Designing for a small kitchen space

Reflective surfaces can distribute light around the available space, creating the illusion of a larger area

Reflective surfaces can distribute light around the available space, creating the illusion of a larger area

See the light

Ingenious use of light can make a small kitchen seem more spacious than it really is. Here are a few tips for making the most of light in your kitchen:

  • Consider a high-gloss finish for your kitchen cabinets. Reflective surfaces will bounce the light around, creating the illusion of space.
  • Make the most of natural light by keeping windows, skylights and glass doors clean and uncluttered.
  • Consider how you will use built-in lighting solutions such as over-counter spotlights, pendant lighting and shelving uplighters to effectively illuminate your kitchen.

Make it – or fake it!

If you have the resources available you could consider integrating your kitchen into your living area, creating an inviting open-plan space which will really put your kitchen at the heart of your home. The kitchen can still be kept separate from other areas through the use of islands and peninsulas, but the space will feel much more expansive.

If significant structural changes to your home space are not something you want to invest in right now, you can always do it with mirrors! Mirrored splashbacks and polished chrome appliances are an ideal way to create the impression of a larger space through reflection.

An open-plan kitchen can create a social space, segmented using islands and peninsulas

An open-plan kitchen can create a social space, segmented using islands and peninsulas

Colour me white

White or neutral tones can add depth to a limited space, and are a great design choice too – they can be paired with wood worktops for a warm, intimate feel; matched with adventurous, vibrant accessories for a high-contrast look, or partnered with immaculate dark worktops for a sleek, minimalist style.

Storage that fits

Storage can be a big problem in a compact kitchen, especially for families and larger households. Following these tips will help you get the most out of your storage space:

  • Consider open shelving instead of cabinets to display attractive kitchenware.
  • Fit cabinets flush to the ceiling.
  • Get higher units – the standard height for kitchen units is 720mm but some retailers provide these up to 900mm high. However, make sure you are comfortable preparing food at the height you choose.
  • Store food in decorative containers – these both add interest to your kitchen design and free up valuable cupboard space.
  • Consider storing some items in other rooms in your home – if you have pretty kitchenware that is rarely required, it could make an attractive ornament for a living area when not in use.

    Utensil rails can turn even empty wall space into storage

    Utensil rails can turn even empty wall space into storage

There are also a range of nifty design featureswhich can help keep your kitchen free of clutter, including:

Nifty storage devices like tandem doors and carousels help make the most of space

Nifty storage devices like tandem doors and carousels help make the most of space

Slim and sexy

If space is very limited, consider going slimline with appliances and islands. Reduced-depth cabinets can also generate more space, although this will limit the available storage space.

Choosing your appliances

Integrated appliances will save valuable space, so choose these over freestanding ones if you can. Combined appliances like combi-microwaves and fridge-freezers can also limit the number of appliances you need in your kitchen. As mentioned above, slimline versions of appliances such as dishwashers can help you squeeze more functionality into your compact kitchen.

Design choices

When planning a new kitchen for a small space, consider space-maximising design options early on in the process. For example:

  • Large-format floor tiles can give the impression of a larger space.
  • Handleless cabinets will prevent clothes catching if there is a limited area in which to move around.
  • Placing the fridge, sink and cooker in a triangle formation will help ease of movement.
  • As mentioned above, choose white and neutral colours where possible, ideally in a reflective high-gloss finish.
White and neutral colours suggest a light, airy space

White and neutral colours suggest a light, airy space

Again, a good kitchen consultant will be able to talk through all these options with you during your initial design appointment.

Further information

The following posts from our blog provide further information on some of the topics covered here:

  • Top 10 tips for small kitchens
  • Does size matter? …with Fitted Appliances
  • Open Plan Kitchen Tips
  • Knocking down walls to extend your kitchen
  • Handleless kitchens, doors and units
  • Kitchen Island Ideas and Peninsula Tips