12 Small kitchen design ideas for creating space

With today's level of design savvy and clever storage solutions, it's possible to not only make your small kitchen appear larger - but do it without sacrificing style.

Tatton Cream Hero.jpg

As cities all around the world grow vertically in the form of upscale apartment blocks and stylish maisonettes, more and more of us are faced with the challenge of making the most of our bijoux kitchens.

The good news is, it's a simple fix. All you need is a decent helping of design trickery, a little lighting ingenuity and a generous dollop of common sense.

If you want to learn how to instantly enlarge your square footage, here're our top 12 small kitchen ideas:

1. Install open storage and/or glass-fronted cabinets

An effective design tip for small kitchens is to opt for open shelving or glass-fronted cabinets on your walls - instead of slab-fronted cabinet doors.

This instantly gives the illusion of added space and increased depth while retaining style.

For a modern farmhouse look, choose rustic wooden shelving with pops of greenery to tie it together or install a suspended pot rack with a cluster of on-trend copper pans hanging up high for an authentically Victorian style.

Alternatively, if open shelving isn't your style, glass-fronted cabinets add a classy touch to any kitchen, storing and displaying your favourite crockery or glassware whilst drawing the eye up and adding a sense of depth.

2. Choose built-in appliances

In a small space, integrated appliances are a must.

They create the appearance of clean lines, minimise worktop clutter and save space; all of which are vital when it comes to making your small kitchen look all the more spacious.

Fridge-freezers, ovens, extractor fans and microwaves can all be built-in and slotted around your cabinets to create a seamless and sophisticated look - leaving plenty of free worktop space for preparing food, entertaining guests and adding the finishing touches to a lovely Sunday roast.

3. Stick to illuminating colours

While a darker, more masculine style can look very effective aesthetically, any tiny kitchen - whether that's L-shaped, U-shaped or galley-style - will always benefit from choosing lighter, more illuminating cabinet and wall colours.

White, neutral or pastel tones are the obvious choice, and they've consistently proven to be the most popular colour scheme over time.

A solid fan favourite due to their endless adaptability, these more neutral coloured kitchens give off a light and airy feel but also, leave plenty of opportunity for splashes of colour through soft furnishings, small appliances and tiling.

If you'd like to add touches of bolder or darker colours though, pretty tiled splashbacks offer the perfect solution.

Hexagonal, herringbone and fish-scale-shaped tiles are amongst some of the hottest break-out trends of recent years, and they're widely available in an eclectic range of geometric patterns and chic colours, creating a stunning look for any style preference.

4. Be smart with storage

Space-saving storage solutions are a godsend when it comes to maximising kitchen space and functionality.

Gone are the days where corner cabinets were obsolete wastes of space. Now, we can fit an ingenious mechanism which allows you to pull a whole pantry out from a seemingly tiny cupboard space, as if by magic.

This way, you'll optimise any usable storage space, plus, you can bring a level of Marie Kondo-style organisation into your kitchen. Dreamy.

5. Maximise light

Natural light is every small kitchen's best friend. If you're fortunate enough to have a skylight or glass doors, great! You're in luck.

Otherwise, if installing a skylight or French doors is out of budget, make the most of any doors or windows you do have by pairing back curtains, blinds or anything else that might obstruct light getting through.

As well as maximising natural light, adding plenty of artificial light is another great design tip for small kitchens.

Installing spotlights on cabinets will not only bring warmth and functionality to your kitchen, it can do wonders for the illusion of space, too.

Fitting lights underneath wall cupboards or base units will create a more spacious feel and opting for spotlights on your ceiling instead of a lampshade will highlight the space above your head, giving an overall feeling of airy spaciousness.

6. Go for gloss

In a small kitchen, a gloss finish can have a similar effect to placing mirrors in a lounge or bedroom: it reflects the light and space creating the appearance of an enlarged room.

And while mirrors might be a challenging style choice for a kitchen, opting for gloss cabinets, tiles or worktops is just as effective and totally on-trend.

A high-gloss cupboard with an integrated J-pull handle is an ideal choice, giving an uninterrupted reflection of the light and making your kitchen appear larger than it really is.

7. Choose optical illusion flooring

Another failsafe kitchen design idea for your small space is to lay flooring lengthways to elongate the room.

Particularly for narrow galley kitchens, laying flooring sideways will draw the eye to the sides of the space, making it feel smaller and more cramped.

So, whether you prefer wood flooring, patterned laminate or tiles, laying your flooring lengthways will help create the illusion of added space as it draws the eye along the length of the room.

8. Minimise clutter

Once you've got your kitchen design down, it's important to remember not to undo all of your hard work by cluttering up your worktops with unnecessary bits and pieces.

The benefits of built-in appliances and storage solutions mean that most of the things that would usually sit on your worktops will be ingeniously stored away somewhere out of sight yet easily accessible.

So, try to keep any items on countertops or kitchen islands to a minimum - not only for food preparation but to increase the sense of space too.

9. Combine two cabinet colours

Two-tone kitchens are in.

Choosing two coordinating cabinet colours is not only are a stylish and sophisticated design tip, it can make a small kitchen appear considerably larger too.

The classic two-tone technique of using a lighter colour on your wall units and a darker shade on cabinets lower down is preferable, as this can make a tangible difference when it comes to maximising the sense of space.

This method draws the eye up, creating the illusion of size and highlighting space higher up.

10. Choose slimline base units

In any small kitchen, cabinet size can prove integral to the sense of space. If possible, opt for slimmer base units as they'll increase your floor space and in doing so, add an .

The downside of using slimline units is that you'll lose a few square inches of storage space in each cupboard.

So, to combat this, we suggest taking a frugal approach to purchasing kitchenware and only buy what you really need.

11.Paint an accent wall

The penultimate of our small kitchen ideas is not to shy away from painting an accent wall.

While this may seem counterintuitive, an accent wall in the right colour can actually elongate your room while simultaneously injecting a sense of style.

If you have a galley kitchen or you're working with an L-shape, painting the wall furthest from the entrance can draw the eye along the room, resulting in a lengthening effect which makes any small space feel enlarged.

12. Stick to smaller kitchen islands

If you're really committed to boosting kitchen space, we'd recommend steering clear of kitchen islands altogether - but at the same time, we completely understand the appeal.

Adding a level of style, enhancing storage and facilitating the social element of kitchen living through providing a dining area, kitchen islands can make for a worthwhile addition to any space.

And with the wide range of sizes now available, you can find one that fits your kitchen perfectly.