Create a cook's kitchen fit for a masterchef

We all want a kitchen that looks good, but it has to function well too, particularly if you're a keen cook or enjoy entertaining family and friends. It's common knowledge that everyone gathers in the kitchen at parties, so how well yours is laid out can make the difference between your gathering being stressful and fraught or smooth and fun.

We've picked out some of our favourite cook's kitchens, where simple ideas make life easy every day – and on those occasions when you're cooking for a crowd.

Open shelving is always a good option, as everything is to hand when you need it – no rummaging in the back of a cupboard for the particular pot or pan that you're looking for (likewise a hanging pot rack).

In addition, if your gatherings tend to be informal, guests can help themselves to extra glasses or plates, rather than asking you where things are kept when your sauce is about to boil over, or you're at another crucial point in the cooking process.

See more stylish kitchen shelving ideas.

Alternatively, if you prefer things to be put away neatly, consider glass-fronted cabinets, where others can easily see where to find them.

A range cooker is an obvious choice with the multi-oven options and large hobs on offer, while plenty of surface space is paramount, with zones either side of the sink and hob for prepping and serving a necessity.

Kitchen islands provide extra worktop space, as well as being a great spot for a breakfast bar, or for family and guests to gather and chat while you're prepping. Kitchen islands that are on wheels or are otherwise moveable provide the flexibility to open up your space further if required. And who wouldn't want one with a living herb garden in the centre, like the example below?

Find more ideas for cool kitchen islands.

Task lamps overhead or on the wall above a working area and a row of pendants above an island will provide extra light when it's required or enable you to change the mood when you need to.

Introduce these ideas and you'll stay cool in the kitchen...

good bones

(Image credit: Matthew Williams)

good bones

The cow’s head on the extractor hood originally hung outside a French butcher’s shop and was one of the pieces that inspired designer Pol Theis to make his kitchen feel a little like a boucherie. Get the look The island and cabinetry were custom-designed by P&T Interiors. The black metro tiles are from Waterworks.

good bones

(Image credit: Matthew Williams)

good bones

The cow’s head on the extractor hood originally hung outside a French butcher’s shop and was one of the pieces that inspired designer Pol Theis to make his kitchen feel a little like a boucherie. Get the look The island and cabinetry were custom-designed by P&T Interiors. The black metro tiles are from Waterworks.

simple style

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

simple style

The bespoke cabinets are made from reclaimed floorboards. They and the table are lightened with quick-drying chalk paint, which the owner says is a decorator’s dream due to its malleability. Metro tiles give a utilitarian feel. Get the LookThe cabinets are painted in Chalk Paints in Paris Grey and French Linen by Annie Sloan, sealed with dark wax. For a bench and table like this, try Harvey Jones. The fridge is by Smeg. The wall tiles are from The Reject Tile Shop. The industrial-style pendant lamp was found at a stall in Brick Lane. For similar, try Trainspotters. Buy an olive tree at Clifton Nurseries.

open house

(Image credit: James Merrell)

open house

The bespoke, industrial wall shelving set against a clean backdrop of Carrara marble and white tiles lends a lightness to the space. Get the Look Wall shelving, The French House. Cabinet handles, Schoolhouse (US) – try Swarf Hardware. Blinds, Woodnotes.

top brass

(Image credit: Davide Lovatti)

top brass

In this kitchen, designer Emma Oldham didn’t want a one-size-fits-all design. She spent ages considering how she likes to cook, as she is a true believer that a home must look beautiful but work effectively, too. The bronze cooker hood was made to order by a metal- worker and the cabinet carcasses are from a German company. Get the Look Smoked-oak cabinet fascias, K&I Kitchens. Made to order cooker hood, London Metalworks. Calacatta Oro marble splashbacks and worktops, Marble City.

well stocked

(Image credit: James Merrell)

well stocked

The kitchen was constructed to have the feel of a cool bar and features a marble-clad island where friends can sit and chat while designer Tara Bernerd cooks. Get the LookThe bespoke kitchen, designed by Tara Bernerd & Partners, includes black iron-framed sliding fluted-glass panels, limed-oak shelves and a Carrara marble-clad island. The Shadows glass and wood pendant lights are by Brokis. The OD 61 bar stools, upholstered in Zanzibar velvet by Vescom, are by Erik Buck.

mixed materials

(Image credit: Armelle Habib)

mixed materials

Rounded corners make the kitchen more child- friendly, while charcoal-coloured bricks and cabinets along the spine wall streamline the look and define this space as a work zone. Get the look The charcoal glazed bricks are from Euroa Clay Products in Melbourne. Try grestec.co.uk for similar. The island was custom-made from bleached American oak and Calacatta marble, and the kitchen cabinets were made bespoke from charcoal-stained American oak with powder-coated handles. These are the Albert bar stools by Massproductions – Twentytwentyone stocks this design. The tap is by Dornbracht. This is a Bertazzoni oven.

work and play

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

work and play

This kitchen is designed to work hard – with loads of storage and a fierce gas hob for stir-fries – but it can play hard too. There is ample room for the children’s toys at the garden end of the room. Get the look The kitchen, custom-made by Minale + Mann, features a Carrara marble island, Leicht units, Buster + Punch handles, a Quooker tap and a Smeg cooker. The porcelain tableware is by Sophie Conran for Portmeirion at John Lewis. For a similar copper jug, try Stelton.

SHELF LOVE

(Image credit: Matthew Williams)

SHELF LOVE

The open, white oak shelves with custom-made brass brackets and eclectic piles of crockery add a soft, busy cook's vibe. Get the look: The Honed Petite Granite floor tiles are from Integrated and the Grove wall tiles are by Waterworks. The mahogany kitchen island with its white Carrara marble worktop came from Fullscale Woodworking Inc, while the drawer unit and white oak shelves and brass brackets were all custom made. The collection of crockery is by Sir/Madam. The Tolix bar stools are from Antiquaire and the large pendant Candy Shop light, made from industrial parts, is by John Ogden from John Derion. The brass taps are by Waterworks, the farmhouse sink is from Rohl, the stove is La Canache and the fridge is by SubZero. The woodwork is painted in ‘Wrought Iron’ by Benjamin Moore. The door hardware came from Frank Allart.

CUPBOARD LOVE

(Image credit: Matthew Williams)

CUPBOARD LOVE

The architects at MADE designed and built the kitchen cabinets and central island unit. The cabinets look like wood, but are, in fact, again made from the Richlite composite. It’s really durable and has a beautiful softness. Black-painted wood just looks like black-painted wood, whereas this has a sense of mystery. Get the look: The splashback tiles are from US brand Daltile. This is the PRO304GASX Professional Series gas range from Bertazzoni. The Ray pendant is by Jordi Veciana for Metalarte. The wicker bull’s head is a sample of a product David designed for home interiors outlet West Elm, but which never went into production. The marbleised ceramics are from Atelier Sylvie Saint-André Perrin in Paris.

TOP OF THE POTS

(Image credit: Matthew Williams)

TOP OF THE POTS

The kitchen is the creative hub of this apartment, and sits at the rear of the house with a view of the backyard, separated from the living and dining space by pocket doors. The foodie home owner wanted a big, luxurious island with a hob facing the living space, so she can be part of the party while she’s cooking. Get the look: Try Maitland & Poate for cement tiles like these. The Knole kitchen by Stoneham has this look. Go to Creostone Worktops for a Carrara surface like this. Trumpet eggshell by Little Greene is a similar yellow paint.

island life

(Image credit: James Merrell)

island life

With its lofty ceiling and enormous island, the kitchen has a luxurious, airy feel. The space is dominated by the jaw-dropping faux olive tree, which seems to have taken root within the Corian-clad island. Get the look: The bespoke cabinetry by Sola Kitchens features Corian worksurfaces and antique mirror-glass panels on the island. The island’s bespoke legs (matching the legs of the bar chairs) are by Adam Paterson at jpatersonbuilders.co.uk. These are Hauteville concrete bar chairs by Lyon Beton at Rockett St George. The felt Corn Flakes packet and other felt products on the shelving is from The Felt Cornershop collection by Lucy Sparrow at sewyoursoul.co.uk.

new heights

(Image credit: Montse Garriga Grau)

new heights

Industrial meets vintage meets modern in this bright and airy open-plan kitchen. The painted floors create a flow from one space to another. The rustic-looking island was inspired by an antique table, while the metal cabinetry took its cue from a Danish kitchen. Get the look: The bespoke cabinetry is made of metal: for similar, check out the Phoenix design by Varenna/Poliform. These are H stools by Chantal Andriot for Tolix. The suspended storage-cum-display unit is bespoke– to create something similar, see Ikea’s Omar modular shelving system.

TACTILE TEXTURES

(Image credit: James Merrell)

TACTILE TEXTURES

The Restaurateur owner of this kitchen isn’t keen on the generic, stainless-steel finishes of most modern extractor hoods, so he had the cover made to fit in with the industrial look around the rest of the flat. Get the look: The cabinetry and bronze, liquid-finish worktop were created by Tekne. The base for the island was made from reclaimed plaster pillars sourced from Retrouvius. The ‘Nice’ plate is by Tracey Emin – similar limited editions are available at the Hang-Up Gallery. The bar stools are from LASSCO.

PIPE DREAMS

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

PIPE DREAMS

The panelling is complemented by the simple solidity of the British Standard kitchen. The diner-style extractor above the Aga was made bespoke. The antique ‘pot filler’ tap was found at an antiques fair. Get the look: The British Standard by Plain English cabinetry is painted in Purbeck Stone eggshell by Farrow & Ball.

FIRED UP

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

FIRED UP

A gentle style of clean walls, crafted accessories and minimal furniture is displayed throughout this famous chef's kitchen. Wood is the dominant factor, from the beams and floors to the fittings. It may have a blacksmith’s furnace, but you won’t find a microwave here. Get the look: The worktop running along the wall is made up of a single piece of Dinesen HeartOak, measuring 5.6 metres in length.

PURE AND SIMPLE

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

PURE AND SIMPLE

This kitchen is a classic Shaker style from deVol with hardwearing white Silestone worktops, while the floors are white oiled wide-plank engineered oak. Get the look: The Shaker-style kitchen units, Silestone worktops, prep table and oak stools are all by deVol. The range cooker came from Esse. The chopping boards are from Daylesford and the big glass storage jars are from Ikea. The fisherman’s lights are from Color Worx in East Wittering.

ROUGH LUXE

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies)

ROUGH LUXE

The kitchen is full of clever design details – from the metro tiles inside the kitchen cabinets to the herb trough in the island. The rustic-looking cabinet doors are sawn oak with a white finish. They look like reclaimed timber, but it’s engineered. Reclaimed wood isn’t so hard-wearing and you can’t wipe it easily. Get the look: Jamie Blake of Blakes London made this kitchen from sketches drawn up by the home owner. The cabinet doors came from Waxed Floors. The wall lamps were bought on eBay.