A short guide on how to make the most of the space you have in your small kitchen, including clever design tricks and layout ideas to make it appear much larger than it really is.
Good things come in small packages, and the same can be said about your kitchen, providing you make the most of some innovative layouts and design tips. From lighting to storage, our small kitchen design guide has the answers you seek.
Keep it light and bright
The lighter the colour scheme of your small kitchen, the larger the room will appear. Dark colours can make a space look cramped, while brighter colours reflect the light to create an illusion of space. If possible, opt for the same colour for the units and the walls.
High gloss kitchen units help to reflect the light even further and are widely available at a reasonable price due to their current popularity.
In a light, neutral colour, these units will stand the test of time, and are easy to clean and maintain.
High gloss tiles, such as white metro tiles, will also help to capture more light in your small kitchen design. You could even install a mirrored splashback behind the stove or the sink to enhance this.
Lighting is the key to making a small area appear larger. Fit lights underneath wall cupboards to make food preparation easier and save space.
You should also consider using directional spotlights to bounce light from walls and appliances back into the room. Another popular and useful option in terms of small kitchen lighting is to fit LED downlights in and around the bottom of the low-level kitchen units.
Don’t use dark, heavily patterned curtains to dress your window; fit a sleek, light blind that can be fully retracted to ensure as much natural light as possible. If the room allows it, consider putting in a skylight/light tube, too.
Firstly, try to get rid of as much clutter as you possibly can: .
- If you have gadgets you haven’t used for a couple of years, recycle them or give them away.
- Resist offers from family members of dinner services/tea sets!
- Use your tablet to search for recipes and put your cookery books away.
Try not to incorporate too many cupboards into the design of your kitchen, as they’ll make the room feel quite claustrophobic. Instead, opt for some open shelving. You can use a selection of sleek/pretty containers to store anything you need to be easily accessible, from sugar and tea bags to dishwasher tablets and soap.
Hang larger utensils on hooks underneath shelves or wall cupboards and put up a magnetic knife strip, which removes the need for utensil holders and blocks on the worktop while freeing up drawer space.
If possible, fit a (lower level) corner cupboard, as they provide heaps of space for larger/less regularly used gadgets/pans/tableware. Pull-out larder cupboards also make the most of a slim space.
Consider investing in a mobile butcher's block. Small square versions are available, and not only do they look very attractive, but they also provide both storage and extra workspace. Plus, they can be moved easily, enabling you to arrange your space according to your activity.
Don’t Assume There’s Too Little Space For Dining
With a little imagination, it is often possible to create an area for dining, even in a very small kitchen.
This could take the form of a slimline worktop in an area that can’t accommodate units - attached to the wall above a radiator, for example. Even if it only extends 30cms into the room, it will still be big enough to dine at.
An alternative would be to attach a peninsula that extends into the centre of your kitchen, or even a piece of worktop that can be pulled out from underneath the standard worktop and slotted back in again once you’ve finished your meal.
If you have the space for a kitchen island, aim to incorporate an essential appliance into it to free up space elsewhere in the room. You can install a hob or a sink onto the top an island, and a fridge or extra storage underneath. Remember, kitchen islands don’t have to be huge. Square islands measuring much less than a metre in length and width are very popular for a reason!
When adding a dining area to a kitchen, it's worth noting that it is usually the seating that takes up the most room. Ensure that any dining space is created with enough room underneath to tuck away chairs or stools completely.
Appliances for a Small Kitchen
All the well-known manufacturers sell modern appliances in a range of sizes. It's all about finding the right one to match your kitchen's requirements, as well as your taste.
Dishwashers measuring just 45cm in width (as opposed to the standard 60cm) are readily available. Invest in one with a pull-out cutlery tray at the top (rather than a chunky cutlery basket) to maximise the space available inside.
Smeg, the makers of beautifully coloured 1950’s retro refrigerators, make slim and half-size versions of their standard offering, while AGA makes a 60cm wide version of their iconic cooker, with 2 ovens and a hotplate.
You may also want to consider the following:
- Finding a new home for your washing machine, such as the cupboard under the stairs (if possible).
- Fitting a slimline ‘domino’ hob, rather than a full-size version.
- Installing a boiling water tap instead of using a kettle.
- Buying a sink that comes with a fitted ‘chopping board’ cover - instant extra workspace.
Transform your Small Room into the Kitchen of your Dreams
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