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Big ideas for small kitchens

Make the most of your kitchen with careful planning and the latest space-saving solutions.

RATIONELL carousel; Pull-out stainless steel-effect work surface

1&2. Make the most of your available space: (1) If you have lots of utensils, pots and pans, try this RATIONELL carousel with two adjustable melamine covered shelves, £41 from IKEA. It fits easily into a standard corner base unit.

(2) This pull-out stainless steel-effect work surface fits into a standard size drawer, making it ideal for whenever you need extra worktop space. It costs £226 from Wickes – but the work surface isn’t suitable for use with in-frame units.

Cream and Graphite Shaker-style kitchen; Pronorm kitchen with perfect working triangle for cooking

3. Add an accent colour: Bright or dark units can overpower a small room, but you can introduce colour in other ways. Add doors in an accent shade to units to create interest, or if you have space for an island, go for a bold or contrasting finish.

Featuring oak worktops and available in a wide range of shades, including Cream and Graphite (shown), this Shaker-style kitchen is from John Lewis of Hungerford. It costs from £17,500, including appliances, cabinetry and worktops

4. Go open-plan: If you’re living with a small kitchen and cramped dining room, think about joining the two rooms to open up the space if it is possible (subject to the usual planning regulations).

It is important to include as much storage and work space as you can. Although compact in size, this ClassicLine kitchen from Pronorm has the perfect working triangle for cooking, preparing food and washing up, plus it has plenty of storage in the bank of tall units and even has room for a dining space at the breakfast bar. It features units in Lava Grey combined with a pale woodgrain finish and white, giving it a warm yet spacious feel. The doors come in lacquered and laminate options. The cost of the kitchen shown is around £14,000, including installation.


Jason McNultyExpert advice

Jason McNulty, head of product development at Wren Kitchens, says: ‘Choose storage that extends your space, such as extra-deep drawers, carousel and magic corner cabinets that will hold a multitude of storecupboard essentials, plus adjustable cutlery dividers that store away large utensils as well as your everyday cutlery. Wall accessories will keep your work surfaces clutter-free.’


Edwardian-style kitchen; Kitchen with marble worktops

5. Bring light into the room: Ensure there is plenty of natural light in the kitchen. If there is space, a floor-length window will make a long galley layout feel larger, and if the room is part of a single-storey extension, consider having rooflights fitted.

This Keats design by Wren Kitchens features classic Edwardian styling with units in a satin ivory finish. White worktops and frosted glass unit doors help create a spacious feel. From £1,167 for eight units, delivered and fully assembled.

6. Choose pale colours: Dark colours will make a space feel smaller, while lighter shades will help ensure a small room appears larger. This rule of thumb applies just as much to kitchen cabinetry as to other surfaces, such as walls and worktops.

Shown with Carrara marble worktops, this smart Urbo kitchen in matt lacquer is by Roundhouse. The mini breakfast bar makes the most of unused floor space. From £30,000, including cabinetry, installation, worktops, appliances and splashbacks.

Laminate worktops; Kitchen with dual worktop and breakfast bar

7&8. Make space for a dining area: Not all kitchens have enough room to fit a family size table and chairs comfortably, but with some clever planning and the addition of a few bar stools, even the smallest space can incorporate a dining area.

(7) Bushboard’s Omega laminate worktop range has a component with curved ends, which can be used as a breakfast bar or cut down to create a low-level table (as shown in Tessera Cream). The six designs, (H)4x(W)95x(L)200cm, cost around £50 per m

(8) The worktop in this Lansdowne ivory painted oak kitchen doubles up as a breakfast bar. Hand-finished, the design can be painted in a choice of 15 colours, or have an oak finish. From £5,000, excluding installation and appliances, Christopher Mark Kitchen from Glotech Kitchens.


Debbie BowdenExpert advice

Debbie Bowden, designer at Barnes of Ashburton, says: ‘The beauty of commissioning a bespoke design is that the cabinetry is made with your kitchen size in mind. Every centimetre is used resourcefully to create efficient work space and storage. Worktops can be reduced in depth and cabinets scaled down in size – it’s all possible as each component is made to measure.’


IKEA kitchen; Bespoke kitchen in painted limewood

9. Reflect light with gloss finishes: Units, work surfaces, splashbacks and appliances with a shiny or high-gloss finish will help make your kitchen feel much lighter and brighter.

This new ABSTRAKT/FAKTUM yellow-white kitchen from IKEA is shown here with stylish BUCKLA nickel-plated unit handles, from £10 for two, and NUMERÄR work surfaces with a metal-effect edge, from £35 for (W)62x(L)126cm. Prices start from £67 for a FAKTUM base unit with an ABSTRAKT door, excluding the legs.

10. Create the illusion of space: Wall units make a small kitchen seem top-heavy and can appear to dominate the room. Swap them for open shelving and plate racks to keep the look simple and airy.

Bespoke and hand-crafted, this kitchen in limewood, by Barnes of Ashburton, is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Teresa’s Green. From £15,000 for a similar kitchen, including installation but excluding appliances.

Slimline freestanding gas double oven; Narrow fridge-freezer

11&12. Look out for slimline design: (11) An average size cooker fits a (W)60cm space – the width of a standard base unit – but this freestanding Belling FSG50DO gas double oven is (W)50cm. It has a gas top oven with electric grill and a large gas oven below. (H)90- 91.5x(W)50x(D)60cm, £450

(12) Unlike American-style fridge-freezers designed for deeper cabinetry, AEG’s Perfekt Fit S95800XTM0 will align flawlessly with your units. Rated A+ for energy efficiency, it has LED lighting and an optional wine cellar unit. (H)185.5x (W)109x(D)57.5cm, £2,999.

Rimini kitchen in natural oak finish

13. Opt for light-coloured worktops: When planning your kitchen, consider all the elements that will pull your look together. Dark work surfaces can make a small room feel gloomy, especially if it isn’t well lit. Choose light-coloured work surfaces to cheat the eye and make your space feel bigger than it really is.

Shown in a Natural Oak finish, this Rimini kitchen with Maia work surfaces is from John Lewis. It also comes in Spring White, Sanded Oak, and Warm Cherry. A John Lewis kitchen starts from £10,000, excluding installation and appliances.