6 simple steps to make your small kitchen work | homify
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6 simple steps to make your small kitchen work

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Canopy House - Stoke Newington, London Modern kitchen by A2studio Modern
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Bigger isn’t always better, especially not when it comes to the heart of the home. Luckily, comfortable layouts and great designs aren’t exclusive to large kitchens, as it all comes down to proper planning and getting creative with decorating to make your small kitchen work.

Storage is always a crucial element to take note of, especially in small spaces. By maximising every available millimetre, reorganising areas that aren’t as practical as they could be, and thinking of new solutions where required can turn even the most diminutive space into a dream design. 

And with Christmas fast approaching, we understand that the majority of kitchens will be filling up with visiting family members and guests this holiday season. Great news if you have a spacious kitchen, less good news if your kitchen is on the tiny side.

But don’t fret – let’s see what we can squeeze out of your small kitchen!

1. Change your small kitchen: See where you can incorporate storage

Mr & Mrs H, Kitchen, Byfleet Village, Surrey Modern kitchen by Raycross Interiors Modern
Raycross Interiors

Mr & Mrs H, Kitchen, Byfleet Village, Surrey

Raycross Interiors

Inspect your kitchen from top to bottom and we bet you’ll find a few spots that waste precious space. Look at gaps between shelves, at the back of a cupboard, under the sink, empty corners and windowsills… EVERYWHERE. Where possible, stack. And clear out unused kitchenware so you have less to store. Other items that you don’t use every day (and which you don’t want to throw out) can also be relocated to make your cooking space more practical. 

Also remember your walls and doors – where can you add a utensil rail or magnetic knife board, wall / cupboard hooks, hanging racks, etc? An extra shelf or two in a corner or across alcoves can also mean the difference between a cluttered and a clean kitchen.

homify hint: Don’t buy in bulk. Having only what you need in your kitchen is a clever way of freeing up valuable space. Bulk items eat up legroom essential for those items you need easy access to, which can make even the simple task of cooking a tricky scenario. Keep a checklist of your kitchen staples and the amounts needed at any time and replenish only when they run out. 

2. Change your small kitchen: Move the washing machine

Handle less Polar white Glamour Modern kitchen by PTC Kitchens Modern
PTC Kitchens

Handle less Polar white Glamour

PTC Kitchens

It’s not uncommon to see a washing machine in a kitchen, especially when you’re stuck for space. But most Europeans prefer to move their washing machines into another room – like the bathroom – to free up legroom in their cooking space.

If your bathroom is equally tiny, consider squeezing that washing machine into a cupboard or under the stairs. 

If there’s really no alternative to having your separate washer and dryer in the kitchen, consider stacking them atop one another in an old larder cupboard. At least this frees up a little space and keeps them out of sight. 

homify hint: Speaking of finding a specific place for everything in your kitchen, make sure that every little element in your kitchen (from the smallest teaspoon to the largest appliance) has their own designated space. That way, your small kitchen is less likely to feel cramped, and you’ll also always know where everything is.

3. Change your small kitchen: Switch up the sink

Kitchen Modern kitchen by A2studio Modern



No space for a dishwasher in your small kitchen? How about changing up that tiny sink to make washing dishes a quick and painless chore? We recommend a double sink with one bowl for washing and the other for dirty dishes. This will ensure you have a space to stack the dirty items (like wine glasses after a dinner party) and keep them out of sight until it’s time for washing up without cluttering your work zones. 

4. Change your small kitchen: Add storage helpers

Contemporary design redefined by Neptune Modern

Contemporary design redefined


Even though cupboards and drawers are the biggest heroes of battling clutter, chances are that you’re not getting what you can out of them. That’s where internal storage solutions can make all the difference. Consider retrofitting wire racks that pull out of corners or slim cupboards, plinth drawers, and drawer dividers (which will also help keep those elements in their respective places).  

Go even further with a mobile solution, such as a trolley or butcher’s block on castors, which can become your very own kitchen island / breakfast bar that just rolls out of the way when required. 

5. Change your small kitchen: Tidy up your work zones

Harbourside kitchen Country style kitchen by Tim Jasper Country
Tim Jasper

Harbourside kitchen

Tim Jasper

Any kitchen is a work zone before it’s a socialising hot spot, and if your worktops are cluttered it defeats the purpose of having a cooking- and prepping space. Keep your worktops clean, neat and tidy by ensuring only the necessary elements that get used every day are placed on them (i.e. coffee machine, chopping boards). Everything else (utensils, tea cups, spice jars, cutlery bins) can find their own hiding spots out of sight.

6. Change your small kitchen: Keep the scheme simple

​Hardvendel Design Modern kitchen by Hardvendel Design Modern
Hardvendel Design

​Hardvendel Design

Hardvendel Design

Nothing visually cramps up a space like dark colours. And even though there’s something elegant about charcoal-tinted walls and black kitchen islands, one really needs to reconsider the colour palette when it comes to small kitchens.

Make your cooking space more open and light with white (or off-white, or cream, or soft beige, or light grey… ) walls. Take it further with sleek, contemporary details that help to open up the space and spread the light around. 

Remember that light, reflective materials and minimal designs are crucial for small kitchens, which is why we recommend white or frosted glass cabinet doors, white stone or stainless steel worktops, and backsplash tiling in subdued colours (and with as little pattern as possible). 

And don’t overlook the lighting, as good lighting can make any kitchen (regardless of colour) look bigger. Consider the following: 

• LED strip lights under cabinets and on shelves to illuminate a small, dark work zone

• Replacing incandescent light bulbs with modern energy-efficient ones

• Pendant lights that can clip onto existing track-lighting systems to add more layers to your kitchen lighting

• Adding a mirror to a kitchen wall or opting for a mirrored backsplash to help spread the light around.

To rectify the storage problem in your bathroom, have a look at these 9 bathroom unit ideas.

Got any other hints for making a small kitchen look bigger and better?
Whitton Drive by GK Architects Ltd Modern

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