Special Nonexistent Furniture

by Susan Serra

Susan Serra CKD, CAPS, is president of Susan Serra Associates, Inc., the kitchen design firm she has owned and operated for over 20 years and business entity for her lifestyle brands, Scandinavian Made www.scandinavianmade.com and Bornholm Kitchen (www.bornholmkitchen.com.) An expert on kitchen design, with countless projects published in national media over the years, Susan is a speaker, a go-to source for the media on kitchen design issues, and a consultant to brands in the kitchen industry. She attends as many design shows in the US and abroad as she can during the year with eyes wide open. Susan thinks about kitchens…a lot!

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  • Photo Credit: Susan Serra
  • We don't often think of needing furniture in the kitchen except for our dining table, but there truly is a whole world of possibilities in which a furniture piece can transform the kitchen. It's been a secret mission of mine over the years, when I attend interior design shows, to seek out furniture that is actually not meant to be used in the kitchen -- but which certainly can be, adding an exciting dose of creativity and style.
  • Photo Credit: Susan Serra
  • The trick is to redefine kitchen storage! Kitchen cabinets are the foundation of storage, of course, but typical furniture shapes and forms can serve a function in the kitchen too and add in the cool factor. Wall cabinets do not need to match the lower (base) cabinets throughout the entire kitchen. Pick a spot that could be a great focal point, particularly from a distance, and add a wall mounted furniture piece. Choose a style that complements nearby spaces, especially if the kitchen is part of an open floorplan.

    Pantry storage certainly need not be designed only as a simple tall cabinet that matches all of your other cabinets. Humdrum! Look for a hutch, even (trust me) pieces for the bedroom. While an attached mirror may be a dead giveaway that the dresser is in the kitchen, take away the mirror and all's fair, and super functional, too. A dresser's lower height may be perfect for a baking center with an added marble countertop. You can also add long open shelving above the furniture piece to optimize storage.
  • Photo Credit​: Susan Serra
  • The kitchen island is wide open to design interpretation. This is the spot that is all about personality, taking center stage in most kitchen designs. Since lower kitchen cabinets are 24" in depth, look for deeper furniture pieces. Can't find any? A great solution is to find two shallow depth pieces and place them back to back. Office/industrial furniture for an edgy look is hot right now and cabinetry made for media is a great resource.
  • Photo Credit​: Susan Serra
  • The kitchen island is wide open to design interpretation. This is the spot that is all about personality, taking center stage in most kitchen designs. Since lower kitchen cabinets are 24" in depth, look for deeper furniture pieces. Can't find any? A great solution is to find two shallow depth pieces and place them back to back. Office/industrial furniture for an edgy look is hot right now and cabinetry made for media is a great resource.

    Sometimes designing "out of the box" takes a little DIY thinking. That's what kitchen design is about -- finding aesthetically pleasing solutions to fulfill functional needs. Personally, I love finding new design solutions. It's so much fun to be open minded about alternative furniture pieces for the kitchen. What piece of furniture would you add to an open spot in the kitchen to serve both function and style?

    Share your thoughts!

    -Susan
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