Most kitchens in the UK are not the vast spaces so often featured in interiors magazines or on tv shows so if your kitchen is more on the compact side don’t be deterred from being creative and maximising your own space no matter how small. Here we look at ways of enhancing our kitchens through easy design tricks and clever solutions for our ever-growing quest for space.
Keep it simple
The standard advice when planning the overall design for a smaller or compact space is to keep things simple: the desired effect is to create an open feeling of space so keep your decoration light and neutral. Avoid breaking up colour and instead, opt for similar shades for worktops and door fronts, walls and floors which achieve a fresh, clean look. The effect of decorating like this will instantly create a feeling of a larger space. Make the most of the height in your kitchen for cabinetry, incorporate eye-level appliances and integrated refrigeration to establish a seamless, efficient layout.
How to plan a small kitchen
With some careful planning and the expertise of a kitchen designer there’s no reason why you can’t achieve a small kitchen that looks great, functions efficiently and is more than a match for super-sized spaces. Clever layout planning is the key to maximising space and your designer will work with you to find out exactly how you will use your kitchen and apply the rules of ergonomics to any design if you are starting from scratch.
Be smart about space
As we all know too well, you can never have enough storage and as we cook and bake more at home than ever before, making the most of every little bit of space is paramount. Be creative about just what areas of the kitchen can be used and don’t forget walls and even ceilings for all kinds of clever storage solutions. It’s not always viable to have a vast array of cupboards so here are some suggestions for what to have instead.
Plate racks which can be custom-built for your own storage needs, open shelves and wall hung knife blocks are great space-saving options. Not only are these options hugely practical, they look stylish and open up kitchens making them look and feel larger. If you have lots of saucepans and utensils for cooking, copy professional restaurant kitchens and use a stylish stainless steel storage rack from the ceiling which keeps everything to hand as you cook and is a great option if space is at a premium.
Hidden spaces – areas that are often overlooked are the plinth recesses under base cabinets and increasingly, designers are building pull-out plinth drawers which are great for storing items like table linen and large baking trays which you don’t need to access every day. Equally, the space above units can often be overlooked but large china dishes, terrines and vases look great displayed like this and make great use of space.
The splashback area of your oven is another forgotten space-area: you can keep a huge number of cooking utensils and knives along a storage rail which is not only space-saving but incredibly handy for cooking with everything to hand.
Maximise internal storage
In recent years, kitchen designers have really embraced deep pan drawers for storing saucepan, plates and all the other stuff that accumulates in today’s kitchens. The great thing about pull-out drawers is their ease of access and increased capacity compared with the traditional kitchen cupboard. Whatever cabinetry you choose, maximise space and efficiency by using internal drawer dividers. It is often inevitable that an awkward corner space will be left and traditionally, corner cabinets proved particularly irksome for both designer and customer. Today, there are some great carousel systems that allow contents to be bought out into the kitchen effortlessly.
If you buy a kitchen units off the peg from a large retailer, the cupboards will be made to a standard size but the great thing about having your own cabinetry custom-made is that a kitchen designer will be able to accommodate the awkward areas of your space and make units to fit your exact dimensions. Cabinetry and worktops that are appropriate for your space will create a feeling of space and will avoid an oppressive look which can often be the feature of modern kitchens.
Island units are hugely popular and although they are often shown in very large kitchens, it is still possible to enjoy this kitchen must-have even in a smaller space. A narrow custom-built island which a designer can make to your own spec will give extra preparation and storage space and achieve a more welcoming, sociable layout.
Good lighting is another crucial element used by designers to create illusions and effects: for the smaller kitchen, this is essential and can really magnify the sense of space. Make sure you have good task lighting for cooking and other jobs and as evening approaches you can use a relaxing, ambient light which can brighten any darker areas. If you are lucky to have lots of natural light be sure to keep window treatments to a minimum and opt for a less fussy look which will all add to creating a spacious, open look.
Custom furniture, good design principles and lots of vision can really make a difference in a small kitchen so we hope this blog has inspired you to get creative in your own space and achieve a kitchen that not only looks good but works effortlessly for you and your family.