Not blessed with a big kitchen? Choose the right gadgets and accessories, and you could claw back a surprising amount of space
Big might be beautiful, but there’s something hugely satisfying about getting the most out of a small kitchen. That’s why we will always celebrate good kitchen space savers. Take this compact kitchen. In a run of units less than three metres wide, there’s every mod con imaginable – including a dishwasher, sink, hob and heating.
Pretty impressive, eh? And that’s just the start. Read on and discover more tricks and tips that will help you plan your kitchen efficiently, and without having to compromise on features. You’ll be amazed at what you can squeeze in!
Need more big ideas for a tiny room? Read: Small kitchen ideas
Keep cooking compact on a domino hob
Domino hobs are ideal for compact spaces or island units where a full-size hob is not practical. You can choose from a large gas wok burner or two smaller gas burners, a flexible electric induction zone that can handle up to a couple of pans at a time, or a double electric ceramic hob.
Barbecue grills, griddle plates, steamers and even deep fat fryers are other, more creative, options, but if you’re short on space you’ll probably want to stick with standard gas, ceramic or induction rings.
Turn your sink into a workstation
Whether or not you decide to fit a dishwasher, you’ll need a sink for soaking, straining and rinsing. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice workspace. Buy a modular sink with added accessories, and suddenly, a nuisance hole in your worktop becomes the most useful area in your kitchen.
You could fit a chopping board or draining rack over the top, or slot in a colander for straining vegetables. Some systems even offer an ice bucket for chilling drinks – fill it with ice, add a bottle of fizz, and toast an excellent design decision.
Fit a steaming water tap and ditch the kettle
Why have a kettle hogging precious space on the worktop, when you could switch out your mixer tap for one that also dispenses boiling water? An all-in-one design will typically deliver steaming, hot and cold water from one spout, and in some cases, filtered or even sparkling cold water, too.
Most can be easily retrofitted into your sink or worktop in place of the existing tap. However, you’ll need to find space in the cupboard beneath for a water tank. These range in size between two and five litres, but if you’re really short on space, Franke’s Minerva 3-in-1 tap has a tank designed to sit neatly behind a standard 150mm cabinet plinth.
Style wise, there’s lots of choice, too. InSinkErator’s contemporary 3IN1 tap (above) is available in seven finishes, including copper and black, and Perrin & Rowe is the go-to brand for traditional steaming water taps.
Clean up with a dinky dishwasher
If you’ve ever had a dishwasher, you probably won’t ever want to be without one. And if you haven’t, trust us, the time and arguments it saves are reason enough to squeeze one in. No matter how small your kitchen.
Small, six-place-setting freestanding tabletop dishwashers can help keep the tiniest kitchen organized. Pull-out dishdrawers like the one above are pricey, but will give your kitchen added wow factor. Or you could look to manufacturers like Neff, who offer compact 45cm tall dishwashers that can be built in seamlessly next to your oven.
Just remember, if you do choose a super-compact dishwasher, you will still need to connect it to a water supply and waste as you would a full-size design.
Clear the air with a unobtrusive extractor
You could try to do without an extractor in a small kitchen, but it’s not a good idea. With nothing to clean the air of grease and grime, both will build up on shelves and above units. And cooking smells will quickly permeate soft furnishings like blinds.
Besides, it’s easy enough to squeeze one in. From budget options from Ikea to top-of-the-range hoods by Miele, you’ll find neat recirculating cooker hoods no wider than your wall units, slim enough to fit cabinets above or even to use as a shelf.
You’ll need to spend money to get something powerful, but in a small space, most models will be more than up to the job.
Free up a wall with plinth heaters
Radiators keep you cosy, but they also have a habit of hogging wall space. Free up that space by replacing then with electric heaters that sit in the dead area under your base unit.
Just one of these electric fan-assisted heaters should be able to warm up a small kitchen in 10 minutes. They’re easy to install into a standard electrical system and run quietly, too.
Buy Now: Electric plinth heater, £126, Wickes
Avoid trailing wires with a charging pad
How often have you gone to use the toaster or microwave only to find the plug has been pulled in favour of a charging phone or tablet? Or perhaps you’re just sick of chargers and wires strewn over the worktop. Install a charging pad, and you’ll free up plug space, and maybe even cut down the number of sockets you need.
Pads, like this one from Wickes, are an affordable option. Or, if you’d prefer something seamless, Corian can integrate wireless charging into its composite worktops.
Fit storage on the inside of doors
The key to successful planning in a small kitchen is to utilise every last surface and space. One way to do this is to attach storage for bottles and jars to the inside of your cupboard doors – or even to the back of the kitchen door itself.
Install a pull-out worktop
Several kitchen companies now offer genius solutions like these from Magnet – pull-out and fold-down worktops.
The thing we love about Magnet’s Worktop Plus solution (above left) is that you sacrifice practically zero storage space. The entire unit beneath still functions perfectly well as a cupboard.
If you only have a shallow space to play with, the Magnet Table Plus (right) folds down from a wall-mounted cabinet, revealing open shelving for glasses and crockery. So simple, yet so effective.
So there you have it – proof that a small kitchen can still be big on functionality, whatever your budget.