Design of small kitchens can represent a real challenge because of the need to include key components within a restricted space. Here’s a few design ideas to maximise the use of a small kitchen:
1. Layout – form vs function
Small kitchen layout is critical. Don’t let yourself be constrained by your current oven or sink position. Think about how repositioning the oven, sink or hob may make for a much more functional kitchen. It’s also far better to arrange your sink and appliances so you have one larger prep area than 2 or 3 smaller sections.
2. Clear the work surface
If you are pressed for work top space, then buying a Quooker boiling water tap and putting your microwave into a wall unit may make a significant improvement in available work surface.
3. Use your wall space
There are some great wall storage systems about which allow you to store herbs spices, kitchen roll, knives and utensils off the surface yet in easy reach. For example, the Sensio Midway system allows you to combine under unit lighting with storage. http://www.sensio.co.uk/kitchen-lighting/under-cabinet-strip-lighting/MidwayV1Silver.html
4. Integrated appliances for a more cohesive look
In a small kitchen 2 or 3 freestanding appliances are more noticeable than in a larger design and can break up an otherwise cohesive design. Using integrated kitchen appliances helps the door style to flow throughout the kitchen.
5. Drawers over cupboards
Leave your preconceptions about what drawers are and aren’t for behind. Just think about a drawer as pull-out shelf. No need to take out the front contents of a shelf to get to the back. Open a kitchen drawer and everything is accessible whether that’s plates, pans or food. Drawers in compact kitchens maximise accessibility and the functionality of your kitchen. Choose a mix of deep and shallow drawers where possible.
6. Drainer Grooves
If you are having granite, quartz or Corian work surfaces then an undermount sink with (or without) drainer grooves will give the appearance of more worksurface and allows the draining area to more easily be used for other purposes than with an inset sink.
7. Compact sink and drainer
Consider a compact sink design – whether it’s inset or undermounted a compact sink will help you maximise available work surface and reduce the size of the sink base unit you need to house it in.
8. Handleless kitchen design
Think about using a handleless door design – not only do handleless designs give an uncluttered look in a small space the lack of protruding handles means that fillers in corners can be kept to an absolute minimum without restricting door and drawer opening.
9. Maximise cupboard space
Select a kitchen range which maximises cupboard storage. A wider range of available door widths can give more design flexibility and minimise the width of fillers used. Also consider whether tall wall units give you much needed additional kitchen cupboard space.
10. Light it up
Think about the overall composition of your kitchen scheme. Light and/or glossy surfaces can help bounce light around the room and make a small kitchen feel more spacious.
11. Get into the corners
In a small kitchen the corner units will be proportionally more important than a larger kitchen. Think about using good quality kitchen cupboard pull-outs which give you good access. To save cost and maximise access try to incorporate “L” corner cabinets which give good access into a corner where a standard shelf is used.
12. Plinth drawers
If storage is at a premium and you have a built under oven, then a plinth drawer can provide additional storage. They fit in the space under a built under oven to give a pan drawer depth unit – perfect for deeper roasting tins and baking trays in compact kitchens.
Can fitting a tall narrow column radiator or a plinth heater free up valuable wall space to maximise the space available in a small kitchen for additional cupboard space?
14. Tall housings can still have their place
Sometimes we are asked to consider the installation of tall oven housings or full height fridge/freezers in a restricted space environment. If the layout is carefully planned a tall unit can create space for a larger fridge or position an oven at a much more comfortable height.
15. Think outside the box!
If budget is permitting sometimes it is worth considering how structural changes to a kitchen and adjoining rooms may improve your kitchen design and function. If you have more than one window will blocking one window up help you to create an improved layout? How about taking out a wall to an adjoining room, it can result in a more sociable room with a more open feel. Is there an under stairs cupboard – it may be worth seeing if this can be modified to accommodate a fridge housing or larder unit.
Whilst tricky to do well, effective small kitchen design can transform the functionality and the look of a kitchen. Happy kitchen designing!