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Top tips for planning a smart kitchen

01 May 2016

Homeowner Libertad has worked as an interior designer at IKEA for five years. She’s part of the cooking and dining team, and has used all her know-how to plan a smart METOD kitchen in the Madrid apartment she shares with partner Rober. Who better to show us how clever organisation makes for a functional, sociable kitchen?

Libertad’s open-plan kitchen is functional and sociable
A kitchen island can serve many purposes

Island living

‘I think of the kitchen island as the heart of our home – everything happens around it. Our kitchen isn’t huge, so we chose to add an island because it can have so many different uses: it’s an additional worktop, as well as a breakfast bar, and a drinks station when we have friends over! It means whoever’s cooking isn’t left on their own, as there’s plenty of space for everyone to gather around.’

Smart storage means everything has its place

Get smart with storage

‘My partner Rober does most of the cooking, so when I was planning our kitchen he asked me to put the drawers for frying pans, spices and cooking utensils right next to the hob. That way you can see everything you need while you’re cooking, and you don’t need to step away from the hob whenever you need to add a little more pepper!’

Pick your favourite styles and materials when planning a kitchen

Style plus substance

Function was Libertad’s priority when designing her kitchen, but the design and quality of materials were important too. ‘Once you’ve decided where everything should be, think about the sorts of materials you want in your kitchen. Of course they have to be easy to clean, but they also need to fit in with your personal style – the kitchen shouldn’t just be about function! We chose clean, white cabinets and added personality with open shelving.’

Mark out a work triangle for a functional flow around the kitchen

Function comes first

‘When planning a kitchen, it’s important to mark out your work triangle: you need food storage, a washing/preparing station and the main cooking area to form a triangle. In our home this means the fridge and sink are next to each other, and opposite the oven. This layout creates a smooth flow of activities and minimises mess.’

Add decorative details to blur the lines

Blur the lines for open-plan living

If your kitchen is part of an open-plan living space like Libertad’s, think about how you can bring those areas together. ‘I’ve added decorative details – like high shelves, antique pieces, and splashes of colour – that help erase the barriers. We’ve used traditional Spanish-style tiles on the kitchen floor, which is all the distinction we need. Combining the kitchen, dining and seating areas has really enhanced our lives together.’

Floorplan of Libertad’s kitchen
Portrait of Libertad

‘We’ve made our kitchen all about preparing, cooking and enjoying food, with plenty of clever storage and room for relaxing with friends’
Libertad, interior designer, Spain

Made by

Photography: Christina Bull
Styling: Sam Grigg