Small kitchen design ideas

Whether you want to maximise storage or create a statement design, there are plenty of ways to make the most of your small kitchen. To help get you started, our guide below has all the small kitchen design ideas you need to turn your dream into a reality.

Planning your small kitchen layout

The layout is one of the most important considerations when putting together your small kitchen ideas. The shape of your space will inform the overall aesthetics you choose, as well as the storage options you need to ensure your kitchen meets the needs of your lifestyle. Some of the most popular small kitchen layouts include:

Small modern kitchens

One-wall kitchens - or I-shaped kitchens - are ideal for those looking for very small kitchen ideas.

In this layout, all counters and appliances fit against one wall. They are particularly well-suited to apartments and homes that do not have a lot of living space.

You may need to get creative with your storage space to ensure you have everything you need.

Small L-shaped kitchens

L shaped kitchens are ideal, particularly in small spaces. You may find an L shape suitable for an open plan kitchen diner, or for rooms that can’t quite accommodate a galley design.

You still benefit from plenty of counter space, as well as a reasonable amount of storage. However, you might need to find another home for large appliances like washing machines and dryers.

Narrow galley kitchens

Galley kitchens are usually amongst the most popular small kitchen design layouts.

With this layout, you benefit from two rows of cabinets, with an area for cooking and washing up. You often have plenty of kitchen counter space, as well as storage.

Small square kitchens

Square kitchens lend themselves well to U-shaped designs. If you have enough space, consider placing counters on three of your four walls.

You'll benefit from plenty of storage and counter space, as well as under-counter options for your appliances. If space allows, you may be able to integrate a dining area into your kitchen too.

Small kitchen floorplan layouts

Your floorplan isn’t just about the layout of your space. It’s also essential to think about your work triangle. One of the benefits of small kitchens is that you can easily access all areas of your space, making cooking and cleaning efficient. Try to place your cleaning, cooking and preparing areas into three separate zones, with plenty of floorspace in-between. You may want to think about a dining area if space allows too.

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Appliances

Kitchens inevitably need a range of appliances to function efficiently. At the very least, you will need a fridge freezer, hob, oven and washing machine.

You may also want a dishwasher and tumble dryer too. Try to plan your appliances into your space before you purchase anything. If necessary, you may need to compromise.

For example, choose a larger sink if you cannot fit a dishwasher into your space. Or, find a different home for your washing machine if you find your under-counter space is limited.

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Breakfast bars

While a breakfast bar might seem extravagant, they are an excellent option for those looking for kitchen ideas for small spaces.

Breakfast bars can double as both a preparation and dining space, creating a multifunctional approach to your kitchen design.

There are a lot of smart breakfast bar ideas for small kitchens out there, so it is worth doing your research to see if one could be right for you.

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Small kitchen-diners

Most small kitchens don’t have enough space for a separate dining area. However, it is possible to create one with the right floorplan.

For example, you could use a folding dining table to save space. Or, you could use a multifunctional kitchen island that works for preparing, dining, and storage.

If you think you will need a dining space in your kitchen, do your research into the range of small kitchen table ideas out there. You should be able to find one that works for you.

Space-saving kitchen ideas

Storage is often at a premium in small kitchens, which is why it is one of the most important considerations when designing your dream space. Fortunately, there are plenty of intuitive options that can make your kitchen a joy to spend time within. Before you get started, think about your storage carefully. Make the most of every nook and cranny and add smart storage solutions wherever you can.

Innovative ideas

A little imagination can go a long way when it comes to storage. Innovative ideas that maximise your space are a great way to get the most out of your small kitchen storage. Think about additional items you can add on to your cabinets to make life easier. For example, corner cabinets can benefit from a large pull-out drawer. 

Floor-to-ceiling cabinets

While too many floor-to-ceiling cabinets can make small spaces feel enclosed, it is usually a good idea to include at least one in your kitchen. These can help with storing more substantial items, like mops and hoovers, or function as a pantry for your cupboard grocery products.

Portable storage

Portable options are another useful consideration when looking for small kitchen storage ideas. Trolleys or islands on wheels can give you extra cupboard space, as well as function as a preparation area when it’s time to experiment with your latest recipe. You can wheel your portable storage into a corner to save space when not in use.

How to make a small kitchen appear bigger

When planning your small kitchen layout, it's essential to think about your overall aesthetic. Some décor suits smaller kitchens, while others can make your space feel enclosed.

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Colour scheme & style

Contemporary kitchens are well-suited to small kitchen design ideas. The sleek minimalism encourages a clutter-free feel, while a light colour palette creates the illusion of space. It could be worth considering glossy cabinets and worktops for their light reflective qualities, which will help your kitchen feel larger too.

If you prefer traditional kitchens, there’s no need to compromise on your small space kitchen either. Choose a light or neutral colour palette, and add splashes of colour in your tiling or accessories.

You may want to choose a simple Shaker design rather than intricate detailing to ensure your space feels uncluttered. Natural textures can work very well in small kitchens too. Choose light-coloured wood or natural stone to keep your room feeling bright and airy.

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Appliances & accessories

You may want to consider space-saving appliances and accessories too. For example, find appliances that combine two functions in one.

A washer-dryer may be a good choice for those that need a dryer at home, or you could choose an integrated fridge freezer to relieve the need for two separate units. You could even select a hob with integrated extraction to avoid installing a large cooker hood.

Another option is to choose kitchen accessories that enhance your space. Smart storage, handleless cupboards and intelligent integrations can all help your small space kitchen work for your lifestyle and the floor space you have available.

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Lighting ideas

Good lighting is a must-have for small kitchens. If possible, make the most of your natural light.

For those putting together small kitchen extension ideas, consider adding a large window to your plans to help your room feel bright and airy, adding to the sense of space.

If you’re not planning to extend, try adding roller or Venetian blinds instead of curtains. Avoid placing ornaments or plants on the windowsills, as these will decrease the amount of natural light emitted into your space.

For artificial lighting, avoid using fussing light fittings unless you have a very high ceiling. Spotlighting is usually your best option, as these ensure an uncluttered feel.

Designing your small kitchen

Whatever space you have available, you can create a beautiful kitchen that works perfectly for your lifestyle requirements. If you’re ready to talk about your project, contact our expert design team to get a guide price for your plans.

Need a little more inspiration? Try our innovative kitchen design tool to bring your small kitchen ideas to life.

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