Clever kitchen designs can work wonders for tricky spaces. Make the most of every inch of your kitchen with the these clever ideas for navigating an awkward space.
Don’t let a compact room be a barrier to creating your dream scheme we’ve got all the tips, tricks and expert advice you’ll need. From space-saving storage ideas to freestanding appliances and floating shelves, we show you how to get the best out of any nook and cranny in the kitchen.
Pretty up a compact space with well-chosen accessories that complement the scheme. Use contrasting materials for a striking look that is sure to turn heads. Be adaptable with your design to create a fun, inspirational layout. When space is at a premium, make use of stylish freestanding furniture. They can be moved in, around and out when needed, making for maximum versatility. Also, opt for a multifunctional worktop that can double-up as a breakfast bar or prep surface. Tuck stools neatly underneath when not in use to free up floor space. Think about handleless designs for a fuss-free family kitchen. Integrate your appliances behind cupboard doors to achieve a non-kitchen feel in an open-plan space.
If your kitchen is an open-plan space that incorporates the living room, choose kitchen units in a style that can be carried through to the adjoining space seamlessly. White glossy and pale-wood designs work really well, as there is a wide range of white and wooden living room furniture available that will complement this look. Consider handleless cabinets to blur the line between the busy, working kitchen and relaxing living area.
Need all the storage space you can get? Why not fix a wall rack to a tall unit at the end of a run? It's a great way to make use of what would otherwise be wasted space and will also keep smaller kitchen essentals, such as spice jars, from getting lost at the back of a large cupboard. Check out local car-boot sales and eBay for affordable secondhand examples and paint in a contrasting colour to your units for added interest.
Similar wall rack
Cabinets come in all shapes and sizes, so make sure you use every inch of space in your kitchen after all, you can never have enough storage! Slimline units are very handy for storing tall bottles and are often found at the end of a run of units next to an appliance. So, take a look at your kitchen and see if you can squeeze in a narrow cabinet to add extra storage. Every little helps!
Similar slimline unit
Alcoves can make a great feature in a kitchen, so if you have one in yours, look at it not as an awkward shape but as an opportunity to create a stunning focal point. A range cooker looks fab slotted into an alcove. You could try adding a large shelving unit for storing dry ingredients and pots and pans popping it in an alcove means it won't encroach on your kitchen. Or, for a more permanent option, add as many chunky wooden shelves as you need to store your kitchen essentials.
Similar range cooker
One of the best ways to stop a compact kitchen becoming cluttered is to keep worktops and the floor as clear as possible. Making a cabinet with a built-in wine rack a great choice and is a super-smart look that works in any style of kitchen. Pop your wine glasses and tumblers inside a glazed unit to show them off in style and keep everything you need for a drop of your favourite tipple in one place.
Similar unit with wine rack
Open-plan kitchens make great sociable spaces, but it can be hard to hide all the clutter that's created when cooking from guests. A simple solution is to add a raised edge to the kitchen island or peninsula unit that faces your dining table to keep mess out of sight. This handy ledge will also offer an extra surface to pop dishes that are ready to be served.
Similar kitchen units
If space is lacking in your kitchen, go up, not out, by stacking your laundry appliances. If your washing machine and tumble dryer match, they don't necessarily need to be hidden behind a cupboard door as they'll make quite a striking feature in their own right. If not, it's best to keep your kitchen looking sleek by concealing them behind a door. This will also help reduce noise, too. Investing in a freestanding fridge-freezer is a wise move, too, as you can always add an extra cupboard to a run of units if you need more storage space, and pop the fridge-freezer elsewhere.
Fitting curved units at the end of a run or on an island gives a sleek look and is especially suited to open-plan layouts to make the transition between kitchen and living or dining area flow better. They're also a very good option if space is tight in your kitchen, as they encroach less on walkways. And from a safety perspective, young children are less likely to hurt themselves on corners and straight edges.
Similar curved kitchen units
Don't be deterred by sloping ceilings or angled walls in your kitchen the space underneath could be the perfect spot for an extra run of worktop or even your sink or oven. If you do intend to use the area for food prep, cooking or washing-up, make sure you have enough head room to work comfortably. If not, consider using this nook solely for storage either put up shelves or go for a bespoke larder-style cupboard with doors to get the most out of the space.
Similar double oven
Wall space is your friend in a compact or awkward-shaped kitchen. Fitting too may wall units can make the space feel closed in and cluttered, so choose open shelving instead to offer additional storage that won't feel oppressive. Floating shelves are also a good bet if you want to make use of a smaller section of wall that won't accommodate a standard-sized cabinet.