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The Back Kitchen: You’ll Want to See This Emerging Design Trend


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Creating inspired interiors for discerning clients since 2003. Accepting clients in DC, Virginia, Maryland, and select cities throughout the United States.

The Back Kitchen: You’ll Want to See This Emerging Design Trend

back kitchen
The newest kitchen design trend isn’t new at all. Architects, designers, and homebuilders have noted that back kitchens, or sculleries, have been gaining popularity for their convenience and practicality. A scullery is a second kitchen area, usually positioned near the primary kitchen space. It is used to streamline various tasks related to meal preparation and cleanup from the main space.

Back Kitchen History

While the term back kitchen may be new in contemporary homes, the concept has a long history, dating back to late 19th-century kitchen design used for staging areas and storage. Keep reading to understand how a new generation of homeowners is embracing the resurgence of this trend with a stylish and modern adaptation.

Inspiration and Implementation

Back kitchens have been gaining popularity post-pandemic as people faced a renewed need for pantry storage and additional kitchen prep space. In my Kitchen Trends for 2022 article, I mention the need for walk-in pantries, extra storage, and two refrigerators. Recently, I had the pleasure of adding a back kitchen to a kitchen remodel in McLean, VA. I implemented a timeless design that quickly became a classic and was featured in Home & Design magazine. With the kitchen as the most used space in their home, this family was the perfect candidate for a scullery. I created a back kitchen with a sink, an extra-large refrigerator, and plenty of storage. Read more about this timeless design here.

Benefits of a Back Kitchen

There are many benefits to adding a scullery to your home, with contemporary back kitchens reimagined as elevated pantries with extra storage, appliances, and even prep spaces, all while enhancing the aesthetics and design of your primary kitchen.

  • Functionality: The primary purpose of back kitchens or a scullery is to streamline the overall functionality of your kitchen. These areas often come furnished with extra sinks, extra refrigerators or drink fridges, microwaves, generous counter space, and storage options. Some homeowners choose to add additional footage for a secondary laundry room.
  • Organization and Storage: One of the key features of back kitchens is the storage space and organization they provides. Back kitchens can act as the storage space for larger appliances, cookware, etc., while also incorporating a well-organized pantry. Adding custom shelving, drawers, floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, and other storage solutions can transform this space and help it be a true extension of the kitchen so that the primary kitchen remains visually pleasing.
  • Aesthetics: A central luxury of back kitchens is the aesthetics that it provides to the main kitchen. In many open-concept living spaces, having a cluttered or messy kitchen can be a drawback. Adding a second kitchen to your space can house less aesthetically pleasing appliances and overall contain the more functional elements of a working kitchen so that the primary kitchen can blend into the living space.
  • Entertaining: Lastly, while back kitchens are functional for everyday use, they are convenient for hosting. They can provide discrete areas for meal prep and messy cooking, allowing guests to appreciate the beauty of your tidy kitchen.

If you are planning a kitchen renovation project or want to add a back kitchen to your space, I would love to hear about it! Please contact me today.