If you think your dream kitchen is out of reach because you don’t have enough space, think again. While you may not be able to accommodate a batterie de cuisine worthy of Gordon Ramsay, size is by no means a barrier to your ideal design. A compact kitchen simply calls for some big ideas, smart planning and clever storage solutions.
Most small spaces will accommodate one of the following layouts – a single galley, which is a row of units along one wall, a double galley, which places units along both facing walls, then an L-shaped configuration of units or a U-shape of them if you have room. Islands are more of a luxury in a tight space but if you can, squeeze in a peninsula at the end of one run to provide a breakfast bar for casual dining.
What you’re aiming to do in each is create a working triangle between the sink, hob and fridge. In a U-shape, place each ‘point’ on one of the three runs of cabinetry. L-shapes and double galleys mean that two of the ‘points’ will need to be on one run, while the single galley is trickier. Remember to place appliances at a good distance from each other, with refrigeration at one end, so it can be accessed without entering the kitchen.
Planning a Small Kitchen
Smart Thinking in a Single Galley
Suited to long or narrow rooms, a single galley may seem simple to design but the key is to have only as many units as you need. The right lighting is also very important in a narrow room, as it can be prone to shadows, so keep your task lighting on one circuit and your overhead or mood lighting on another. You may also want to add lighting in other places – in plinths, drawers or glass-fronted cupboards, to make the room seem larger.
Add Drama in a Double Galley
The biggest problem in a double galley is preventing it from feeling like a corridor, so keep tall cupboards to a minimum and opt for open shelving on one wall instead of wall units. It’s important to ensure there’s enough area in the center of the layout to move around comfortably – usually a minimum of two square meters. If you don’t have the luxury of space, you may want to consider reduced-depth units and worktops for one or more of the runs of cabinetry. You should also keep the room bright by fitting a variety of task and overhead lighting.
Love your L-shape Kitchen
Usually, one side of the ‘L’ will be your cooking zone and the other your sink area. Decide which will be which and then consider your cabinetry. Again, don’t pack in too many wall units, which can be imposing. Shelving or a plate rack are better suited to a compact room.
L-shape Kitchen Design
The corner area is the most critical part of an L-shaped kitchen – get it right and the rest of the design will fall into place. Remember to make best use of your single corner – storage carousels can be fitted inside but they don’t make the best use of all the space.
Smart Kitchen Storage
Opt instead for a Le Mans unit or magic corner from “Magnet Trade” that pulls out for easy access.
Small White Kitchen
In a small kitchen, there’s rarely room for a bank of built-in appliances but that doesn’t mean you can integrate at all. In this small white kitchen, a wall gives an extra dimension to cooking.
Curves can be incredibly useful in a small kitchen. Not only do they help to soften the look overall, used on the end of a run of units, they help guide you into the kitchen space and can take any kitchen from simple to stylish in moments.
Dark Cabinet Kitchen
It’s easy to think that dark colors can’t be used in a compact room but given a few design tricks, it can work well while adding impact. “White marble or granite countertop” lighten the look.
Make your U-shape Right for you
Suited to smaller and mid-size rooms, in a U-shape the cabinetry surrounds the cook, meaning all the areas you need are just a step away. One advantage is that when the oven and the sink are placed on opposite sides of the U, the preparation worksurface between the two points becomes extra large and uninterrupted.
Pale gray cabinets, such as this u-shape kitchen, are a smart option for a small scheme if white gloss feels too clinical. Not only does it add warmth to the design, its pale color is just as good at making the room feel airy. Twinned with light marble countertop, you can be a bit more adventurous with the floor.
Be Creative with Your Small Space
There’s a whole host of visual tricks you can use in a small space to add interest to the design. One is making the wall cabinets a feature so that the base units fade into the background.
This split U uses gentle convex curves to draw the eye upwards.
Planning it Right
If your kitchen isn’t huge, and it’s an awkward shape, it can be tricky making the most of what space you have. Instead of trying to use the wall with windows for workspace, this room has dedicated it to an eating area – with vital storage underneath.
Stock up on Storage
A variety of internal storage solutions will push up your budget but they can’t be beaten for making the most of a small kitchen. Carousels that rotate to display their contents, pull-out units that extend fully for easy access and even wire racks on the back of doors will all help to use every inch available. It’s also worth investigating plinth drawers and cupboards that continue up to the ceiling for less frequently used items, such as large platters or seasonal crockery.
Floor space is always at a premium in a small kitchen, so integrate your bin if you can. Choose a split bin, such as this Three-Section Swing ‘Eco’ Bin from “Magnet Trade” and it’ll make recycling or composting a doddle, too.
Clean & Organized
Cans and bottles often become lost at the back of cupboards, so if you invest in just a few internal storage solutions, make one of them a wire larder or wall cabinet unit – not only will it make the contents easier to see and access, it will make the most of a limited capacity.
Small Kitchen Design
When it comes to small kitchens, size doesn’t matter that much, what really matters is how you will design the space you have. I hope these ideas can help you with that!
Images: 1 & 2: The Old Painted Cottage, 3: Horrigan O’Malley Architects, 4 & 5: The Cross Design, 6 & 7: Marianne Simon Design, 8:Magnet Trade, 9: Jeanne Finnerty Interior Design, 10: Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs, 11: Jason Ball Interiors, LLC, 12 & 13: Moroso Construction, 14 & 15: Robert Kelly Architects & Designers, 16: AHMANN LLC., 17:Magnet Trade 18: Magnet Trade 19: ADL III Architecture.
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