15 Space Saving Design Ideas for a Small Kitchen

by interior designer

in Kitchen

Creating more space in a small room is one of the most common problems an Interior Designer faces. Just how does one add more room or create the illusion of a larger working area in a tiny kitchen environment? To answer some of these problems, I have created a list of 15 space saving design ideas for a small kitchen. Some are relatively cheap to apply whilst others are more expensive, however each and every one is something I have successfully employed during my career as a professional Interior Designer.

1. White Walls

Lighter colors such as white, cream and yellow create an illusion of more space in any type of interior. For a small kitchen, white walls have various benefits. These include giving the visual appearance of a larger room and more brightness which aids emotional well-being, especially during the Winter months.

2. Understated Look

Subtlety is a big bonus when it comes to designing a small kitchen. More often than not, the more simple and streamlined a room is, the bigger it feels. To do this in the kitchen, think about dark units such as black or dark brown complimented with lighter work surfaces. This will lead to units that are barely noticed but in turn make the kitchen looker bigger.

dark-kitchen-units3. Reflective Surfaces

If you’re the adventurous type and like expressive and visually dynamic designs, then you should consider reflective kitchen surfaces. These will not only increase the amount of light in the kitchen but also give the illusion of more space. Consider reflective work surfaces, cabinet fronts, wall treatments and even large decorative and reflective accessories.

4. A Kitchen Island

Work space will be at a premium in a small kitchen. It’s therefore important to find ways of increasing table top surfaces. One way to do this is with a kitchen island. Now not all small kitchens will be suitable for this and its true that this solution is for the ‘small-medium’ sized kitchens rather than the ‘small-small’ ones. The shape of your kitchen will also play apart in deciding whether an island is applicable to your kitchen interior space.

5. Breakfast Bar or Trolley

These work in a similar way to a kitchen island but are usually smaller. If your kitchen is too small for an island, then consider a breakfast bar or trolley. One of my favorite solutions is the butcher block kitchen cart which I have written about before on this site. These versatile and manoeuvrable kitchen accessories provide a cutting board, small table and storage unit all in one and can be wheeled out into other rooms in the home. I think they are absolutely wonderful.

butcher-block-cart-for-kitchen6. Tall Cabinets

Wall space becomes ever more vital in a small kitchen. The solution in making your kitchen feel bigger is to install taller cabinets. These can reach right up to the ceiling depending on how high it is. Step stools can be used to reach the highest shelves. This solution however is probably not ideal for the older generation as reaching and climbing could be difficult. Tall cabinets will lead to the illusion of a higher ceiling and larger kitchen as well as provide important extra storage space.

7. Wall Space Over Sinks

One of the most wasted spaces in the kitchen is the wall area over the sink. In my own kitchen I have fitted a shelf directly over the sink on which I display my favorite decorative vases and ceramics. Consider doing the same with one, two or even three layers of shelving. You can then use the shelves as extra storage, places for cookbooks or as areas to show off your best decorative accessories.

wall-space-over-sinks8. Window Shelving

It’s important in a small kitchen to let in as much light as possible. Too many poorly designed kitchen interiors have large wall units close to small windows which unfortunately hamper the amount of light being let in. Keep the wall units in a small kitchen away from the windows and instead fit open shelving. The shelf itself can go just beneath the window or if they are large, you can even have it going across the windows. However, keep the shelf simple and preferably white or a light color wood.

9. A Skylight

If possible, add a skylight to the kitchen. My neighbours have a titled skylight which allows in extra light into their kitchen and this works very well. Not only do they get more natural daylight but also a view of their beautiful garden trees and the summer skies. For a small kitchen, a skylight works wonders.

skylight-in-small-kitchen10. French Doors

Like the skylight, this option will increase natural daylight into a small and poky kitchen. However, it’s an expensive challenge if you don’t already have the opening in the wall where the doors will go. If you’re willing to spend money and have some building work done, then French Doors will be a fantastic way to increase the feeling of space in a small kitchen. If you have a nice garden to look on to, then that’s even better.

11. Integrated Appliances

Integrated appliances are very common but it is worth mentioning nonetheless. In order to save space in a small kitchen, it is vital to integrate appliances like the cooker, fridge and dishwasher into wall units. In my own kitchen, I have placed all the large electric appliances in with the other units and hidden the fronts. To a guest, it is at first difficult to know where the fridge and dishwasher actually are. I personally like it this way and it makes the kitchen seem larger and cleaner.

hanging-kitchen-pots12. Hanging Pots and Pans

Depending on the height of the ceiling, a hanging pot and pan rack is a great way to save space. There are numerous styles, sizes and types which can suit a wide variety of kitchen interiors. Again, I’ve written about one of my favorite hanging pot racks on this site before. Some come with inbuilt lighting which can kill two birds with one stone. Perfect for a small kitchen.

13. Downlighters

Light, whether natural or artificial, is more difficult to achieve the smaller the kitchen is. Wall units tend to cast dark shadows over the lower work surfaces as do our very own shadows as we work on preparing and cooking food. Work spaces are already cluttered so lamps are out of the question. The answer lies in downlighters which can be fitted to the base of overhanging kitchen units and shelving. These will provide light without the worry of loose cables and space conservations. Downlighters also look good and can enhance the ambiance of a small kitchen interior.

open-metal-kitchen-shelving-unit14. Open Storage

A good way to increase the appearance of more space is to get rid of cupboard doors. However, this might not always be desirable depending on the kitchen theme and style. The solution lies in large metal frame shelving units rather like the ones you see in some stores. Whilst not suitable for the storage of food, which can be kept in regular units, the open frame metal shelving can be used to store utensils, pots, pans, baking equipment, dry food and towels.

15. Use Hidden Space

Depending on your skill at carpentry and metalwork, you can use creativity to make use of hidden spaces. By thinking outside the box you can come up with all sorts of wonderful ways to create extra space in a small kitchen. Perhaps you can make a table and chair come out from within a wall unit, or have an extra storage compartment in the floor which you access by lifting up a hatch. The possibilities are numerous for you to engage in some imaginative fun which will also be of benefit for you in a small kitchen interior.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Keli 08.08.09 at 13:31

Great suggestions! The only one I am not crazy about is 12 – I’ve not seen this done well very often. When the kids where young and we had a small kitchen, my favourite space saver was a fold out wall mount table from Ikea – when they needed a space to snack or hang out while I cooked it was there, when we needed the traffic space it disappeared.

interior designer 08.09.09 at 10:14

Hanging racks depend quite a bit on the height of the ceiling and various other factors. If done right, they can look great and be very practical.

I like fold outs too if built well and visually pleasing. They can be excellent for a small kitchen.

Leyla 08.11.09 at 17:10

These are all great suggestions!! Lots of inspiring ideas! I love that butcher block kitchen cart – such a versatile and pretty little piece!

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