Small kitchen design ideas
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone could have a huge, open plan kitchen that doubles as a dining room? Sure, it would be. But for most people, the task at hand is to make the most of the space they do have.
If you’re wondering how to maximise the space and functionality of your small kitchen, look no further because this guide is going to share with you the best hints and tips for doing exactly that.
We’ll cover how to prioritise your kitchen contents, style the room to make it feel spacious, organise your storage to use every centimetre of space, and design your kitchen layout to give you even more room. And for even more amazing advice on perfecting your small kitchen, check out our ultimate guide to designing your kitchen.
In a small kitchen space is going to be quite limited, so the first thing you want to do is go through every item that is currently in your kitchen — taking up space — and put each into a category.
The first category is the junk, the items you never actually use. If you’ve barely used it in the last 5 years, you’ll barely use it in the next five years, so get rid of it. Put the real junk in the bin and give anything that could be used by someone else to a charity shop. Less clutter for you and a good deed done, it’s a win-win!
Next, you’re going to collect all the things that don’t really need to be in the kitchen and find new homes for them around the house.
Finally, organise what’s left according to how often it gets used. Everyday items should be stored in easy to reach places, whereas the lesser-used stuff can afford to go up into higher storage space.
Ok, now that you’ve got a firm idea of what you need to fit in your kitchen, you’re better equipped to plan exactly what storage space you need.
Having carried out the above process, you’ll now be aware of the incredible amount of stuff that’s needed in the kitchen. For that reason, storage space is such an important factor when organising a small kitchen.
Maybe, having had a clear out, you find you now actually have enough storage space. However, if you don’t, it’s time to consider several nifty tricks to turn dead space into useful storage.
Purely because of the way they’re designed, corner cabinets are particularly bad for wasting space. That is why you should definitely consider fitting your corner cabinets with pull out drawers. These incredible space-saving devices use special hinges or rollers to open right out into the room, not only saving space but making it far easier to hunt for that jar of parsley you know is in there somewhere!
If you’re replacing your old kitchen, cabinets with racks of shelving on the inside of the door are a great option for giving you that extra cupboard space.
For a more radical overhaul, consider fitting full-height cabinets. Usually, kitchens have a few feet of wall above the uppermost cabinets, but if you're short on storage, you can’t afford this redundant space. Full height cabinets will provide much more storage space.
Another creative trick for making the most of narrow areas that would otherwise be wasted is installing a tall, slim pull-out pantry. You can then fill this up with all your cans, condiments, and containers of dried goods.
Finally, double drawers can be an excellent way too, you guessed it, double the storage space of each drawer.
Next up, magnets. Magnets? Indeed, magnetic storage solutions can turn wasted space on your kitchen walls into easily accessible storage areas. Think about it. Much of the space on the walls above your worktops aren’t actually used for anything. By fitting magnetic strips or rails along the wall, you can hang knives, ladles, spatulas and more. All your frequently used utensils are within easy reach, and you could save an entire drawer's worth of space!
For heavier items, magnets won’t quite cut it, but sturdy wall-mounted rails can be a neat way to hang your pots and pans, freeing up even more cupboard space.
Some good old-fashioned shelving can provide loads of extra room to keep those miscellaneous items. If your space permits, you can even turn entire walls into shelving space. This open look provides extra storage while doubling as an attractive feature for your kitchen.
Finally, while shelves are useful, they can result in wasted space. An alternative option is flexible wire shelving, which can be adapted to suit your exact storage requirements, which may change over time.
Ideas so far have mostly focussed on relatively minor tweaks. This section will look at more substantial changes to save you space.
Adding an island to a small kitchen may seem mad at first, but they can be a handy way to add a massive amount of both storage and worktop space, not to mention doubling as a cool breakfast bar.
It’s best to go for an option that has drawer space at the top, and a larger storage area underneath. You can also add some inventive storage space that hangs from the ceiling above the island and near the wall, perhaps for cutlery and condiments for easy reach at mealtimes.
Extractor fans take up a considerable amount of room in a kitchen, and quite frankly, most of them are an eyesore. A very sleek solution is to integrate the extractor fan component within the hob itself, removing the need for a cumbersome overhead extractor unit altogether.
And while we’re getting rid of things, perhaps it’s time to consider if you could perhaps do without your dishwasher. This will not only save you a lot of space but also reduce your energy use and electricity bills. A win-win-win!
Finally, no-one is suggesting you do without your washing machine; however, you may find that there are alternative places throughout your home that it could live. For example, spare space under the stairs or in the bathroom might be perfectly suitable and will free up considerable room in your kitchen. Some washing machines come with a dryer function as well, which may be an option to get rid of your stand-alone tumble-dryer.
Now that we’ve covered all the practical space-saving tips, it’s time to think through how to style your kitchen so that it looks as large as possible. Let’s start from the ground up.
If you want to make a small floor space look bigger, go for the WOW factor. You don’t have to go mad with a technicolour pattern with a thousand shapes. Rather, a simple yet striking pattern can turn a potentially negative feature into a positive, exciting aspect of your kitchen.
The number one rule in small kitchens is going for a light, neutral colour scheme. That doesn’t mean you're restricted to a whitewash, there are hundreds of light shades of colour, from gentle greens to light lilacs, that will work just as well. This will brighten the room up and make it feel bigger by reflecting the light around the room.
A sneaky way to give the impression of more space is to paint your walls the same colour as your kitchen cabinets. This will create the illusion your cabinets are fading into the background of the walls, again making your kitchen feel roomier.
Make sure you have plenty of nice bright lights throughout your kitchen. All the extra light will bounce around and create the impression of more space. If you can’t add more wired lighting just now, tabletop or standing lamps are a great alternative.
The final say
There you have it, all the best tips and tricks for making the most of your small kitchen. We hope you’ve found this guide really useful and wish you luck transforming your kitchen!