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Small Kitchen Design Ideas: 14 Ways to Make the Most of a Small Space

Small kitchen design idea
(Image credit: B&Q)

If you’re looking for small kitchen design ideas that will not only help maximise the layout of a compact space, but also create an amazing finish, search no more. Not everyone is blessed with room enough for a spacious open-plan kitchen, dining and living space but that’s not to say there isn’t a lot to consider. 

Planning the best layout for a new kitchen can be challenging, as can fitting in all the storage required and choosing the right appliances, so take a look below at our design tips and tricks for creating a modern room for any budget. 

(MORE: Get a quote for a new kitchen)

1. Smart Storage is a Great Small Kitchen Design Idea

Small kitchen with breakfast nook

(Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

The success of a compact design hangs on creative kitchen storage ideas. Make every inch work for you by incorporating bespoke solutions like a built-in window seat or versatile shelving, as this practical kitchen demonstrates. 

2. Choose an L-shaped Kitchen Layout for a Small Square Room

Classic kitchen design idea

(Image credit: Ikea)

Small kitchen design ideas are just as much about the flow and access to other areas as they are about the aesthetics and appliances. 

L-shaped kitchens are great for high-traffic routes through the the garden and give the opportunity for loads of wall unit storage. 

(MORE: Get a quote for a new kitchen)

3. Mix Bold Colours into Your Small Kitchen Design Idea

Dark painted small kitchen

(Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

Some small kitchens suffer from a lack of identity larger spaces can offer. If you have suitable natural light in your rooms, consider choosing an interesting colour for your units, floor or splashback. 

This tiny kitchen (from the Handmade Kitchen Company) was painted in Farrow & Ball's Railings. 

4. Choose Where to go Big and Where to Save Space Wisely

Clever storage in small kitchen

(Image credit: Whitebirk Sink Company )

Where space is limited, giving adequate consideration to the things you use most is essential. 

For instance, where there is little room for a dishwasher, a large Belfast sink and plenty of drying space might be just the ticket. Or, could an Aga or range cooker be more worth your while when cooking for a family? 

This small kitchen design cleverly incorporates both and compensates for fewer cupboards with a range of narrow storage units. 

5. Add a Pantry or Larder in a Small Kitchen Design

Pantry larder for small kitchen design idea

(Image credit: Brayer Design)

Larders and pantries are incredibly helpful for outsourcing tinned goods and lesser-used appliances (like stand-mixers or blenders), or even adding a little extra worktop space for small kitchens. 

(MORE: Need a new kitchen? Get a tailored quote)

6. Clever Lighting is a Great Idea for Your Small Kitchen Design

Small kitchen lighting design

(Image credit: Rebecca Hughes Interiors)

A good lighting design plan is perhaps more important in a petit kitchen than it is in a larger one. 

There's nothing more annoying than trying to chop at a worktop but find you're blocking the light. Under-shelf LED strips are a great investment, as are ceiling downlights to maximise the illumination of every awkward corner.  

7. Small Kitchen Design Ideas Need Injecting with Some Personality 

Creative small design ideas for kitchen

(Image credit: Ikea)

If your small kitchen feels like a chore to cook in, add in a playful touch to the new design. 

Chalkboard paint, colourful tiles and a statement pendant light will perk up any space — as will a smart home built-in speaker system to blast out your favourite songs if you have the budget.

8. Re-imagine the Small Galley Kitchen 

Galley style small kitchen design idea

(Image credit: Wren Kitchens)

The beauty of small kitchen spaces is that everything is readily to hand and this is definitely true of galley layouts. 

Make the most of a narrow and long space by using the golden rule of a kitchen triangle to arrange the sink, oven/hob and fridge, but be sure to consider that galley kitchens are open at both ends so thoroughfare and smelly foods will impact the how you lay out the space. 

(MORE: Get a quote for your new kitchen)

9. Utilise Flexible Modern Appliances in Compact Kitchens

Appliances for small kitchen designs

(Image credit: Wren Kitchens)

Inserting built-in ovens into unit at eye level doesn't just save you bending over, but also frees up precious storage space. 

Also, newer models can feature a slide and hide door which is perfect for navigating a tight layout. 

10. Create a Calm Small Kitchen Design with Pale Colours

Country style kitchen design idea

(Image credit: Walls and Floors)

Lighter colours make small rooms feel more open and bright so think about opting for a palette of warm whites, light greys or pale cashmere units which, when combined with a warm yet practical timber worktop, will create a comfortable and cosy kitchen. 

11. Declutter with the Latest Fixtures

How water tap for small kitchen designs

(Image credit: Perrin & Rowe)

When kitting out a small kitchen with appliances and fixtures, investing in new space-saving designs is guaranteed to maximise every inch of space. 

Boiling and filtered water taps, like this Qettle product, will get rid of the need for a kettle, while induction downdraft hobs (like Smeg's HOBD4 below) do away with bulky and boxy extractor units. 

Induction hob for small kitchens

(Image credit: Smeg)

12. Open Up a Small Kitchen with Open Shelving

Open shelving for small kitchens

(Image credit: Gerden Trading)

Replacing top units with open shelves not only looks great but creates the illusion of a room being larger. 

Be they short and practical (as pictured) or long enough to span a wall and display your favourite crockery, freeing a kitchen of that claustrophobic feeling built-in units can transform a pokey space. 

(MORE: Get a quote for your new kitchen)

13. Introduce Loads of Natural Light

Natural light in small kitchen

(Image credit: Paul Arthur)

Rooflights, bifold doors and picture windows all do their part to make small kitchens feel larger. 

This small side-return extension to a terrace house transformed the way the homeowners utilised their kitchen and even allowed for them to create the perfect casual dining area. 

(MORE: Choosing bifold doors for your project)

14. Maximise Worktop Potential in a Small Kitchen Design Idea

Industrial style small kitchen

(Image credit: Kitchen Craft)

Worktops can work twice as hard in small kitchens by adding stool to double them up as breakfast bars. Or, if you need a versatile layout, choose a lightweight freestanding island unit to be positioned depending on demand. 

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