How to make a small kitchen look luxurious - without breaking the bank

Luxury isn't synonymous with large, after all

White shaker kitchen with open shelving.
(Image credit: Harvey Jones X Swoon)

A high-end kitchen is high on the wishlist for many homeowner's dream projects, but when faced with both a tight budget and a compact space, how can you achieve a premium look? Luckily, design experts have guided us on how to make a small kitchen look luxurious, so you can enjoy your cooking space no matter the size. 

Designing a small kitchen is all about being super savvy with what stays and what goes. An island might be out of the question for now, but you can get creative with the space to include luxe touches through materials and tech so that things feel sleek and on-trend. 

So let's find out what  the must-have features for a premium small kitchen really are...

How to make a small kitchen look luxurious

Knowing how to design a kitchen can be a challenge, especially in a smaller space where you can't include everything on your wishlist. 

'Lack of space does not mean luxury isn't suitable,' says Jack Winfield, sales designer at Tom Howley Solihull.  

'We do many large kitchen spaces with islands (or multiple islands!), but the key thing not to be overlooked, whatever the size, is quality. Luxury is about investing in design that will stand the test of time and the everyday stresses we put our kitchens through.'

1. Decadent materials

Beige ribbed kitchen cabinets with white marble backsplash and peach walls.

(Image credit: Harvey Jones / Swoon)

A small kitchen is the ultimate opportunity for using more premium materials on your worktops and backsplash as you won't need as much of it, thus saving you money. 

One of the biggest kitchen trends of 2024 is continuing your worktop material onto the backsplash for a continuous look. Complete with open shelving where the backsplash ends and your kitchen will look super luxe. 

'Focus on luxurious materials, high-quality finishes, and minimalist yet timeless pieces to offer a subtle high-end look and feel,' recommends Mike Whitfield, interiors expert at Lusso

'Marble, in particular, embodies opulence, which is why it’s found in some of the world’s most lavish hotels and resorts. As a timeless and incredibly durable material, this is the perfect choice for a kitchen which will instantly elevate the luxe feel of the space.'

2. Brass hardware

Davonport black shaker kitchen with checked floor

(Image credit: Davonport)

Premium features rooted in traditional design are the key to making a small kitchen feel high-end. One affordable way to achieve this is through brass kitchen hardware. It's reminiscent of Victorian design and will age beautifully, while upgrading the appearance of your cabinets. 

'Another area to prioritise is your hardware,' Mike adds. 'Bring in a touch of elegance and sophistication by opting for cabinet pull handles, kitchen taps, and finishes in beautiful brushed gold or aged bronze.'

3. Choose a splurge piece of tech

Caesarstone 506 Mirabel

(Image credit: Caesarstone)

A small kitchen is unlikely to have room for multiple built-in ovens and wishlist level smart tech, so we recommend thinking about your lifestyle and choosing one feature to take your space up a notch. 

Whether you're a tea fiend who would use a hot water tap everyday or you want a slimline wine fridge to wow guests, splurging on a little luxury is still possible in a more compact kitchen. Whatever piece of tech you have your eye on, focus on a design with minimal fuss so that the room looks as sleek as possible. 

4. Go for bespoke storage

Sage green kitchen with gold handles and fluted wall cabinet

(Image credit: Future/Caroline Mardon)

If you want to make the most out of your small kitchen, an off-the-shelf design isn't going to do it justice. Bespoke kitchen storage ideas that maximise the available space will make it a joy to cook in and feel much more luxurious. 

Fluted glass cabinets are a chic way to add a touch of glamour while also adding necessary storage for glassware and cookbooks. The glass front will bounce light around a room too so you don't need to worry about the small space feeling enclosed. 

'In small spaces it is key to maximise storage with bespoke furniture made to fit the unique environment so that no millimetre wasted,' advises Jack from Tom Howley. 'Think apartments in regency properties with tall ceilings or awkward niches. Bespoke solutions can be designed to suit and fit these perfectly.'

5. Choose a neutral palette

White shaker kitchen with open shelving.

(Image credit: Future PLC/Anna Stathaki)

Neutrals? For a quiet luxury look? Not so groundbreaking, but classics remain popular for a reason. 

When designing a luxurious small kitchen, you'll want to balance decadent features with a pared-back aesthetic that doesn't make the room feel cluttered. A neutral palette is the perfect antidote for this as it will add light to the look and stand the test of time. 

'There are a plethora of smart ways to make your kitchen feel spacious,' adds kitchen expert Tom Howley. 'To keep an open feel, choose light paint colours and reflective materials such as bright white quartz or a mirrored splashback.'

Which luxurious feature caught your eye?

Holly Cockburn
Content Editor

After starting out her journey at Future as a Features Editor on Top Ten Reviews, Holly is now a Content Editor at Ideal Home, writing about the best interior ideas and news. At Top Ten Reviews, she focussed on TikTok viral cleaning hacks as well as how to take care of investment purchases such as lawn mowers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Prior to this, Holly was apart of the editorial team at Howdens which sparked her interest in interior design, and more specifically, kitchens (Shaker is her favourite!).