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How to Design a Small Kitchen

Updated: Aug 21, 2019

Kitchens as we all know are literally the most expensive room in the house to update, especially as the bigger the kitchen the bigger the cost. However some of us aren't so blessed with large kitchen spaces which then makes for a tricky design situation. Small kitchens are much harder to plan as you still want to fit in all the essentials and feel like you have space. Here I am sharing with you some of my top tips on how to tackle a small kitchen diner space, drawing on a previous project I completed.



Now some people will want to completely rip out the existing kitchen as the units are in a bad condition or the layout is completely wrong. However if you are more wanting to update your current room and want to create a feeling of more space then the first place to look at would be your kitchen cabinet doors. Depending on the material of the doors and of course your budget you have some options, you can either choose to paint the existing doors or alternatively there are so many companies around now that specialise in kitchen doors. These are in such fab designs and in an array of colours and will dramatically alter the appearance of your room. This is a pricey way to update the kitchen and would depend on your overall budget, but still an option nevertheless, and still cheaper than a total new kitchen!

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For a recent project I opted to paint the current kitchen, it was solid wood and seemed sacrilege to rip it out - not every day you come across a solid wood kitchen! As this kitchen in particular was pretty small I decided to paint the lower cabinets in a darker colour, Stiffkey Blue from Farrow & Ball, and the top cupboards were in the same colour as the wall, Drop Cloth, again from F&B. The lower cabinets gave a dramatic update to the space and injected some bold colour, but as it was below eye level it didn't dominate the kitchen or make it look too small or dark. The idea of the top cupboards being the same colour as the wall was so they blended in more and this actually helped the room appear larger as the top section of the kitchen units almost 'disappeared'.




I chose to add some tiling for the backsplash, again these were in practically the same colour as the wall (I couldn't believe my luck when I found them) that they still blended in. Why use them then I hear you asking? Well even though they blended in, in colour they add some much needed texture to the room as it was feeling quite flat before. If I had used more colourful or patterned tiles this would have brought more attention to the middle section of the kitchen and then spoiled the effect I was aiming for of the two tone kitchen, so they had to blend in.


Therefore I added some pops of colour elsewhere in the room. In this instance the room had a small fireplace so we tiled this with some gorgeous mustard tiles from Fired Earth, I had the base painted black and added in a wine rack. The original plan was to have a bespoke made wine rack to fill the space but as my client said - the chances of it ever being full was slim to none so kind of a pointless thing to do and spend money on...so smaller wine rack and feature tiles it was!




Another great tip of you're pushed for space but need to fit in a table and chairs is to use glass. Glass tables are great as they can still be in decent sizes but the beauty is as they are indeed glass and therefor see through they don't appear to take up much space. Being see through it means you see more of the room creating the illusion of a larger space, well not highlighting how small a space is! You could go one step further and have lighter chairs than I actually used here but I wanted to keep that injection of colour and add some luxury so these utterly fabulous mustard velvet chairs were used.




Do think about your adjoining rooms and what is visible from the kitchen. In this property there was a hallway leading to the back door and bathroom and there was no door due to lack of space. As this area was very visible from the kitchen I used the same colour palette, so the walls and woodwork matched those used in the kitchen. There was a cabinet in the hall that I then painted the same dark blue as the lower kitchen cabinets and used the same new cabinet knobs. This continuity makes that additional space almost feel part of the kitchen and therefore extending the kitchen space, although it seems. If I had used a different colour scheme in here it would have felt disjointed but also would actually have made the kitchen appear smaller in me doing so.




Lastly but most importantly is lighting. Lighting is crucial to any room for a number of reasons. For this particular room the original lighting was poor and made the kitchen feel dark and in turn smaller, with some small adjustments we increased the lighting overall which made the space brighter, and we zoned the kitchen and dining space more, so during dinner the lighting could be more subdued.



Thanks for reading


NB x


Photography by Simply C Photography

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