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Whatever the size of your kitchen, it’s the hub of the home. Whether you live with your family or as a couple, with pets or entirely on your own, it’s always surprising to find how much of your home life revolves around the kitchen. And, as it is the most focal point of the home, let’s give it some love!
If your kitchen is a little on the bijou side, don’t despair. Even the smallest of kitchens can be upgraded and you don’t necessarily need to have a big home improvement budget either. Take inspiration from our interior design tricks and tips below that you can use to make the space look bigger.
The key factor that helps a small space look larger is to think in terms of clever organisation, layout and concealed storage that will make it easy to keep your tiny kitchen tidy and streamlined at all times and minimise any clutter.
How about using drawer dividers to maximise space, put utensil hooks or shopping lists on the inside of cabinet doors, or fit open shelving with hooks underneath for double functionality? Narrow pull-out larders can be an excellent solution for skinny gaps and they can hide a vast amount of kitchen paraphernalia from view.
If worktop space is at a premium, have a piece of timber worktop cut to size to fit over the sink when needed and slid into a cupboard when not needed. Alternatively, a sliding board might fit under the worktop for pulling out as necessary. Finally, integrate appliances where you can and look out for slimline dishwashers and washing machines that are more in proportion with the rest of the room.
If your kitchen space is limited on account of the room’s small footprint, think in terms of volume rather than area. Draw the eye upwards and make the most of the available wall space. In fact, the higher the ceilings, the better.
Take kitchen wall cabinets all the way up to the ceiling and stack shelves vertically. To add to the sense of height, swap horizontal cupboard handles for vertical ones, and hang wall art in portrait, not landscape, format.
Elongate the window and give it a cleaner silhouette by getting rid of curtains and fitting space-saving window blinds that can be hidden out of the way at the top of the window when not in use.
Just because the space is small doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have a breakfast area. All it takes is some lateral thinking. If yours is a long, thin galley kitchen, would you be able to fit in a small breakfast bar or drop-leaf table? If the space is a bit wider, perhaps a round pedestal table for two might be an option? Not only does this style take up the least space both visually and practically, it also allows you to store a couple of chairs or stools underneath.
Should a corner (ideally by the window) be available, a small square table and built-in bench storage seating could be the way to go. The table might double up as extra food prep space, while hidden under-seat storage can hold a multitude of kitchen ‘stuff’ that you don’t necessarily want to have on display.
A minimalist lifestyle may not be your cup of tea, but in a small but perfectly formed kitchen, clutter is public enemy number one. And, while a neat and tidy kitchen is everyone’s Holy Grail, this can only be achieved if you exercise restraint.
Be very discerning indeed about any and all items that are in the kitchen and ask yourself each time: Do I need this and, if so, does it have to live in the kitchen? Could recipe books go into a bookcase in the living room? Would decorative china and glass look better displayed in the dining room? Lastly, are there more effective ways to store a few wine bottles at home than a dedicated wine rack?
What’s more, in a room with a small footprint it helps to keep the floor space as free as possible. Move rubbish bins into cupboards and ensure that there’s nothing on the floor that doesn’t have to be there.
We all know that lots of natural daylight is a sure-fire way of making a room look bigger. Keep windows unobstructed (and cleaned regularly!) and choose a light and neutral colour scheme to help to bounce the light around the room. If your kitchen is dark as well as small, perhaps with a window that faces north or where the light is blocked by a nearby building – or, worse, no window at all! – you need to try harder to get some light in.
Mirrors are an obvious answer, as is the use of reflective surfaces generally. High gloss cabinets, quartz worktops with a sparkle effect, chrome detailing, ceramic tiles – these can all help to make your kitchen feel bright and airy. It goes without saying that good artificial lighting design should always be at the heart of your kitchen scheme.
There are plenty of ingenious ways to make your kitchen appear larger than it actually is. So, as the tips above outline, the kitchen – and central hub of most people’s homes – can seem roomier without denting your bank balance or your stylish decor.
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