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A simple guide to turn a conventional kitchen into a semi modular kitchen

  • Kitchen Design
Nov 01, 2021
Semi modular kitchen design with patterned tiles - Beautiful Homes

We go through the basics you need to keep in mind when transforming the original builder kitchen into a contemporary, modular haven

More often than not, a builder apartment will come with a very basic conventional kitchen design that includes counters, a sink and a stone or cement platform with supports topped with a granite slab. To turn this into a functioning kitchen design, you can work with the original layout and add under and above counter storage units keeping in mind the vast array of modular kitchen ideas available in the Indian market.


You could also undertake a partial or complete renovation, transforming the conventional space into a semi modular kitchen. Modular kitchen design can include factory-made modular units or carpenter-made kitchens, both of which can be customised to fit your needs. Whatever the level or renovations, transforming your kitchen design can be quite an exhaustive process from planning the perfect layout and storage to choosing the right colours, materials, styles and patterns. It is always a good idea to consult design experts, like the Beautiful Homes Service, who can not only walk you through the process but also come up with designs that get the best out of your space.


Read on for a basic understanding of how to convert a conventional kitchen into a semi-modular kitchen.


The Modular Kitchen Layout

Whether you are going in for a factory-made semi modular kitchen or a carpenter-made kitchen, the first step is to plan the layout. There are many factors to consider in this stage, so, we’ve broken them down for you.

  • There are a few popular kitchen layouts to consider. The choice you make needs to factor in the existing layout and size as well as what renovations are possible. You will have to keep in mind building codes and restrictions on civil work. For instance, you might not be able to break down a particular wall if it is a beam wall. You could look at a Galley layout, an L-shaped kitchen or a G-shaped kitchen.

  • This is also the time to consider whether you want an open plan kitchen or a closed layout. With either style, there are a lot of modular kitchen designs to choose from.

  • With any layout, think about the most basic design guideline for an efficient kitchen – the work triangle. This essentially creates a clear path in a triangular shape between the stove (cooking area), the sink (cleaning area) and the refrigerator and pantry (food storage area). Space these three areas out enough for easy movement but make sure that the distance isn’t too much that it becomes counter-productive. A simple layout keeps the food storage area closer to the entrance with the sink or wet areas restricted towards the other end with the cooking area in the centre.
Parallel modular kitchen with white & grey colour palette with windows opening to garden - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, Wee Spaces

Semi modular kitchen design with a kitchen island & a breakfast nook - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, Dunelm

  • Modular kitchen ideas can easily and aesthetically incorporate various additional architectural features like a kitchen island or a breakfast nook.
  • Also demarcate areas for other appliances like ovens and microwave ovens, coffee machines as well as space for blenders and food processors. When it comes to water purifiers, consider under-sink models that get hidden away with only a sleek water spout near the main sink faucet.
  • Plan adequate and easily accessible electrical outlets. You may want to add a few outlets which might require rewiring so it must be planned at the start.
  • Keep in mind that if you are keeping the original counter, you might not be able to change the size of the sink or add features like a built-in hob which require you to make a cut-out in the existing slab. 

Modular Kitchen Storage

For an efficient, well-rounded space, you need to plan the right storage for your kitchen needs. The advantage that modular kitchen designs have is that you can utilize every inch of space effectively with clever drawer storage, corner storage and cabinetry. Even with semi modular kitchens or carpenter-made ones, you can customise each area to suit your space, layout and requirements.

  • Take a stock of what you have and how you will store them. For instance, if you are going in for drawers as under-counter storage, you will need drawers of various sizes. Items like cutlery, cooking spoons and knives require drawers that are between 4 to 6 inches high. Small pots and pans can go into medium-sized drawers with larger utensils like kadais and stock pots or even appliances like blenders and food processors requiring the biggest drawers.

  • Keep in mind that you may have to work around the original stone or concrete under-counter supports in the kitchen. Conventional kitchens in builder apartments usually come with these supports that are planned around cabinets rather than modular drawers but it is easily to work any storage design around them as well as cover them up.
Semi modular kitchen design with storage cabinets & kitchen drawers - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, Sleek by Asian Paints

  • For smart storage make use of the many innovative units and items available in the market including corner storage systems which incorporate pull-outs or carousels as well as wire baskets, plate/pot holders, built-in drawer sections or wall-mounted dish drying racks placed above the sink with cabinet shutters to conceal them.
Wooden semi modular kitchen with storage cabinets & open shelves - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, Sleek by Asian Paints

  • Look at thin and/or tall units for pantry storage, cooking supplies and bottle storage along with pull-out bin holders to fit your semi modular kitchen. 
  • Modular kitchen designs include a variety of wall-mounted and above counter cabinetry which incorporate pull-outs and/or closed shelves. You also have a choice of a variety of cabinet door opening systems like hinge, sliding, folding, flap, pocket, etc.
  • Keep in mind that you need enough space between your higher cabinets and the ceiling fan. You also need to account for the kitchen chimney above the planned stove area.
  • Don’t forget items like small open shelves, hooks or magnetic railings for quick access to those smaller daily use items.

The Modular Kicthen Décor

Other than the functional aspects like layout and storage, you also need to think about the aesthetic and design aspects of your converted semi modular kitchen.

  • Settling on a basic colour palette will help you decide on what patterns and materials to bring in on the walls, tiles, cabinetry and counters.
  • If you want or need to change your existing counter, consider durable materials like engineered quartz, terrazzo or granite. For a modern modular kitchen design, you could also look at waterfall edge countertops.
  • Also keep in mind the sink and surrounding accessories when changing your counters. The material, style and colour of the kitchen sink and main faucet can drastically change the look and functionality of the wet area. Some accessories require additional 
Modular kitchen with solid yellow, green colour palette & blue kitchen countertop - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, ImageFlow/

  • Also keep in mind the sink and surrounding accessories when changing your counters. The material, style and colour of the kitchen sink and main faucet can drastically change the look and functionality of the wet area. Some accessories require additional 

  • Add visual interest with a textured or patterned backsplash.
An all white modular kitchen design paired with patterned kitchen backsplash - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, ADND

  • Cove and recessed lights are the best options to light up the entire kitchen i.e., ambient lighting. Pendant lights above an eating area, breakfast nook or kitchen island adds oodles of style to the kitchen. Also consider using lighting like LED strips as a design feature.

  • You will also need to choose a cohesive style for your under and above counter storage fronts including shutter and drawer fronts as well as tall units and panels covering wall-mounted dish racks or the chimney, if needed.
  • There are numerous colours and laminate finishes to choose from for your cabinets and drawers. Consider adding one or two fluted glass front cabinets as a design element.
  • Pay attention to cabinet knobs and drawer pulls – you can choose to make these inconspicuous in design or choose those that add another interesting style element to your semi modular kitchen. 

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