With appliances often taking up the majority of floor space in a traditional kitchen, Bob Andrew of Elfin Kitchens explains how the right use of products can help to maximise kitchen space in rented accommodation.

report earlier this year revealed that the private rented sector in the UK is set to grow 24 per cent by 2021, which will mean that one in four of the population will be renters rather than owner-occupiers. This reflects a general trend during the last 10 years, which has seen the sector double in size due to conditions in the housing and labour markets. Younger workers in particular are attracted by the flexibility of renting, while the chronic shortage of affordable housing is reducing home ownership. Interestingly, the trend for rental properties is consistent across the housing spectrum. Large scale, professionally managed high-end rental accommodation is proving just as popular as houses of


multiple occupancies (HMOs), which are often at the more economic end of the market.

Regardless of the rental cost of a property, there is usually one aspect of development that connects them all. This is maximising space to offer flexible living areas, ensuring a studio or apartment feels modern and comfortable, while also providing a good level of practicality and open space. Achieving this balance requires careful planning by a housebuilder or developer, with the specification of products, fixtures and fittings considered at the earliest design stages. Unsurprisingly, there are a couple of key areas that create challenges, including the bathroom and kitchen. For the bathroom,

the industry has seen significant growth in pod designs, which allow a complete room to be ‘dropped’ into an apartment and simply connected to services. These designs are an excellent option for larger builds, but it is important to ensure the durability of components.

The challenge of long term durability in kitchens is common, where there is arguably a greater need for robustness than in the rest of the house. For this reason, it is no surprise that developers are looking for kitchens that not only offer a combination of style, flexibility and practicality, but are also able to last longer than the term of a tenancy. For this reason, traditional kitchen cabinetry is often an unattractive option. The main restriction

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