The 5 Rules Of Good Kitchen Design, According To Cantilever Interiors

For a long time, buying a new kitchen appeared limited to cookie-cutter products, or comprehensive custom designs, with very few options in between. 

Thankfully, those days are behind us. Since 2006, Melbourne-based Cantilever Interiors have been designing and manufacturing kitchens for homes Australia wide. 

 With five set ‘kitchen systems’ to choose from (including the new EDIT design), customers can select the stylish, sustainable model that best suits their needs, and have it adjusted to fit their space. 

The only question you need to ask yourself is– what kitchen is right for me? We asked Cantilever’s creative director Kylie Forbes what you need to know before committing to a new kitchen, revealing the following guiding principles.

Amelia Barnes
Supported by Cantilever Interiors

The new EDIT kitchen system by Cantilever Interiors, which integrates a series of task focused niche modules to cater to varied application. Photo – Martina Gemmola

Steel turns a soft curve through the bench and shelf detail. Photo – Martina Gemmola

From left: Justin Hutchinson of KETT, Kylie Forbes of Cantilever, and Travis Dean of Cantilever. Photo – Martina Gemmola

Amelia Barnes
20th of January 2021

You’ve heard it a million times before – the kitchen is the heart of the home. So when it comes time to actually pulling the trigger on your own kitchen renovation, you need to be sure you’ve factored in the most important considerations. We want functionality, efficiency and longevity, and of course, it’s gotta look good!

If you’re ready to go beyond the flatpack route, it’s hard to go past Cantilever Interiors. The Melbourne-based company offers five beautiful, functional kitchen designs to suit a whole host of spaces and tastes, including their most recent addition, the stylish new EDIT kitchen system developed in partnership with Cosh Living and KETT (pictured throughout!). All their manufacturing is completed from their Brunswick East workshop, delivering high quality and sustainable products.

Even with these curated designs to choose from, deciding on a kitchen can be overwhelming, so we spoke with Kylie Forbes, creative director of Cantilever Interiors, to get her expert advice on the five things you need to know to make your kitchen work!

The design language of EDIT is drawn from the meeting of curve, and line. Photo – Martina Gemmola

EDIT has been designed in collaboration with KETT of Coshliving. Photo – Martina Gemmola

Lifestyle and Purpose

Start by examining your lifestyle and kitchen purpose, both now and in the future.

Keen cooks require more bench space, large families appreciate a generous pantry, and regular entertainers prefer kitchens where they can interact with guests. Considering these factors and more will ultimately help get you closer to figuring out what layout is right for you. 

It’s also important to understand what’s motivating your new kitchen. And will this change in the future? To help figure this out, Kylie asks clients the following questions:

‘What is this project about?
Who is it for?
What is the lifeline, the motivator, why are we doing it?
Is it a forever home, sustainably driven, an investment, an architectural beauty, the beach shack, or the home’s third renovation that you really want to nail?’

Consider your time-of-life, budget, must-haves, aesthetics, and most importantly your motivators. These will help you make decisions down the track.

EDIT uses a flexible design language that can be appropriated into any space, or design layout. Photo – Martina Gemmola


Determine the most functional layout for your space.

The ‘right’ kitchen layout is one that not only enhances the dimensions of your home, but improves the efficiency of your cooking and entertaining. 

A basic principle to keep in mind is whether your desired layout adheres to the ‘work triangle’ – a decades’ old idea that ensures a clear path between the food preparation area (usually the stovetop), cleaning area (sink), and food storage area (fridge and pantry).

Other factors to take into account are natural light sources, ceiling typology, spatial flow, doorway and window placement, adjacent room use, and service scope.

Don’t forget to also mark where your appliances will sit in the kitchen and their size at this stage!

‘Appliances are a cornerstone of kitchen design, and directly influence the outcome’, says Kylie. ‘Your appliance choice will be influenced by the food you make, the spatial and architectural possibilities of your space, and your budget. Re-using existing appliances is an option, with awareness that appliance lifespan influences your kitchen lifespan.’

An appliance niche makes everyday appliances easy to access. Photo – Martina Gemmola

A custom display system creates a highlight at every hour. Photo – Martina Gemmola


Prioritise the most efficient storage solutions possible. 

A common kitchen design mistake is choosing one-size-fits-all storage solutions that don’t properly cater to the users lifestyle, appliances, and cookware. 

In contrast, an effective kitchen will include a range of storage cabinets, shelves, and drawers to fit all manner of items. For example, most households will benefit from having deep drawers for large pots and pans, slimline under bench storage for chopping boards, and integrated shelving for housing decorative items. 

For those working with particularly small kitchens, Kylie recommended single drawer dishwashers, and single or double hob stove tops, as ways of saving valuable space.

Natural Australian stone offers beauty through colour and pattern only nature can create. Photo – Martina Gemmola

Solid Timber table adjunct designed by KETT offers a practical and appealing resolution for dining comfort. Photo – Martina Gemmola

Materials and colours

Choose materials and paint colours that speak to your specific taste, and wider feel of your home.

It’s common to think about the eventual resale value of your kitchen, but in most cases, Kylie advises letting your personal taste dictate your kitchen material choices. 

‘Most people have a natural affinity to their personal colour language, with clarity toward liking or disliking different aesthetics. We encourage our clients to tune into that’, says Kylie. ‘Every material offers different detailing and design nuances, with varying degrees of durability, maintenance, and cost. Harmonizing these elements to suit your project is where the expertise comes in!’

A combination of contrasting colours and materials as seen in Cantilever’s EDIT system is generally appealing, such as natural stone with steel, ceramic and veneer for durability.

EDIT is a kitchen inspired by place, material and craftmanship. Photo – Martina Gemmola

Solid Timber handles resolve touchpoints with robust ease. Photo – Martina Gemmola.


Consider where your kitchen has been made, and how long the materials will last.

The origin and longevity of your kitchen’s materials is integral to ensuring their long term environmental sustainability.

Brands that manufacture locally and use quality materials with low toxicity, such as Cantilever, is an effective way of reducing waste, while supporting local creatives.

Choosing durable materials will also ensure these don’t prematurely end up in landfill, and make sure you end up with a kitchen that will stand the test of time!

The stunning EDIT kitchen is the latest offering from Cantilever Interiors, designed in collaboration with KETT of Cosh living. It combines a material suite of Australian and international natural stone, steel and ceramic bench tops, with a series of stained veneer cabinets and solid timber detailing. Find more information here

Recent Interiors