Can small kitchen design be contemporary, efficient, and interesting? We, here at ModernOctopus definitely believe it can. Just because you live in a tiny home, it doesn’t mean you need to give up on the idea of a fully functional, chic cooking space. After all, a properly designed kitchen, be it big or small, can definitely save you a lot of money on takeout and restaurant meals. So, check out these 15 small kitchen design ideas, and learn how you can render your kitchen more efficient, as well as more visually appealing.
1. The More Compact, the Better
How compact can a refrigerator be, you ask? As compact as possible, these days. We live in the world of petite supremacy in terms of appliance sizes. Nowadays, more and more appliance producers recognize the importance of saving space. This is why they’re making 24-inch deep fridges instead of the classical 30-inch deep ones. ‘Floating’ appliances are also a common sight, which help save countertop space.
2. Crisscrossing Tiles for Your Small Kitchen Design
If your kitchen is shaped more like a longitudinal rectangle, rather than a square, you might want to ditch traditional tiling models. Opt for diagonal or crisscrossing tile patterns. They create an interesting visual effect and an optical illusion of sorts for your small kitchen design. Also, they add dynamism to the room and guide the eyes of onlookers lengthwise. Aside from creating a sense of length and motion, they also enhance the space by adding a certain type of diversity to otherwise unitary designs.
3. Diversity Is the Spice of Life
What better place to spice things up than the kitchen? By varying the materials your furniture and finishes use, you can add a touch of personality, style, and even class to a small kitchen. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the finishes, as long as the kitchen maintains a unitary style of design. Go for wood, steel, glass, and fabric, but make sure the overall look of the kitchen is coherent.
Note how, in the above photo, there’s quite a wide range of textures, colors, and materials used. Still, the finished kitchen still comes out looking cohesive and somewhat retro-chic as far as small kitchen design layouts go.
Pictured: Sofielund kitchen from Ikea
4. Eyes on the Sky
For most condo dwellers, getting a skylight installed is sadly not an option. However, if you own a house or are thinking of adding a kitchen, you should probably consider getting a glazed ceiling. This solution is all the more appropriate if you live in a warm climate – or if you can afford good quality thermal insulation.
Indeed, a skylight will make it more difficult to maintain warm temperatures during the colder season. However, it’s also probably the most efficient solution if you’re looking to maximize visual space. Note how the above kitchen employs the color black for the furniture for a very small kitchen design.
Pictured: Schiffini Kitchen by DesignSpace London
5. The Glossier, the Better
Stainless steel, chrome, and even sterling surfaces (for those who can afford them) are a great way to visually enhance a small kitchen design. The light plays right off them even in a small kitchen design. As a bonus, they’re also incredibly easy to maintain. All you need is a soft piece of cloth and a batch of quality non-abrasive detergent.
Obviously, glossy appliances and veneers are not a new trend and have been around for decades. But, just in case you thought their time had passed, worry not. They’re still a good option for any homeowner who wants a small kitchen design. Plus, glossy metallic surfaces like those pictured above, work amazingly well with rich, warm, natural wood tones.
Pictured: Wooden floor from UK Flooring Direct.
6. Angular & Interesting
If you live in a loft, you might be pressed for space in every sense of the word, not just where your kitchen is concerned. However, slanted ceilings are no reason to panic. In fact, they add a creative touch to the space. They also make you become all the more resourceful in planning the shelving and storage space.
When spaces are narrowed down for architectural reasons, you need to make absolutely sure you’re utilizing every spare inch of potential storage room. And there’s no reason you can’t make it work. Who said the ceiling is no place for a spice rack? This is one of the best small kitchen ideas on a budget.
Pictured: Furniture from the IT collection from B&Q
7. Islands in the Kitchen Stream
When you have an open floor plan to build upon, as is the case in the home pictured above, breakfast islands become your best friends. Note the typically Swedish design of the home and living room space in the photo. It’s all white, with chrome-covered steel for the appliances and several color accents here and there. In the middle of it all stands a sleek breakfast island, both functional and elegant. It has a recessed sink in the middle. What’s missing? Nothing but a glass of O.J. and some pancakes, if you ask us.
8. Shine a Light
Light is perhaps the most important ingredient when you have to make do with a small space. Of course, natural lighting is always the preferred alternative. Still, no matter how amply bathed in sunrays your kitchen is, you’re always going to end up with shaded nooks and crannies. One clever contemporary solution to such a conundrum is to fit these spaces with spotlights.
You can mount lights underneath your cabinets and kitchen counters. Their soft glow is going to add a touch of coziness even to the most austere design. As a bonus, most such lights come with LED lighting and other types of environmentally-friendly light bulbs.
How’s that for a small kitchen design and tips?
9. Open up!
Having open shelving units mounted in your kitchen is both a blessing and a curse, in a certain sense. On the one hand, it forces you to keep your kitchen neat, clean, and clutter-free. Note that anything that’s out in the open is immediately visible to all your visitors. On the other hand, though, not only does this mean you’re likely to have a tidier kitchen than most, but it also allows you to free up more space visually. Open shelves also allow ceiling lights to shine down from above and thus enhance lighting conditions.
10. A Cooking Room with a View
Are you familiar with the term galley kitchen? It’s the type of kitchen that expands lengthwise, rather than in width. In terms of a small kitchen design, you can make this work to your advantage. Create a ‘framed’ view at the far end of the room. Keep the rest of the design neat, clean, and monochromatic. You can also have an ample window or glazed door mounted at the far end. Frame it with curtains, or simply let the beauty of the great outdoors speak for itself.
Pictured: Keats kitchen from Wren Kitchens
11. Tuck Away Those Chairs
Nowadays, there are countless ways to make your furniture more compact. Folding tables, chairs, or dining sets can be found at Ikea and several other major furniture producers. If your kitchen is small, you’re probably going to want to research such pieces and find a style that fits the overall décor. Pictured above, such a design in a glossy stainless finish, which also benefits from the boost in lighting that steel brings to any room.
12. Kitchens with Glass Cabinets…
… can look ampler, no matter how small they are, in reality. Now, having a full kitchen decked out in glass cabinets sounds like a maintenance nightmare. However, you can replace a couple of wooden cabinets here and there with glass veneered ones. The cool part is that you can match them up with just about any style. It doesn’t matter how rustic or contemporary it is. The part you need to pay attention to is the clutter inside. See-through doors make neatness a must. So do simple kitchen designs.
13. What’s Your Flavor?
Growing up in a small home with a garden and a small kitchen design has probably got you longing for the taste of fresh mint, basil, and oregano. Luckily for you, we have a solution that can help you put together a selection of your favorite fresh herbs. Simply hang them up on your window, instead of blinds or curtains. Not only will your small kitchen design look more interesting, but it’s going to smell amazing and fresh, too.
Pictured: Norrtorp collection kitchen from Ikea
14. A Window Frame
Old houses in particular sometimes come with awkwardly placed windows that you might feel tempted to block out with a cabinet. That, however, would deprive your tiny cooking space of some much-needed natural light. As such, why not frame it as a picture window, instead? Frame it with curtains, but also with the kitchen furniture around it. Don’t conceal it, make it work to your aesthetic advantage!
Pictured: Nexus collection kitchen from Ikea
15. Who Cares About Curtains?
They may be quaint and they may be a go-to option for those in need of privacy. However, for all their qualities, curtains are best avoided when it comes to small kitchen design and planning. That’s because they will inevitably diminish the amount of natural lighting available in the room. Also, most curtains tend to add visual clutter to the space.
Therefore, since clutter-free is an important principle when dealing with small living spaces, that’s another reason to leave your windows unadorned. Besides, if privacy really is an issue, you can use window film and decals, as a good-looking compromise.
Pictured: Bespoke kitchen from Barnes of Ashburton
A small kitchen design can be both practical and aesthetically pleasing, as long as you know how to make the most of the space you have. From smart, foldable furniture to a lot of natural light, open shelving units, and more, these small kitchen design ideas can provide you with the inspiration you need to decorate your cooking space. Do you have a small kitchen? How did you choose to decorate it? Tell us about it below.
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