As a London-based kitchen company, we have a great deal of experience in designing kitchens for homes where space is limited. We know that it is really important to make the most of all available room space, yet still achieve a design equal in looks and functionality. And through careful planning, along with some tried and tested techniques, it is certainly possible to create stunning designs for small, restricted or awkward room spaces. If currently thinking about redesigning your small kitchen space, here are some of the practices frequently used to help achieve this:-
1) Maximise your worktop
One of the most valuable elements within a kitchen is the worktop, so it is important to include enough of it. More specifically this means uninterrupted worktop, which is 1) more practical for preparing and cooking food, and 2) makes a small kitchen space look bigger. If usable worktop space is limited, there are a number of ‘add-on’ worktop options available. Aside from a raised breakfast bar, you could include worktop extensions that appear only when needed such as pop-up table, slide out table, or even a worktop sink infill which is the shape of your sink, allowing you to work over the top of it.
2) Don’t block your windows
An effective yet simple way of making your small kitchen space feel bigger is to avoid blocking any windows. Your windows are a natural light source, and the more light you can allow into a room, the bigger and brighter it will feel. In small kitchens where natural light is limited it is often a good idea to locate the hardworking sink under a window, making for a comfortable workspace for prepping food or tidying up. If possible to add additional glazing such as skylights or glass bi-fold doors, this is also an effective means of making a small kitchen space feel bigger and brighter.
3) Choose Handleless or slimline handles
The handleless kitchens style is hugely popular for its sleek, clean look. But it is also a great choice for small kitchens because the lack of handles mean the cabinetry takes up less space. There Is more room for movement, and the chance of snagging clothing is completely eliminated. However, if the handleless style isn’t for you, then handles can still work too, but it is better to select a neat and unobtrusive handle that won’t take up too much space and impede use of your kitchen.
4) Opt for space maximising appliances
Within any kitchen, the choice of appliances is a decision based on personal preference, lifestyle and individual requirement. But of course, your appliances must also physically fit within the space. To ensure this is possible for the appliances you want, there are many compact versions available, including slim-line dishwashers and ovens. Alternatively you can choose multi-functional appliances such as a combination oven with a microwave, or steam cooking function; a washer/dryer and a fridge with freezer compartment. Similarly boiling water taps accommodate modern busy lifestyles whilst also eliminating the need for a kettle. Another example of an appliance specifically designed for a small kitchen space is the hugely popular Neff Slide and Hide oven; this has a door which retracts on opening, ensuring valuable kitchen space is preserved during cooking.
5) Choose drawers over cupboards
Whilst they can prove more expensive, they are worth it in the long-run as choosing drawers rather than cupboards within a kitchen generates more space for storage. Drawers are also more practical as they make all of your kitchenware easier to reach and lift out.
6) Extra-height ceiling units
If you need added storage then wall units which reach to the ceiling are a great solution and can create the feel of extra height within your room. Invest in a small foldaway stool so you can easily reach, and this space is useful for storing goods which are not often needed or used. The other benefit of wall units that reach to the ceiling is they fill the gap between the top of your units and the ceiling; which means you don’t have to clean what is otherwise a bit of a dust trap.
7) Use your plinth as additional storage space
Kitchen plinth offers another site in your kitchen where you can include additional storage space, in the form of subtle but useful plinth drawers. These are also handy for items that you would prefer not to mix with your other kitchenware, such as cleaning cloths, or even pet food.
8) Choose light-coloured cabinetry
Light coloured kitchen doors and worktops are the ideal choice for a small kitchen space as they will make a room feel larger. Light colours in a gloss finish will enhance this effect even further as gloss doors reflect light. On the other hand, without careful planning dark kitchen tones can make a space feel dark and enclosed. If you do want to include dark colours in a small kitchen space then you can achieve this successfully through a two tone design, incorporating dark toned base units but with light toned units at eye level.
9) Make the most of open space
Often small kitchen areas feature within open plan kitchen and living room arrangements (or else there is potential to make a room open plan). The advantage of an open plan setting is you can often extend the kitchen into the additional space, as long as the increased footprint adds value. For example, in the image below there was sufficient space for a neat L-shape or U shaped kitchen design, but the addition of the peninsula made the kitchen more multi-functional, including sociable seating space across the back of it. It shows when planning a kitchen for an open plan space it pays to consider the room as a whole, and not just the immediately apparent ‘kitchen area.’
10) Finally, Keep it simple and don’t overfill the space
Just because your kitchen is small, doesn’t mean you will have less to fill it with compared with a larger kitchen…but it does mean you have to be more careful in organising your space so everything will fit. And tempting as it may be to fill every nook, cranny and spare bit of wall with cupboards and shelves, it is better to leave some breathing space. If you don’t, your kitchen will still appear cluttered, crowded and small. Clever storage options such as those already mentioned can help, along with other integrated solutions such as Le mans corner units, pop up sockets, drawer inserts and built-in spice racks. Careful inclusion of such options will enable suitable storage of all your goods, make the space look bigger, and make it easy to maintain a clutter free kitchen look long-term.
Get professional advice for a small kitchen space
When considering a kitchen redesign it pays to think beyond what’s immediately obvious, and one of the best sources of help you can use for this is a professional kitchen designer. Not only can they offer you a fresh perspective on your room space, but a good designer will also have the experience and know-how to advise what is and isn’t possible within your intended space, no matter how big or small.
Here’s some further posts you might find helpful:
- Small kitchen design: Can dark kitchen colours work for small kitchens?
- How does light affect kitchen colour schemes?
- Understanding kitchen lighting options…Don’t be left in the dark!
- Planning solutions for awkward kitchen spaces (including kitchen pillars)
- Small White Kitchen ….15 Big Ideas!