Tips and ideas for a perfect kitchen layout
Our small kitchen ideas are perfect for those not blessed with a large and sociable space.
Not all homes come with vast open plan spaces. If yours is on the small side, there is plenty to feel positive about and there are still plenty of kitchen ideas to play with.
For a start, when designing a small kitchen, you'll soon realize that it’s easy to keep everything to hand without having to march from sink to hob to fridge. Plus, there is a wealth of clever small kitchen storage ideas available to get the very best out of every inch. Look for a designer with a proven record of creating dynamic and ergonomic designs for small spaces.
1. Invest in smart storage
'It might seem counter-intuitive in a kitchen where space is at a premium, but unless the ceilings are very high I like to do away with wall cabinets altogether in favor of kitchen shelving,' says interior designer Lonika Chande (opens in new tab).
'It looks much better and opens up the space. I am always on the lookout for vintage shop fittings and characterful reclaimed planks that can be repurposed as shelves. I then decant what I can into Kilner jars for display, alongside stacks of crockery, linen and the odd jug. I love nothing more than to be left to it with my Kilner jars and a Dymo labelling machine – unbelievably satisfying work and so visually pleasing too’.
2. Use decorative tricks to brighten a small kitchen
Creating a light and bright space as part of your small kitchen ideas can feel like an impossible task. When faced with this small kitchen, Shawna Percival, founder and designer at Styleberry Creative Interiors (opens in new tab) started by relocating the window to a central position and making it larger so that it would let more light into the small kitchen. Finding ways to increase the natural light in the kitchen is a great way to combat the challenges and make a small kitchen look bigger.
‘For the backsplash, we went with these vertically laid tiles in variegated off-white, the tone variation creates the illusion of depth, while the high-gloss finish helps to further reflect light throughout the space,’ says Shawna. She paired these other white kitchen ideas including off-white cabinets which help the white countertops and eggshell white vent hood to really shine.
‘We heated things up with brass sconces, brass cabinet pulls, and warm wood accents through the custom range and accessories,’ continues Shawna. ‘We also incorporated this white-washed brick and rust-colored rug for some warm, cottage character.’ Adding details from cottage kitchen ideas are a great way to add warmth and personality to your small kitchen ideas.
Other decorative tips include knowing which items home organizers say make rooms feel small (so you can avoid them in your kitchen). Top tips include keeping small kitchen appliances away from your worktops and getting rid of food packaging that is taking up unnecessary room in your pantry or cupboard.
3. Maximize awkward corners for storage
Older homes, which often come hand in hand with small kitchens, small kitchen layouts are characterized by their unusual nooks and crannies. Making the most of these unusual spaces is key to maximizing the storage space in your small kitchen ideas. Inset cookers and cabinetry into unused fireplaces and pair with your favorite stove backsplash ideas, or install open-shelving into alcoves to make the most of all the available space. Pair with neutral cabinetry and white stone countertops, like these from Caeserstone (opens in new tab) to keep the space feeling bright.
4. Work a dining nook into a small kitchen
Galley kitchen ideas are one of the most common small kitchen ideas. These long, narrow spaces bring with them myriad design challenges from cabinetry through to lighting.
Often small kitchen ideas prioritize storage at the cost of social spaces, however this kitchen designed by Georgia Zikas (opens in new tab) manages to combine the two to great effect. ‘The custom design of the corner banquette seating incorporates drawers below the bench and a tall pantry cupboard to the right, while also providing a space for friends and family to sit and relax,’ explains Georgia.
Small kitchen lighting ideas are vital to the functionality and decorative aspects of your design, too – here, downlights in the cook zone are complemented by a pendant light over the dining table, which creates a warm pool of light over diners.
5. Make an open-plan space work with a small kitchen
How to plan the layout of a small kitchen? There may be little choice, though a galley kitchen is often your only choice – even in an open plan area. One of the benefits of open plan kitchen ideas is that you have a large footprint at your disposal. However, when incorporating a kitchen into an open-plan space you need to be careful that it doesn’t dominate the room.
This clever kitchen design divides the living space from the kitchen with a wall of cabinetry and a small subway tile backsplash – one of our favorite kitchen wall tile ideas – helping to keep the practical space separate from the social. However, the partial wall ensures that the cook isn’t isolated. Designed around a large window with the half wall also letting in light from the patio doors and skylight, this small kitchen still feels open and airy too.
6. Work cleverly with color
‘As well as the walls, consider your kitchen cabinets and storage: highlighting these essential elements within a kitchen is a fantastic way to deliver design impact,' says Ruth Mottershead, creative director, Little Greene (opens in new tab).
Are there architectural features or areas of interest to draw attention to? Color is a fantastic way to highlight a favourite feature. If you don’t want to use a bold color all over, highlight the back of your shelving in a contrasting color or opt for a dynamic two-tone kitchen color scheme by adding one color to the lower cabinets and contrasting colors for walls and upper cabinets.