Our favourite inspiring design ideas for small kitchens

design ideas for small kitchens

Let’s be honest – there are very few of us who’d say no to having more space available in our homes, and this is especially true when it comes to our kitchens. Smaller kitchens in particular can pose their own distinct set of challenges, notably in terms of storage, and how to keep them tidy. But by the same token, those challenges can provide opportunities for some enjoyably creative solutions, and that’s exactly what our expert kitchen designers specialise in here at Kitchen Design Centre!

So, if you’re set on conquering clutter and lightening the look of your small kitchen, we’ve got some perfect bits of advice to help.

How to maximise storage in your small kitchen

Incorporating open shelving is one of the easiest and most effective ways to maximise space in a small kitchen, providing you with plenty of space for smaller and lighter kitchen appliances and accessories. As well as providing you with easy access to what you need, they can also double as decorative features – handy if you’ve got some quirky utensils or crockery you’d like to show off to guests and visitors!

Open shelving is just one way of maximising long walls. If you have a long stretch of unbroken wall space, don’t be afraid to install a line of units or cabinets to maximise storage and worktop space. Speaking of which, you might want to consider cabinetry with glass-panelled doors for your cabinetry, so that they can serve the same practical function while maintaining a more open, airier design (which can be enhanced with soft lighting).

Wall-mount knife racks are another handy and often under-utilised way of keeping your knives, pots and utensils on display and within easy reach, while still keeping them clear of your worktops, where space is often at a premium.

It might be worth it to consider an island for your kitchen, if you’ve got the available space. Islands provide extra worktop space and a considerable amount of storage. If not, don’t worry, you could substitute a stylish kitchen trolley that can be wheeled around easily, or even opt for storage seating.

Corner storage can help you utilise every inch of the space, so don’t write off awkward corner areas! There’s a whole host of ways to make your corners work for you, including corner shelving, bespoke units and even pull-out cupboards with Lazy Susan style spiral storage. All that can be instrumental in helping you to hide away ingredients, utensils and crockery, which keeps worktops and shelving clean and clear.

How to make your small kitchen seem bigger

Use light colours. That’s the very best place to start! A predominance of pastels and muted colours can really open up a room. You’ve got no shortage of options when it comes to colour – there are light greens, blues, yellows, and even greys. Don’t be afraid to use a white or off-white colour palette for a spacious and airy look. If you decide you want a splash of more vibrant colour, neutral shades can also be beautifully offset with accents.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that you can even buy paint with light reflecting particles specifically designed to open up small spaces. If you have your heart set on a deep or dark colour, use it as an accent to a paler colour scheme. For cupboards, consider choosing a light wood, or painting your cupboards in a light colour.

Personally here at Kitchen Design Centre, we’d recommend making the cabinet doors and walls one consistent colour (although it doesn’t necessarily have to be the same one for both!). This removes visual barriers from the space which might otherwise cause the eye to stop short, instead creating a smooth, harmonised space.

On that note, it might be a good idea to think about a one-colour palette. Whilst opting for pastel shades undoubtedly opens up a kitchen, a one-colour palette can achieve a similar effect. Choose gloss finishes to reflect the light, and pay attention to the little details – you can also incorporate stainless steel accents across taps, handles and appliances.

Size up your space for lighting – while high ceilings can look fantastic with elaborate light fittings, those same fittings can end up looking too busy or restricted in a smaller space. Instead, it’s often far better to choose integrated, soft recessed lighting, as it provides a comfortable level of light without taking up too much room, either physically or aesthetically.

Of course, when we’re talking about lighting, natural light will always be king, so it’s worth looking at ways in which you can incorporate skylights, windows and French doors. Skylights can be especially beautiful, if your kitchen can accommodate them. You can also consider French windows or patio doors to quite literally open up the room.

And in addition to all that – or perhaps instead of it – perhaps think about whether you want to channel the Shaker style. Minimalist but with a touch of rustic charm, the austere but chic whitewashed colours, sleek lines, vertical panelling and clean woods that characterise Shaker style kitchens are all perfect for small kitchen spaces.

This is just a selection of our favourite ideas – you may well have one or two of your own! If you’re looking for more inspiration, feel free to check out our case studies, or visit any of our showrooms across the North West in Failsworth in ManchesterUrmston in ManchesterBlackburnBarrowford, or Woolton in Liverpool, where you can sit down with one of our designers for a cup of tea and a chat, as we look at how to make your dream kitchen a reality!

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