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Small Kitchen Design Ideas

Many homeowners dream of a spacious kitchen with more cupboard space than they know what to do with, but the reality is that a small kitchen can be just as rewarding. Here are some small kitchen design ideas that will give you the inspiration and creativity to build a functional small kitchen that you’ll love to use.

Small Kitchen Extension Ideas

Small kitchen extension in London done by Plus Rooms.

If you are considering renovating to make your small kitchen a little larger, it’s good to keep in mind that just an extra metre here and there can make a world of difference to your space. One of the best options is to extend into your side return, which turns a largely unused space into a useful one. This side return extension in Tulse Hill shows just how impressive the impact of this extension can be. This beautiful Victorian terrace combines a side return extension with rear bifold doors to maximise usable space, creating an inviting, practical kitchen and dining space that floods out into the garden, making it look much bigger than it is.

How to Maximise Your Space in a Small Kitchen

Maximising your space in a small kitchen is where things get a bit creative. With limited floorspace, you don’t want to impede traffic and movement through the space, but there are ways you can get almost all the storage and counterspace you desire. For example, you can:

  • Take your cabinets up to ceiling height – Higher levels are perfect for display items or items that aren’t used every day. You can also add a funky ladder to make getting up there easier.
  • Install open shelving – Upper cabinets can make your space feel crowded and boxed in, so why not go for open shelving? This is a beautiful statement item and it’s much more affordable too. Solid wood with iron or steel brackets add beauty to your kitchen, great display and storage space, and they keep your kitchen feeling open and airy.
  • Use clever cupboard systems – Today’s cupboards are much more than a shell with a few shelves inside. Clever storage systems can help you create functional pantry space, use every millimetre of your cupboard space, and look great too. Some ideas include corner cupboards that pull out, pot draws, tray cupboards, and more.
  • Slimline appliances – Modern appliances are designed with apartment living in mind, so look for dishwashers and other appliances that are compact, quiet, and energy efficient. Slimline appliances may cost a little more, but in small kitchens, every centimetre counts.
  • Simplify – Minimalism can be applied in every interior design, whether you love a rustic farmhouse look or a chic modern one. The idea is to only have exactly what you need – and to make sure that item is ideal for your space. This doesn’t just apply to décor, but practical items too. For example, instead of having a kettle and coffee maker, you can install a compact boiling water tap and use a French press you can pack away. This makes your kitchen design shine, rather than all your stuff in it.

How to Make a Small Space Appear Bigger

Kitchen extension in London with vaulted ceiling done by Plus Rooms.

It sounds like magic, but you can make a small space feel big through clever design. Some good ideas include:

  • Vaulted ceilings – If you can’t go out, go up. Vaulted ceilings make your kitchen look bigger by using up wasted space under a pitched roof design. Not only does this give you a feeling of spaciousness, it also improves natural light into the kitchen, especially if you add skylights or larger windows and glazed doors, like in this Archdale Road project.
  • Light or bright colours – White, off-white, and pale colours reflect light better, making your space feel bright and open. If you don’t love the all-white look, consider some bright and eye-catching tiles or cabinet colours that make the space pop. Often these would appear overwhelming in a big kitchen, so it’s perfect for smaller spaces, adding plenty of personality that enhances smaller spaces. You can see this concept at work in this Kew kitchen renovation.
  • Add natural light and openings – If you can create a big window, skylights, or folding doors into your garden, do it. It immediately makes your space feel much bigger and less boxed-in. It also adds natural décor and colour to your space, creating that classic indoor-outdoor living feel, just like in this East Dulwich kitchen renovation.
  • Space-enhancing flooring – Choose the type of flooring carefully and install it the right way to create a little trick of the eye that works wonders. Darker floors create depth when they contrast with the cabinetry and placing boards or long tiles vertically will make a space feel longer while placing them horizontally will make it feel wider. Large tiles actually expand the space while small tiles make it feel busier and cramped. You can see how vertical, darker flooring enhances this Strawberry Hill kitchen design.

Islands in Small Kitchens

Just because you have a small kitchen doesn’t mean that you can’t have a kitchen island. In fact, small kitchens benefit the most from kitchen islands because they add that much-needed extra storage and prep space. Here’s how to get the perfect fit.

  • Slim kitchen islands – Slimline kitchen islands with clever storage solutions are the best option as they give the most practical use without getting in the way. Position it as a divider between an open plan kitchen and your dining or lounge space for the most benefit and add a prep bowl and boiling water tap to make it the perfect meal prep space. As with the cabinets and walls, these look best in light or bright colours and can be custom made to fit your space. Here’s a good example of a slim, custom kitchen island for a small kitchen.
  • Mobile kitchen islands – Another good idea is a kitchen island you can roll out of the way when it’s not in use, making your small kitchen more versatile. These wheeled islands are useful prep stations and storage solutions and fit easily into a laundry room or against the wall when you want to open up your space.
  • Dining kitchen islands – This is a wonderful multipurpose island that replaces the need for a dining table or breakfast bar. The cupboards below add useful storage and when it comes to mealtimes you can all gather around it on stylish bar stools. We love the idea of making this a real statement piece in high-quality materials complimented by elegant lighting. You can see just how well this works in this Peckham kitchen design.

Small Kitchen Storage Solutions

Storage is the biggest challenge when it comes to small kitchens. But with so many people living in trendy beautiful yet small homes, the storage solutions on the market are real lifesavers. Here are some great ideas to use in your space.

  • Pot drawers – These are a game-changer in small kitchens, especially when it comes to storing pans, pots, and plates. Rather than traditional cupboards, you have wide, long drawers, making the best of your storage space while keeping everything easily accessible.
  • Hanging pots and pans – Rather than using up precious storage space on bulky pots and pans, hang them flat against your walls under open shelving or above your kitchen island. This looks stunning, makes them easy to grab when you’re cooking, and saves so much space.
  • Behind door storage – These are narrow baskets and shelves that hang against the back of your cupboard doors – and you’ll be surprised how much space is wasted back there. It’s a great option for cleaning supplies, pantry space, spice racks, and more.
  • Magnetic knife strip – All the professional chefs have them and it’s no wonder because they are stylish and practical. A magnetic knife strip above your counter space means you don’t need a bulky knife block or use up drawer space, and your knives are easily at hand when you’re cooking too.

Best Sink for a Small Kitchen

The sink is a kitchen necessity, but you don’t want it to take up too much room. When choosing a kitchen sink for a small kitchen, we recommend the following.

  • Undercounter-mounted sinks – These ensure the sink doesn’t visually dominate the space, and it means you don’t have the rim and drainage board taking up more precious counterspace.
  • Single bowl sinks – We recommend that you look at a deeper, single sink rather than a double bowl sink. These can pack in a lot of dishes easily without taking up your entire counter. And because they are deeper, they use up often unusable undercounter sink space rather than surface counter space.
  • Stylish sinks – Because you aren’t buying multiple sinks, you should try spending on something pretty special. After all, in a small kitchen, every element needs to be just perfect. A small butler’s sink with trendy brass or copper faucets will turn this workhorse into a stylish element for your space.

See more kitchen design ideas here.

Make Every Inch of Your Small Kitchen Design Perfection with Plus Rooms

Plus Rooms is a full-service design and build company for all types of home extensions in the greater London area, including loft, kitchen, and kitchen diner extensions. We specialise in making small kitchen designs that are unique, clever, and exceptionally practical, making your dream kitchen a reality. We’ll work with you through the entire process, from designing your extension and managing planning permission to building the project and ensuring that it is completed to your satisfaction. Please contact us to find out more about our home extensions, and to start the journey towards your dream home.