1) Plan your small kitchen design to suit your lifestyle
At the early stages of considering a new kitchen it is recommended that you take a good look at your existing kitchen and reflect on how you use it, as much as how you would like to use it? Regardless of size any new kitchen should be planned to suit you as an individual and to best suits your personal needs and lifestyle. For example, the needs of a frequent and adventurous cook would differ from someone who favours fast & undemanding cooking. This difference in personality and lifestyle would be reflected in the respective designs. A microwave and/or dishwasher might be an absolute necessity for some people whereas others have never felt the need for one so would prefer to use the space these appliances would take up in an entirely different way. The more you contemplate your own preferences and everyday routines the more able a designer will be to affect a kitchen design that functions perfectly to accommodate these.
2) Choose Kitchen colours to suit a small kitchen design
Choice of colour has a great effect on how big or small a kitchen feels so it is important to get this right! Any designer worth their salt would be well aware of this and should recommend suitable colours for a small kitchen design to achieve an impression of a larger room. A general rule of thumb is that the lighter the colour the bigger the room will feel. Similarly gloss options enhance a feeling of space as they reflect rather than absorb light (which darker, matt colours tend to) and this reflection draws the eyes upwards. White, gloss paint is probably the best option for a small kitchen. Furthemore white gloss paint on the ceiling is an effective technique as, like the units, it reflects light back across the kitchen. Cabinets to match the colour of the walls further enlarge a space within a small kitchen and done correctly unify the room, as opposed to making it feel bland or stark. In contrast, accents of bold colour, whether block or fragmented, can work well against white for a visually pleasing effect whilst not confining the room.
3) Use both Natural and Artificial lighting within a small kitchen design
Where possible it is advisable to make use of daylight and saturate a kitchen with as much natural light as possible as it will reflect back off your kitchen cabinets and surfaces. This will make your kitchen seem both larger and brighter. Blocking windows should be avoided as it restricts the amount of light that can flood in. For the same reasons a window blind may suit better than curtains as they allow more light. Where possible, glazing the ceiling is also brilliant for this and especially within a small kitchen design.
Maximum exposure to natural light may be restricted but can be well substituted through the use of artificial lighting. It is important to use an appropriate number of lights in suitable colours and locate them so that they enhance your kitchen rather than overpower it.
Incandescent lights are those with a more yellowish tone and these work well as ceiling spot lights directed at the cabinets beneath. They also work well on the underside of the top cabinets so that the spotlights shine down onto the work surfaces below.
White spotlights work well within glass cabinets as the light bounces off the glass casting shadows and in so doing generate a feeling of increased movement and space. Furthermore base cabinets and plinth can also feature lights. These reflect off a tiled floor and particularly for the latter, coloured options can create a very modern and stylish feel.
4) Reduce kitchen clutter within a small kitchen design
Similar to the effect of overfilling glass cabinets, there is nothing that will make a kitchen feel smaller than crowding it with personal belongings and household paraphernalia! It is advisable to have a good spring clean ahead of your new kitchen to rid yourself of household items which are not needed but which take up space. Following this try to maintain a clearer and tidier space within your new kitchen. However if you are a naturally untidy person and know this may be a struggle then factor this in during your planning stage and consider incorporating more storage options as a solution.
In terms of reducing clutter it is advisable to avoid over-elaborate or ‘busy’ detail within the design itself such as ornamental cornices, or overly-decorative handles. Within a small kitchen design handles can quickly appear too numerous. Alternatively a style such as the handless kitchen design works much better as its smooth and clean lines look extremely sophisticated but without diminishing from the spatial feel of the kitchen.
5) Is open plan an option?
This would allow for a much bigger kitchen, or even give you room to incorporate an island or peninsula. Alternatively a low half wall, or a hatch built above counter level into a kitchen wall that separates a kitchen and dining room would have the same effect of opening the space up. This has the potential to let light through from additional sources in the next room. It expands the space and in practical terms makes cooking a much more sociable experience. For example, if your kitchen is too small for people to gather in whilst you are preparing a meal, then you are still able to carry on a conversation and be included in what is happening in the next room via the open space.
Whilst they work well it is strongly advisable to check planning restrictions or fire regulations in advance of undertaking any structural works.