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​How not to get fed up with your teeny weeny kitchen

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Modern kitchen by raumdeuter GbR Modern
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The heart of the home; the culinary corner; the cookhouse. Whatever you prefer to call your kitchen, there is no denying the important part it plays in a home. If you think about it, we tend to put a lot of pressure on it. It needs to be functional, beautiful, comfortable, impressive to the friends and family… quite a lot to ask for, right?

So what do we do when that all-important kitchen turns out to be challenged for dimensions? Do we hide when the doorbell rings? Do we order takeout just so that we don’t have to face cooking in such a small space?

We most certainly do not! What we will do, however, is scroll on and see some inspiring ideas on how to end up with a delectable and dreamy kitchen that will make us want to spend more time in it…

1. Focus on placements

Think about your ‘active’ and ‘passive’ spaces in your kitchen, including the entry points, cooking areas and the sink. 

Place the fridge close to the entry point so that the middle space is not interrupted whenever you’re grabbing something cold. And if you have an eat-in kitchen, go with round tables as they work so much better in awkward and tight spaces.

2. Say goodbye

Not to the entire kitchen, just bits and pieces that you haven’t used in the past year – yes, you need to be honest with yourself here about those smoothie mixers, spatulas, tea sets, and whatever else is currently taking up space.  

Once you’ve tossed the excess, pick a few of your most useful and pretty elements to display on open shelving and hooks. Open shelves are great surfaces for showing off décor- and practical pieces, especially when stacking things on top of each other.

3. Think practical

concrete worktops Minimalist kitchen by homify Minimalist

concrete worktops


Make sure your choices are relative to the size of your kitchen: that probably means no double-door fridge or eight-burner stovetop.

Rather opt for slim designs that can become statement pieces in their spaces.

4. Be clever

The Mighty Plate Rack: industrial  by The Plate Rack, Industrial
The Plate Rack

The Mighty Plate Rack

The Plate Rack

It just makes sense to keep the cups close to your kettle, and the plates and bowls together, right? You might agree, but not everyone thinks like that when storing their kitchen accessories. Keeping relevant items together makes working in the kitchen easier and faster, allowing you to appreciate (and use) the space more often. 

And remember that hooks are always a handy utilitarian essential in all kitchens. They allow you to hook up just about anything from utensils to tea towels and pots – a terrific way to utilise that empty vertical space.

5. Function first

The Kew Shaker Kitchen by deVOL Scandinavian style kitchen by deVOL Kitchens Scandinavian
deVOL Kitchens

The Kew Shaker Kitchen by deVOL

deVOL Kitchens

Let’s be honest: a small kitchen is not a space that can easily accommodate cooking and schoolwork and mail and laundry… Sacrifices need to be made. 

But seeing as it’s a work space first and foremost, focus on function and ensure you have all the appliances and work surfaces required. This may mean using scaled-down or innovative appliances, including fridge- and freezer drawers plus pint-sized microwaves and single sinks. But this way the function remains relevant and comfortable.

Once workspace is at a premium, consider a small-scale island or a counter-topped cart that can be rolled away when not in use.

6. Open it up

A tiny kitchen will feel even more claustrophobic if those overhead cabinets present big and bulky doors. Opt for a more open vibe by choosing open storage instead. 

In addition, you can also consider shelving, pot racks, and magnetic knife or spice holders. Not only will your kitchen look more spacious, but it’s also a great way to show off your favourite dishes or shiny pots and pans – even a few artwork pieces.

7. Mix up materials

Parliament View Interior Design, Lambeth Bridge, London Modern houses by Residence Interior Design Ltd Modern
Residence Interior Design Ltd

Parliament View Interior Design, Lambeth Bridge, London

Residence Interior Design Ltd

A big area can easily hide flaws or clashing styles; a small space has its work cut out in terms of making every single design choice count. And because your tiny kitchen may be short on interesting architectural details, it’s up to you to add some eye-catching pizzazz via compelling countertop surfaces, cabinetry, fixtures, flooring, lighting and colour. 

Can you squeeze in a pleasing curve somewhere? Will your granite countertop (more affordable in a small space!) co-exist with your cabinet colour? 

We recommend making a mood board with samples and swatches of everything you’re considering. And remember: using the same colour and style of fixtures and cabinet pulls can help unify a look.

8. A see-through space

Elsworthy Road, NW3 Modern dining room by XUL Architecture Modern
XUL Architecture

Elsworthy Road, NW3

XUL Architecture

You know that glass is practically invisible, right? Then why don’t you opt for expanding your tiny kitchen via a material that allows you to see right through it? 

This is what those in the biz (aka interior designers) call “negative space”, so try out a glass counter or tabletop, or even glass door cabinets (or a glass door that leads out onto the connecting patio, which will work a treat at bringing the exterior view inside). 

homify hint: Mirrors, in a backsplash or strategically placed around the room, can also lighten up the look.

9. Light up

Full House Renovation with Crittall Extension, London Industrial style kitchen by HollandGreen Industrial

Full House Renovation with Crittall Extension, London


Like any small room, your tiny kitchen is going to need both task- and atmospheric lighting. Fluorescent kitchen lighting, which casts a bluish light impacting the colour of objects in the room, is frequently found in kitchens. To counteract it, hang some pendant lights that bathe your eating area in a more appetizing colour. And try these easy ways to increase the feeling of size in your small kitchen: 

• Incandescent lighting (a more yellowish tone) underneath the upper cabinets to shine down on those countertops.  

• Ground lighting has also been employed in recent years, glittering like an overturned night sky from the floor up.

10. Be floored

Since a small kitchen presents minimum floor space, we can experiment a little with more costly flooring options. Perhaps a beautiful tumbled marble that can give you a touch of the outdoors? 

Or how about cork, which is the most popular choice for industrial-style kitchens in the US? Of course you’ll have to make sure it’s properly sealed (water can make it expand), but it’s a beautiful option. And you can definitely feel smug about using a “green” choice for your floors.

11. How about those hues?

Colour – from the walls and appliances to the stools and tea towels – can change the kitchen’s entire ambience. Pastels or light colours reflect light, drawing the eyes upward and making the room seem taller. 

Bold colours can also be quite effective in that small kitchen. How about a cherry red for those metal cabinets with parakeet green walls and sunflower-toned concrete countertops? Your eyes will be so busy taking in the colour combinations they’ll forget all about the limited floor space!

12. Go for comfort

Here’s something to chew on: instead of using tricks to enlarge the space, why don’t you just embrace it the way it is and focus on making it merely well-designed and cosy? 

Thus, forget light and slim, and opt for country cosy or shabby chic. Perhaps add in a wooden bench that allows guests to sit comfortably snug together. Or choose a dark, rich colour that creates a sophisticated feeling and use accessories that emphasize that look. 

That kitchen might be small, but it sure can be sexy too! 

Seeking some more inspiration? Then feast on these: Clever storage solutions for awkward kitchen corners.

Which ideas will you be using to style up your tiny kitchen?
Whitton Drive by GK Architects Ltd Modern

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