Written by Hugh Metcalf

Small kitchen ideas: how to get the most out of your space

If you’re short on space to create your dream kitchen, take heed of these planning and design tips to ensure you’ve got room for everything you need. 

small wood and black kitchen design  - goodhomesmagazine.com

Image: B&Q 

Large, open-plan kitchens may be the flavour of the month, but they’re sadly not an option for every homeowner. 

However, no matter how small your kitchen space is, there’s still a way to create a style you love and maximise functionality. Try these top tips and get inspiration for how to get the most out of your compact kitchen. 

Create a social space 

small kitchen with peninsula and extra storage - goodhomesmagazine.com

Image: B&Q 

Hulking islands are the big trend right now to turn the kitchen into the hub of the home. If you don’t have room for one, you can still achieve a social space if you’re clever with your floorplan. 

A U-shape kitchen like the one above really limits the cook interacting with other people, as you’ve almost always got your back to them. However, the introduction of a small peninsula offers a place for family and friends to perch and also a great serving space for those ‘help-yourself’ dinners. 

This idea from B&Q is particularly clever as it has a slightly lowered height on the peninsula, still zoning off the kitchen, but stopping the space feeling too enclosed. 

Use visual tricks 

small apartment kitchen with pink and grey cabinets - goodhomesmagazine.com 

Image: Magnet Kitchens 

When you’re trying to make your space feel bigger, using optical illusions can be useful. For example, wall-mounted cabinetry is in your eyeline, so can make a kitchen feel more cramped, but removing it would take away too much valuable storage. By painting the top cupboards a light colour, as in this scheme from Magnet, will help to lighten the look of them. As an alternative, you could use dark cupboards on the wall, but paint the wall behind in a similar shade, helping them to fade into the background. 

Make the most of every inch

 Oxford slate kitchen from Benchmarx Kitchens with ceiling height cabinets

Image: Oxford slate grey kitchen, Benchmarx Kitchens 

In a small kitchen, every last bit of storage counts. Often, kitchen designers leave a gap above wall units, which can help a room feel more spacious as you can still see the full depth of the room. However, if you’re going to end up with pots, plates and potatoes spilling out of every cupboard, it’s a worthwhile trade off. 

To get the best of both worlds, you could choose to have the very top cabinets with glass inset into the front, providing proper storage but also highlighting the true dimensions of the room. 

Scale down grand plans  

 second nature slab rose kitchen with mini kitchen island - goodhomesmagazine.com

Image: Second Nature Collection 

If you’ve seen a feature you really love for your kitchen, ask yourself if it would work on a smaller scale. This kitchen island in a Second Nature kitchen, for example, is on the small side, but still offers a socialable seat, storage and work surface food prep space. 

Avoid going overboard with decorative details in a small kitchen – large scale patterns and too much on the surfaces will make your space feel busy and cluttered.

Be clever with seating 

Cambridge Stone Grey kitchen with built in banquette seating - goodhomesmagazine.com  

Image: Cambridge Stone Grey kitchen, Benchmarx Kitchens 

If seating is an essential part of your compact kitchen, be prepared to get clever with your kitchen’s layout. Built-in seating is worth considering, as it means the table can be closer to the wall. This Benchmarx kitchen cleverly offers open shelving behind the seat also. 

Get smart with appliances 

blue kitchen with built in oven and hidden extractor - kitchens - goodhomesmagazine.com 

Image: Colin Poole 

To improve the functionality and streamline how you allocate the space, investigate clever kitchen appliances. To keep a clear worktop in your small kitchen, for example, a hot water tap would replace a kettle, while a combination oven/microwave saves on an extra bulky appliance. Building ovens into tower cabinets not only looks great, it makes it less unwieldly to navigate the kitchen, especially useful in a tight space, with options like recessing oven doors also coming in handy when space is at a premium. 


Have you mastered the art of small kitchen design? Tweet us @goodhomesmag or post a comment on our Facebook page. Or, tag us in your own kitchen photos on Instagram, using the hashtag #ThisGoodHome.



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