, a set-top box and brackets to hold audiovisual systems. However, ensure that you have given space for such appliances in your of modular too.


10. The tenth point is to tell you to go back to the first and read it till 9th once again and let me know if I have missed anything … enjoy a good well-planned of modular


Mr Balbir Singh
Mr Balbir Singh


The author – Mr. Balbir Singh ( has over 20 years of experience in designing for multiple international brands in India. He is based out of Mumbai and can be reached at


If you want to buy top-quality modular kitchens from the best brands, click on the link given below to check your options and submit your inquiries:

Modular kitchen

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