Västerbottens informationsportal för byggnadsvård,
hushållning och samhällsutveckling

The history of the kitchen 

Around the turn of the 20th century, fixed kitchen furnishings began to be built of solid wood. Food was stored in a cold pantry or food cellar and cooked on a wood or gas stove. Thirty years later, kitchen furnishings began to be factory-made, initially from wood fibreboard. The scientific analyses of the 1940s led to what we call the “Swedish kitchen standard”. It described how a kitchen would be planned, as well as the location of various modules and the distance between them. From the 1950s, most kitchens contained refrigerators, electric stoves, and stainless steel sinks. The kitchens of the Million Programme were often galley kitchens with a workbench, stove, and sink along one wall and cabinets for food storage and household utensils along the other. At the same time, standard dimensions were introduced for cabinets and appliances, as well as for the counter height and overall height, and the framework for kitchens began to be built of chipboard.  

Kitchen renovation 

Older kitchens rarely meet today’s standard requirements. The counters are too low and do not have enough workspace, and there is no room for a dishwasher and refrigerator. However, the cabinets are often high-quality and custom-made on site, which means that they use the space in the most efficient way possible. In a careful kitchen renovation, the cabinetry can be preserved. If the counter height is too low, the plinth can be raised or an additional row of drawers can be added under the countertop. If more counter space or storage is needed, the kitchen can be supplemented with new (or reused) furnishings. Maintenance painting of kitchen joinery from before 1980 is not a problem, as the carpentry was of high quality and oil-based lacquer paints were used. It is more difficult with newer joinery, due to the lower quality of the materials and the plastic-based surface coatings.