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Small Kitchen Ideas

10 Ways to Make a Small Kitchen Look Bigger

Small kitchen, big transformation! Just because your kitchen footprint is small, it doesn’t mean your kitchen needs to feel small. In fact, with the right design and a few creative ideas, you can turn your compact kitchen into a charming, highly functional, and stylish space.

In this blog, our designers share 10 top kitchen ideas for smaller kitchens. A great kitchen design always gets the most from the available space, so these ideas apply to larger kitchens, too. 

Read on to learn how to make your kitchen feel bigger and get the very most from the space, whatever the size.

10 Design Ideas for Small Kitchens


1. Open Shelving in Smaller Kitchens

Open shelving is one of the simplest and most effective ways to make a small kitchen feel more spacious. Instead of designing with traditional upper cabinets, install open shelves to display your dishes, glassware, and cookware. While a cabinet will reduce the width of your room by approximately 30cm, open shelves expose the walls creating the illusion of extra space. What’s more, showing off the full height of your walls further enhances the feeling of spaciousness.

Open shelving also provides easy access to your kitchen essentials. To keep your open shelves organised and tidy, you can store items in matching jars or use baskets or bins for smaller items.


 2. Multi-Functional Furniture for Compact Kitchen Designs

When selecting furniture for a smaller kitchen design, using furniture that serves multiple purposes is a good idea. For instance, a small kitchen island with built-in storage can function as a breakfast bar or as an additional workspace when needed. An excellent example of multi-functional furniture is banquette seating, also known as bench seating. Kitchen banquette seating replaces dining chairs with a built in bench seat; it’s space-efficient, comfortable, and a stylish choice for dining areas. 

Bench seats maximise space and create additional storage within the bench, making it ideal for small kitchens and accommodating more guests from the dining table. Consider bench seating with plush cushions and upholstered backrests to create a cosy lounging area for dining, homework, and conversation. A big advantage of banquette seating is that it’s a stylish way of making the most of awkward nooks while also maximising storage.

Want to learn more? Read our banquette seating blog.

3. Appliances for Small Kitchens

When it comes to choosing appliances for kitchens with a smaller footprint, prioritise space-saving options. Consider what you need from your kitchen appliances and make choices that maximise space. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Combination ovens are an excellent choice, as they combine microwave and oven or oven and steamer into one.
  • Boiling water taps remove the need for a kettle by combining a standard tap and instant hot water in one, therefore freeing up worktop space.
  • Many appliance manufacturers have narrower fridge/freezer options and slimline appliances such as dishwashers designed to fit seamlessly into tight spaces without sacrificing functionality.
  • Induction hobs can be a great option as they can function as extra worktop space when not in use for cooking.
  • For people who have both a washing machine and a tumble dryer in their kitchen, you can choose an all-in-one washer-dryer unit to free up space. Or, go one step further and relocate the washing machine into a new utility space or cupboard. This is a fantastic way of freeing up space in your kitchen and something we do for many of our clients. By relocating your washing appliances, you can move laundry disruption elsewhere so your kitchen can be better utilised as the social hub of your home.

4. Choosing the Right Colours for a Smaller Kitchen

Choosing the right colour palette for a small kitchen is crucial. Light colours create an open and airy atmosphere, making the kitchen seem brighter and more spacious.  Don’t feel restricted to neutrals such as white, grey and magnolia though, explore pale colours such as blue, green or yellow to add more personality to the room. Experiment with painting the wall in the same colour as the cabinets, as this can remove visual obstacles that might impede the eye and cause the room to appear smaller.

Ultimately, personal preference should guide colour choices so play with the ideas here but embrace the colours that bring you joy.


5. Lighting in Your Compact Kitchen Space

Planning lighting is essential for any kitchen, and proper lighting can significantly improve the atmosphere of smaller kitchens or those with less natural light. The key to lighting a small kitchen is to create depth and dimension by combining task and ambient lighting for a balanced, well-lit space with versatility.

Feature lighting, such as pendant lights above islands or dining tables, can create interest and a sense of different zones. However, position these carefully so as not to cramp the space.

In smaller kitchen footprints, consider lighting that doesn’t visually impose on the space too much. Recessed ceiling lights are a great option as they evenly distribute light to reduce dark corners, but their discreet design won’t draw the eye. Track lighting is another fantastic solution, as the flexible systems allow you to adjust the light in different areas as needed.

6. Smart Storage for Small Kitchen Designs

Innovative storage solutions are essential for smaller kitchens. The key is to maximise every inch of available space and declutter where possible. It’s beneficial to plan how drawers and cupboards will be used during the design phase, so that you can adjust the heights of drawers and internal organisation to best utilise the space. Storage mechanisms are fantastic for keeping cupboards organised and everything easily accessible, such as pull-out shelves, under-sink organisers for cleaning suppliers and LeMans mechanism for those awkward corner cupboards.

At KCA, we design many kitchens with larders and pantries. These cabinets are valuable additions to smaller kitchens, offering efficient and organised storage. Larders and pantries come in all shapes and sizes, from large double larders to slimline pull-out pantries; they maximise vertical space, providing storage for dry goods, worktop appliances, and more. A fully customisable larder or pantry can be adapted to various storage needs; they enhance accessibility, reduce clutter, and streamline organisation.



7. Compact Sinks and Taps for Compact Kitchens

A large, deep sink can eat up valuable counter space in a small kitchen. For kitchens where more prep and counter space is a priority, you may wish to consider a compact, single-bowl sink and a space-saving tap.

As we covered earlier, boiling water taps are another great way to save space as you no longer need a kettle.

8. Use Vertical Space in Kitchens With a Smaller Footprint

Don’t forget to use your kitchen’s vertical space. Extending your kitchen up as high as possible creates room for extra storage. Consider installing tall cabinets and top box cupboards that reach the ceiling; these are the perfect places to store less frequently used items such as special occasion dinnerware and party glasses.

Hanging hooks and rails can be a great way to free up drawer space — for instance, a hanging rail mounted to your splashback is ideal for hanging your wooden spoons, ladles and other cooking utensils. In addition, wall-mounted racks and shelves can work well for spices.


9. Combine Kitchen and Living

In smaller homes where space is at a premium, knocking through walls can create a larger, more open-plan room that gives the feeling of space without extending. Combining the kitchen with the living or dining area is a game-changer. This open-concept approach creates a sense of spaciousness and fosters a more interactive and social family environment.

industrial kitchen diner

10. Add Mirror and Reflective Surfaces

Mirrors and reflective surfaces are fantastic allies in making your small kitchen feel larger. Mirror creates the illusion of depth and light, making your kitchen appear bigger than it is.

Here are a few ways to add mirrors and reflective surfaces to your kitchen project.

  • Mirrored Backsplash: Installing a mirrored backsplash helps bounce more natural light back into the room. It also adds a touch of sophistication to your kitchen. Choose a high-quality mirror to prevent distortion and create a visually stunning effect.

  • Glass Cabinet Doors: Show your fine China and glassware and reflect the light, making the kitchen feel more open and inviting. Frosted or reeded glass adds a touch of privacy while maintaining the reflective quality.

  • Metallic Accents: Incorporate metallic elements, such as stainless-steel appliances, chrome fixtures, and liquid metals, to reflect light naturally.

  • Glossy Surfaces: Consider polished finishes for cabinetry and countertops. These surfaces bounce light and create a more luminous atmosphere. Be sure to keep them clean and streak-free to maintain their reflective quality.

  • Mirrored Decor: Decorative mirrors strategically placed on walls can serve both functional and aesthetic purposes. They reflect light, brighten the room, and add a decorative element to open the space.

Incorporating these reflective elements in your small kitchen can be a visually pleasing way to amplify the sense of space and light, giving your kitchen a more expansive and inviting feel.

So, a small kitchen can still be mighty and an amazing space to be in! With the right design choices, your kitchen can be functional and stylish no matter the size or layout. By implementing these small kitchen ideas, you can maximise your space, improve organisation, and create a welcoming cooking environment in which you’ll love spending time. Remember, it’s not about the size of the kitchen; it’s about how efficiently you use the space available.

If you would like professional design guidance to transform your kitchen, request a FREE consultation below.

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Welcome to our new Blog
Since 1993 we’ve been designing kitchens and bedrooms for prestigious properties and learnt a wealth of hints and tips along the way; knowledge we would like to share with you here on our Blog.

Welcome to our new Blog