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You can still be a master baker or chef in a little space. Small kitchens just need some clever design ideas to make them practical and stylish
Our small kitchen ideas are perfect for those not blessed with a large and sociable kitchen-diner. Sure, you might not have space for a kitchen island, range cooker and dining table to cram guests around. But diminutive doesn’t have to mean drab. There’s a wealth of clever ways to make your kitchen scheme feel spacious…
We’ve got a whole section of kitchen ideas ready to help kick-start your project
Storage is one of the most important elements in a small kitchen. By maximising every spare inch, reorganising areas that don’t work as hard as they should and adding extra solutions where necessary, you can turn a tiny room into a Tardis.
Start by thinking about how you use your kitchen and where everything needs to be as this will help you decide what sort of storage you require. For example, it’s best to store items by how often they’re used, so make sure that everyday dishes are on an easy-to-reach lower shelf with special-occasion pieces higher up.
Small kitchen ideas
1. Invest in flexible storage
In a small kitchen you need to think creatively when it comes to storage. Instead of investing in ordinary shelves, this wire panel shelving from string maximises storage by adapting to your kitchen’s needs. Add in or take away shelves, hang glasses upside down and even introduce a wine rack. When space is at a premium you need to make sure every inch counts.
2. Distract the eye with bold flooring
In a small kitchen go all-out with bold tiling. A strong pattern on the floor distracts the eye and makes the room feel bigger. Every inch of this kitchen has been designed to make the most of the small space from the slimline appliances to the hanging pot plant. Hanging the copper planter is a great way to add some life and decoration in the kitchen with out cluttering work surfaces.
3. Swap a table for a kitchen island
Adding a kitchen island might sound like a terrible idea in a small kitchen. However in a long thin kitchen it is the perfect way to add in extra storage and surface space, whilst keeping the kitchen a sociable space. Choose an island like the one above with plenty of storage space underneath for stowing away vegetables and linens. A slight overhang from the counter top ensure than the four bar stools fit easily under the island, avoiding any potential trip hazards.
4. Paint kitchen cupboards to match the walls
Create the illusion of more space in a small kitchen by painting the cupboards in the same colour as the walls. This works really with a white or grey colour scheme, creating a light and airy space where the units blend into the kitchen walls. In this kitchen every spare inch of space is crammed with storage but a uniform wash of white paint keeps the space looking neat and spacious.
5. Turn an awkward corner into clever storage
A small kitchen requires you making use of every inch of storage space you have. If you have a small boxy kitchen, rather than cramming all your pots and pans into a deep cupboard that is going to become a nightmare when you need to find a particular frying pan, consider swapping a cupboard for a drawer. This clever pullout drawer maximises space and makes finding your favourite frying pan easy-peasy.
6. Consider compact containers
Put a windowsill, shelf or recess to work by adding a selection of strong baskets and use to stow bottles, packets or even fresh herbs in pots. Baskets are also a great way to store condiments, meaning you can take them all to the dining table in one trip.
7. Find a new home for the washing machine
You may think the kitchen is the obvious place to put a washing machine. But in continental Europe, you’re more likely to find it in a bathroom. So if you’re stuck for space, it might be worth relocating your laundry appliances elsewhere. If your bathroom is just as teeny, you might be able to squeeze it in a cupboard under the stairs.
Alternatively, if you have a separate washer and dryer, you consider keeping them in the kitchen but stacking them one on top of the other in a old larder cupboard. It hides them out of sight, saves space and helps streamline laundry days.
8. Supersize the sink
Your small kitchen might not have space for a dishwasher, so it’s worth finding room for a double sink. Keep one bowl for washing and one bowl for dirty dishes. That way you’ll have somewhere to stack mucky prep kit and plates out of sight, and without cluttering up the work surface.
9. Turn every corner into a storage space
Identify places where there’s wasted space, such as the gaps between shelves, at the back of cupboards, below the sink, unused corners and windowsills. Stack wherever you can and have a clear out of kitchenware that’s infrequently used or only has one purpose, so you have less to store.
Think also about relocating items that aren’t in everyday use, but you don’t want to throw out, to elsewhere in your home. Next, think about the space on your walls and doors – try adding a utensil rail or magnetic knife board, hooks on the sides of your cupboards or racks hung over a door. Extra shelves in corners or across alcoves will also come in handy.
10. Add storage helpers
Your cupboards and drawers are your biggest storage resource but it’s likely that they’re not being used fully. Internal storage solutions will make the most of them, so think about retrofitting wire racks that pull out of corners or slim cupboards, some plinth drawers, or using drawer dividers for utensils, spices, pans or plates.
Boost your storage further with a mobile solution, such as a trolley or butcher’s block on castors, or think about popping baskets or containers on top of your wall cupboards – just keep a sturdy stool nearby so you can reach them.
11. Clear away the clutter in small kitchens
Wall cabinets can really encroach on space, so consider doing away with yours. Open shelving can make a huge impact in a small kitchen, creating an open and airy feel, as long as you limit the amount of shelves you use, and what you keep on them.
12. Tidy your worksurface
If there are too many items cluttering up the worktops, consider clever solutions like wall-mounted magnetic knife strips, rails to hang utensils, pans, mugs, spice jars and cutlery bins. Also think about what you need to have to hand every day, such as chopping boards, wooden spoons, washing-up liquid, and what can be stored away until needed.
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13. Keep your kitchen scheme simple
Nothing makes a room seem larger like simple white walls, so why not take it further with sleek, contemporary details that open up the space. Light, reflective materials and minimal designs are your friends in a small kitchen, so consider white or frosted glass cabinet doors, white stone or composite, or stainless-steel worktops, and white splashback tiling.
14. Look to portable storage
Consider a kitchen trolley on casters, which provides an additional prep surface when you need it, tucks away when you don’t and also offers extra storage for cookery books, pots and pans. You can even use it as a handy food and drinks trolley when you have guests.
15. Don’t let space go to waste
Not every kitchen will have room, but if your heart is set on having an island or peninsula, consider a slimline design. The central workstation shown here may be small, but it provides extra storage space and a useful worktop for food preparation.
16. Neaten up a compact kitchen
Not every home is blessed with a vast open-plan kitchen but, if your room is on the small side, there’s plenty to feel positive about. For a start, it’s easy to keep everything to hand, and you’ll find a wealth of storage ideas to get the very best out of your space. To avoid cluttering the worktops, plenty of cupboards have been incorporated into this kitchen design.
Opt for handleless designs for a sleek, steamlined appearance. Don’t overdo the materials in a small space. This kitchen features a maximum of three different materials, all in muted colourways.
17. Install floor-to-ceiling cabinetry
Think vertically by continuing your cabinets up to the ceiling but plan carefully to ensure the room feels as open as possible. Store less frequently used items in high cupboards. Add a breakfast bar if you can – the amount of storage and workspace it provides makes great use of the footprint and will ensure your kitchen is more sociable.
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Will you be using any of these small kitchen ideas to create your dream space?