5 Must-have Features for a Small Kitchen
A designer shares tips on creating functionality and style in a compact space
If your kitchen feels cramped, removing all or some of your wall cabinets might be the best option for you. This is a good way to open up the visual space around the room, making the kitchen appear larger than it is.
If you’re worried about losing the storage from ditching wall cabinets, consider a hardworking island, if you have the space. Or consult with a design pro to really maximise your base cabinet storage with pullouts, drawers and other high-functioning components.
Open shelves are another option. You want your shelves to have a depth of at least 25cm. This is important if you want the shelving to hold dinner plates or other wide items.
Choosing the same colour for your shelves and walls can help the shelves to visually disappear, creating an airy vibe and letting your stylish dishes and decorative items stand out.
However, with open shelves, be prepared to stay a little more organised, and plan to do a little extra dusting.
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It might not seem like a big deal, but protruding cabinet knobs and handles can take up a consequential amount of visual and physical space.
A ‘handleless’ kitchen features cabinets with a lip or touch latch. This approach creates a seamless, minimal look without visual interruptions, and that’s important in a compact space that you want to feel more open.
This scheme by Homeconcepts is a good example of how clean and airy a small kitchen can look without hardware. Also note how the muted cabinet colour blends in with the wall, splashback and worktop tones to visually disappear in the room. You can imagine how different this light space would look with, say, dark cabinets.
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Bringing in a large design statement such as a bold pattern can help detract from your minimal square footage and give your tiny space a big personality.
Plus, a little goes a long way. Using a dramatic pattern often works better in a small kitchen than in a large one, because a small area of pattern can deliver just the right amount of style. With a larger area, too much pattern can overwhelm the space.
A patterned floor will give the illusion of a greater expanse of space. This black-and-white diamond design in a kitchen by Maven Home Interiors creates a timeless look, and running the pattern diagonally creates the appearance of more square footage.
As I’ve noted, every square inch counts in a small kitchen, and that means you can’t allow dead corners.
Designing a corner is often a tricky affair that requires a delicate balance between form and functionality. Notice how the open shelves in this Seattle kitchen wrap around a corner to maximise storage and display space while maintaining an open feel.
Also note a few of the other tricks mentioned in this article, such as using light colours to visually recede cabinets, playing with pattern and running splashback tiles all the way to the ceiling to add visual height.
One thing to keep in mind before making this decision is that corner sinks tend to be smaller than standard ones. If you use a lot of big dishes and utensils, this may not be the best option for you.
If your kitchen is small, you’re going to need to make the most of every spot, including your worktops. This means some of your day-to-day items may need to be kept visible, especially if your cabinet space lacks room for small appliances.
Investing in items you love and that look good is worth it, as they’ll be on display for everyone to see. The white toaster shown here looks at home amid the stylish white-and-wood design.
See how the black-and-white toaster next to the range cooker here looks intentional.
In this kitchen by Oak Hill Architects, the stand mixer and toaster embody a vintage spirit that works well in the traditional space.
What tricks or tips do you have for making the most of a small kitchen? Add your thoughts to the Comments.