Small kitchen design ideas

Designing a small kitchen can be harder than designing a large one: you have all the same requirements, but less space! Here are our top tips for getting everything you need into a limited space.

Cupboards: A cupboard usually has two or three shelves at most; unless you need to store large items, you might be able to get more out of the space by replacing some of your cabinets with drawers. Alternatively, you can increase space inside cabinets by adding baskets on rollers or carousels which allow you to store several layers on one shelf.

Build upwards

How do you make a kitchen bigger without a kitchen extension? You go up of course! Floor-to-ceiling units can house an amazing number of items, and you can use the highest cupboards for things you don’t use that often. Another nifty option can be very low drawers where you would normally just have kickboards – the pieces of material that cover the gap at the bottom of your units – or an extra drawer under the oven for baking trays and cooling racks.

Hang it all

Hanging rails above your worktop save cupboard space and keep utensils close to hand. You can get some pretty comprehensive units, with knife blocks, hooks, magnetic knife strips and even kitchen roll holders. You could free up a whole cupboard this way. Shelves can serve a similar purpose, or you can turn part of an internal wall into shelving, which can not only be accessed from both sides, but will let lots of light through too.

Nooks and crannies

The best small kitchen designs make use of every little space. You can get extra-slim cabinets and drawers for narrow spaces, and items such as bins in the cupboard under the sink.


Try to get compact appliances where you can, or those that perform more than one function – for example, you can get ovens that act as a conventional oven, microwave, grill and steamer all in one.


Drop-leaf or extendable tables are handy for small spaces, as are chairs or stools which can be folded away when not in use. You can even get pull-out tables which are part of the fitted kitchen and slide away completely like a drawer.


Handles might seem inconsequential, but you can catch your clothes, or bump yourself, on handles in tight spaces, so you might want to consider inset handles or drawers without handles, which you push to open. Alternatively, sliding doors won’t open outwards and jut into your space.


Lots of light helps a room feel bigger, so the bigger your windows, the better. As well as external windows, you could incorporate a serving hatch, internal window or glazed door. Glass-fronted or light-coloured cabinets are another way to lighten the feel of the room. And you can add more artificial light by installing under-cupboard lights as well as plenty of overhead illumination.

If you want to do big things with a tiny kitchen, Kent architects Bluelime Home Design have the recipe you need. With thirteen years' experience of providing architectural services in south London and Kent, and offices in Dartford, Bromley, Erith, Bexley and Croydon, we can turn even the most pocket-sized space into something fantastic. Call us on 01322 517632 to see how we can help.

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