website(1,) How to Design your own Kitchen: The Complete Guide - Part 1

How to Design your own Kitchen: The Complete Guide - Part 1 of 3

Planning and Conceptualisation: Laying the Foundation for Your Dream Kitchen

Part 1: How to Design a Kitchen - Planning and Concepts

Designing a kitchen isn't just about picking the right appliances or choosing a colour scheme.

It's about crafting a space that's not just attractive, but also functional and tailored to suit your unique lifestyle needs. After all, the kitchen is the heart of a home – it's where meals are created, conversations begin, and special moments take place.

Planning a kitchen design project requires clear goals and careful considerations. Whether you're remodelling an existing kitchen or starting from scratch, it can be both exciting and daunting. The key is to balance practicality with aesthetics, ensuring the space is both productive and easy to use.

In this first part of our three-part series, we'll guide you on your journey to design your own kitchen.

No matter if you want a modern or a cosy, traditional kitchen, our guide has all the information you need to start changing your kitchen.

The Basic Elements of Kitchen Design

Designing a kitchen is like creating a work of art. It requires careful composition with multiple elements in order to create a space that's not only beautiful but also functional.

The key principles of kitchen design are practicality, visual appeal, and comfort.

  1. Ease of Use: A crucial aspect of kitchen design is its functionality. This covers everything from planning your layout for efficient workflow, to choosing appliances and storage that fit your needs. This includes considering the 'work triangle' notion – the distance between your stove, sink, and refrigerator. Their placement should minimise unnecessary movement, making cooking and cleaning tasks more manageable and efficient.

  2. Visual Appeal: Your kitchen should look good as well as being functional. Your personal design preferences play a big part in this. Whether you prefer modern, minimalist designs or a more traditional, country-style look, your kitchen's appearance should reflect your style and match the rest of your home. Think about how different design choices like cabinetry, work surfaces, and colour schemes will look and feel in your kitchen. Remember, aesthetics is not just about how things look, but also about the texture and quality of the materials you choose.

  3. Focus on Comfort: Comfort is often overlooked, yet it's vital for a well-serving kitchen. This involves both the physical ease of moving around the kitchen, and the emotional pleasure of being in a space that feels like home. Getting the kitchen measurements right contributes greatly to this comfort. Customise the height of your countertops, ensure good lighting and sufficient ventilation. Your kitchen should be a place of comfort for cooking and working for prolonged periods, creating a sense of enjoyment and ease.

In the next sections, we will guide you on how to combine key elements to craft a kitchen that suits your taste while being functional and easy to use. We start with your kitchen wishlist and budget.

Creating Your Kitchen Design Wishlist and Budget

Making a wishlist is a fun part of designing your kitchen. Here, you get to merge your dream kitchen ideas with realistic needs to craft a kitchen perfect for your way of life. Here's how to go about it:

1. Building Your Wishlist:

Creating your wishlist means listing everything you want in your ideal kitchen.

Determine Your Essentials and Desires:

  • Begin with the must-haves. What are the things or attributes your kitchen absolutely needs? This could range from basic requirements like adequate space for a dishwasher, to more specific needs such as particular storage for your kitchen items.

  • Think about your cooking style. Do you love baking and need more countertop space, or do you often fry and grill, requiring a stronger ventilation system?

  • Consider your social activities. If you frequently have dinner parties, you might need a kitchen island or bar for guests to mingle.

Collect Ideas:

  • Explore websites such as Pinterest, Instagram, or home design blogs to discover kitchen styles you admire. Search for kitchens that are not only visually pleasing, but also align with your way of life.

  • Go to home exhibitions and kitchen showrooms. This will help you see the kitchen materials and designs firsthand, giving you a better understanding of what you prefer and what may fit in your space.

  • Remember, while you may love certain styles, think about how they will work in your daily life. For example, open shelving might look great, but consider if it is practical for your routine.

Think About the Future:

  • Consider your future needs. If you intend to live in your home for a long time, think about how your requirements may change over time. For example, if you have young children, you may need a child-proof kitchen now, but one that can be easily adapted as they grow older.

  • If you have older relatives in your household, or if you expect to live there as you get older, think about simpler design features. These could include lower work surfaces, storage that is easy to reach, and flooring that is less likely to cause slips and falls.

  • For the long term, think about eco-friendly options. Choosing appliances that save energy, materials that are sustainable, and designs that don't easily go out of fashion can save you money and help the environment.

Creating a detailed wishlist helps you create a kitchen design that isn't just visually appealing, but also suits your lifestyle needs now and in the future.

2. Setting a Realistic Budget:

Creating a practical budget is crucial to match your kitchen desires with your financial situation, making the design journey easy and worry-free.

Check Your Finances:

  • Check your savings and explore various financing options to set a reasonable budget for your kitchen redesign. You might also want to talk to a financial expert for guidance.

  • Keep in mind, spending on your kitchen isn't merely an expense; it's an investment that can boost your home's worth. A properly planned kitchen can greatly raise your property's market value, proving to be a beneficial investment.

Consider All Expenses:

  • Create a detailed list outlining all expected costs. These should include materials like cabinets, countertops, and tiles, plus the cost of appliances and any labour and installation fees.

  • Remember to include often overlooked expenses such as building control fee's, waste disposal, and the cost of eating out during the remodel. These can accumulate and should be included in your budget.

  • Set aside an extra 10-15% of your total budget as a safety net for any unexpected costs. Home improvement projects can often meet unplanned hurdles and having this extra money can help deal with them worry-free.

Cost vs Quality:

  • In your budget, aim to balance saving money with buying quality items. Products like cabinets, worktops, and appliances that are well-made can last longer and work better, making them worth the investment.

  • Think about where you can cut costs without sacrificing the quality. For instance, you could select a cheaper backsplash material or choose more affordable lighting options.

  • Keep in mind, you can always upgrade some parts later. For instance, begin with a simple tap and later switch to a more stylish one, or plan for sophisticated tiling once you've sorted the basics.

Matching Wishlist with Budget:

  • If your budget is limited, you might want to renovate in stages. Begin with the most crucial updates and slowly tick off your wishlist items as you gather the funds.

  • This method can cause less disturbance and gives you the flexibility to modify plans as per your changing tastes or requirements.

By planning your budget and costs well, you can manage your kitchen renovation without financial strain. This involves choosing wisely, balancing cost, quality, and practicality.

Space Utilisation and Layout Planning

Designing a useful and enjoyable kitchen is not only about where items are placed, but also about how the kitchen functions and feels. In this section, we explore how to make the most of your kitchen by considering space utilisation and layout planning.

Consider How You Will Use Your Space:

This phase focuses on matching your kitchen's structure and facilities with your unique cooking, hosting practices, and everyday use to create a space that is practical and pleasant.

Analyse Your Kitchen Activities:

  • Daily Use: Think about what you do in your kitchen every day. Do you make meals quickly, or do you like taking your time when you cook? Do you love coffee and need a special area for your coffee machine, or are you a gourmet cook who needs high-quality appliances?

  • Entertainment Style: Your social habits influence your kitchen design. If you often have dinner parties, consider creating more open space for mingling or a larger oven for big meals. If you prefer quiet family dinners, a small, comfortable dining area might be a better choice.

  • Specialised Interests: If you enjoy activities like baking, canning, or juicing, consider adding special areas or storage designed for these tasks. For example, if you like to bake, you could allocate more countertop space for kneading dough or create a designated spot for a stand mixer. 

Zone Planning:

  • Defining Zones: Break your kitchen into separate areas based on your tasks: preparation area, cooking area, cleaning area, and storage area. Each area should have the right tools and be organised for optimal effectiveness.

  • Prep Zone: This zone is for everyday tasks like chopping and mixing. Keep it near to where you store your kitchen tools and food. A kitchen island or extra countertop area can be useful in this zone.

  • Cooking Area: Prioritise the position of your stove, oven, and microwave. Confirm that there's ample room around these appliances for secure and easy use.

  • Cleaning Zone: Usually around the sink and dishwasher, this space is meant for doing dishes and should be near bins for easy throwing away of garbage and recyclables.

  • Storage Zone: Keep things tidy. Use pull-out drawers for pots and pans, overhead cabinets for plates, and cupboards for groceries. Tailored storage solutions can help use space efficiently and make items easy to reach.

Flexibility and Adaptability:

  • Adaptable Spaces: Think about elements that can serve multiple purposes. For example, a kitchen island with pull-out seats can be used both for food preparation and as an informal eating area.

  • Planning for the Future: Keep in mind how your requirements might change with time. If you have a growing family, you'll need a kitchen that's child-friendly. Alternatively, if you're getting on in years, you might need to think about kitchen designs that are easy to use and accessible.

By carefully thinking about how you use your kitchen and planning different activity areas, you can create a kitchen that looks good and works well for your own specific needs.

Consider the Perfect Layout

Picking the right layout is essential for a kitchen that is practical and fits well with the rest of your home's design. This involves looking at different layout options and finding one that works for your space and way of living. Here's how to do it:

Explore Different Layouts:

  • U-Shaped Layout: This layout is great for larger kitchens. It provides a lot of countertop and cabinet space. It can handle more than one cook at a time and allows for different kitchen areas to be easily separated.

  • L-Shaped Layout: This layout is flexible and works well for all kitchen sizes. It makes good use of corners and is ideal for kitchens that are a part of an open floor plan, blending easily with dining or living spaces.

  • Galley Layout: This design, featuring two parallel work surfaces, is suitable for smaller dwellings. It provides a convenient cooking area by keeping everything close at hand.

  • Island Layout: An island in your kitchen provides more room for preparing meals, storing items, and sitting. This layout works best in larger, open kitchens and can serve as a gathering spot for social events.

Choosing the Right Layout:

  • Matching Your Home's Design: Make sure that your selected layout fits well with the overall design of your home. For instance, a galley layout might be appropriate for a modern, minimalist house, while a U-shaped layout may better suit a traditional, more spacious home.

  • Personal Style and Functionality: Use your personal style to decide on the layout of your kitchen. If you enjoy hosting, a layout with an island could work well. For a cosier cooking experience, consider a U-shape or L-shape layout.

  • Think About Traffic: Consider how people will navigate your kitchen. The layout should allow easy movement and transitions between the kitchen and nearby spaces. Plus, the space needs to cope with the demand especially in busy areas.

  • Spatial Considerations: Always remember the space you have. A layout that fills the kitchen too much or leaves a lot of empty space can make it difficult to use. Think about things like how far doors open, how big your appliances are, and how much space you need to move around.

By looking at different layout choices and how they fit with your home's design, personal taste, and practical needs, you can choose a layout that improves your kitchen's usability and appeal.

Think About the Kitchen Layout

Further planning of your kitchen layout includes more than just selecting its overall shape. It demands careful placement of all elements. This detailed approach guarantees a kitchen that's not only attractive but also highly practical and personalised to your specific requirements.

Kitchen Layout Planning:

  • The working triangle: This is a concept that places your refrigerator, sink, and stove in a triangle layout to improve kitchen efficiency. This setup reduces unnecessary movement and assures easy reach to the three main areas in your cooking space.

  • Appliance Placement: Think about where your appliances are. For example, have your dishwasher near the sink to make it easier to load and position ovens at a comfortable height to avoid bending over.

  • Thinking About Cabinets and Counters: Remember to carefully plan where you'll store things in your kitchen and where you'll do your cooking work. Make sure your storage areas are easy to reach and you have enough space beside the cooker and sink for preparing food. Consider adding extra features like extendable counters and built-in chopping boards.

Customisation for Your Needs:

  • Personalised Zones: If baking is your hobby, design a specific area in your kitchen with storage for baking tools and a countertop at a suitable height for kneading or rolling dough.

  • Creating a Social Space: If your kitchen is more than just a cooking area, think about including a dining section or a breakfast counter. This can help make the kitchen a more welcoming and versatile space.

  • Storage Solutions: Tailor-made storage can improve your kitchen's function. Consider large drawers for cookware, upright storage for baking trays, and special pull-outs for spices and sauces.

  • Ergonomic Design: Modify the layout and design for comfort and efficiency. This could involve lowering countertops for shorter people, lifting dishwashers for easy reach, or using anti-slip floors for safety.

By carefully planning the layout and tailoring it to your needs, you can create a kitchen that is not only visually pleasing but also functions smoothly and comfortably for your unique lifestyle.

Where Do I Start When Planning a Kitchen Layout?

Starting a kitchen layout plan might feel daunting. But, by tackling one step at a time, the task becomes more manageable. This section offers a guide for taking those steps and highlights the value of expert guidance for best outcomes.

Step-by-Step Guide:

  • Measure Your Space: Begin by taking precise measurements of your kitchen. Capture the room's length and width, record the size and location of windows and doors, and jot down the positions of any structural elements such as pillars or radiators. Also, don't forget to measure the height of the ceiling and make a note of any slopes.

  • Outline a Basic Layout: With your kitchen measurements, draw a simple layout of your kitchen. You just need to have a general idea of where key features such as cabinets, appliances, and the sink might be placed. Consider how doors and windows could impact the placement of cabinets and how the kitchen will link with the nearby rooms.

  • Find Possible Issues: Search for any elements that might cause problems while designing, such as hard-to-handle corners, insufficient wall space, or existing plumbing and electrical outlets. Spotting these sooner will assist in devising innovative fixes.

Getting Expert Advice:

  • Seeking Expert Advice: Although planning on your own can be beneficial, getting guidance from a kitchen designer can make a significant difference. They can offer smart solutions for space and layout issues, propose designs which are comfortable to use, and suggest materials and finishes that match your budget and taste.

  • Advantages of Expert Guidance: Kitchen design experts can use 3D modelling tools to help you better imagine your dream kitchen. They can make sure the layout is efficient, there's plenty of storage, and the design looks just the way you want it to.

  • Working Together is Important: Keep in mind, a professional designer's job isn't to control your project, but to make it better. Combining your ideas with their knowledge can lead to the best outcomes.

With these steps and suggestions from a kitchen design expert, you can create a kitchen layout that is both useful and beautifully matches your individual style and necessities.

Style and Aesthetics

After getting the practical elements of your kitchen right, it's time to add a touch of your personal style. This section will guide you on how to make your kitchen not just functional, but also a mirror of your personality and preferences.

Think: Kitchen Colours:

Your kitchen's colour scheme is crucial for setting its feel and atmosphere. It's about more than just what colours you like; the right colour choice can change your kitchen significantly. Here are tips on how to choose colours for your kitchen:

Picking Colours:

  • Complementing Your Home: Make sure your kitchen matches the rest of your house. If your home uses mostly neutral colours, doing the same in your kitchen can help everything flow together.

  • Reflecting Your Personality: Your kitchen should mirror your character. If you like liveliness, think about bright accent walls or coloured cabinets. If you favour a peaceful space, consider using subdued, soft colours to make the area calm and soothing.

  • Creating Cohesion: To create a harmonious look, consider how the colours of your cabinets, countertops, and floors will blend. Test out colour samples to see how they combine.

How Colours Affect Space:

  • Perception of Space: Light colours like whites and pastel tones can make your kitchen seem bigger and brighter. They're a great choice for small or dark kitchens because they reflect light. 

  • Using Dark Colours for Extra Depth: Dark colours bring an element of elegance and depth to a kitchen. They're perfect for bigger kitchens or as standout colours. For instance, a dark blue kitchen island in an otherwise all-white kitchen can be very eye-catching.

  • Finding Colour Harmony: It's all about equilibrium. An excess of light shades can seem barren, while too many dark tones may feel heavy. Mixing light and dark hues, such as dark cabinetry contrasted with light walls, or the other way around, can create a balanced look.

Colour Trends and Timelessness:

  • Staying Trendy vs Timeless: Although picking the latest colour seems appealing, bear in mind kitchens are a long-term commitment. Think about whether you'll still like the fashionable colour in a few years.

  • Classic Choices: Colours such as whites, greys, and beiges never go out of style. You can add vibrance with colourful accessories and appliances, which can be easily replaced as tastes change over time.

By carefully choosing your colours, you can design a kitchen that suits your style. This makes the space more enjoyable to be in.

Make the Right Cabinetry Choice:

Cabinets are not just useful in your kitchen; they also play a big part in the look and feel of the room. Picking the right cabinets requires balancing style and functionality. Here's how to make this important choice:

Choosing Cabinets:

  • Choosing Your Kitchen's Look: Select cabinetry that fits the kitchen style you're going for. It could be modern and sleek, warm and countryside-like, or timeless and traditional. Your cabinets will drive the overall design of your kitchen.

  • Functionality Meets Style: Think about your daily kitchen usage and storage needs. For example, deep drawers could be helpful for heavy items like pots and pans, while cabinets with glass fronts might be ideal for showcasing dishes.

  • Customisation Options: Look at ways to customise your kitchen to maximise your space. This might mean corner cabinets with sliding drawers, special organisers, or unique design elements like open shelves or an integrated wine rack.

Quality and Finish:

  • Material Durability: The type of materials used in your cabinets is important for how long they will last and how strong they will be. Popular materials include solid wood, plywood, and high-density fibreboard, each with different strengths and looks.

  • Finish and Colour: Your cabinet's finish affects your kitchen's appearance. You can choose from natural wood, painted colours, or laminates. Think about how easy it is to maintain and how long each finish will last.

  • Hardware as an Accent: The features (handles, knobs, pulls) can greatly improve your cabinets' look. They can add contrasting elements or match the overall design.

Environmental Considerations:

  • Eco-Friendly Materials: For those conscious about the environment, think about using cabinets that are made from recycled or environmentally friendly materials. Many companies now provide fashionable and eco-conscious options.

  • Energy Efficiency: Good cabinet design can help make your kitchen more energy efficient. It does this by making sure your appliances are correctly fitted and well-insulated.

By choosing cabinetry that suits your style, quality, and finish, you can make sure it fits your needs and lasts a long time, becoming a loved part of your home.

Choose the Cabinet Colour Scheme:

Picking a colour scheme for your kitchen cabinets is an important step in designing your kitchen. It helps set the kitchen's atmosphere, fits in with the total design, and shows your personal taste. Here's how you can choose a colour scheme for your cabinets:

Matching Your Kitchen's Style:

  • Consistency in Design: Make sure the colour of your cabinets matches with the rest of your kitchen's style and colours. This should include elements like the backsplash, countertops, and floor.

  • Choosing the Right Colour Scheme: You can opt for a single colour scheme for a simple and streamlined appearance, use contrasting colours for a dramatic impact, or select complementary colours that blend together well.

  • Visual Balance: Consider the effect of your cabinet colours on your kitchen's lighting. Light colours can make a room feel brighter, whereas dark colours might need extra light to prevent the room from seeming too dark.

Experimenting with Trends and Classics:

  • Timeless over Trendy: Kitchen makeovers can be costly. Hence, it's often smarter to select cabinet colours that won't go out of style quickly. Neutral paints like white, grey, and wood hues usually stay fashionable.

  • Incorporating Trends: For adding fashionable colours, you may choose methods that allow easy changes in the future, like using paint or detachable panels.

  • Mixing and Matching: Don't hesitate to combine traditional and current features. As an example, you can match conventional white top cabinets with vibrant colour base cabinets, giving a modern flair to your typical layout.

Personalising Your Space:

  • Reflect Your Personality: Your kitchen should show who you are. If you like bright colours, try adding them to your cabinets. You could do this with a standout island or chosen feature cabinets.

  • Try Before You Buy: Get colour samples before settling on a choice. See how they look in your kitchen with both natural and artificial lighting at various times of the day. This ensures your satisfaction with the colour under all circumstances.

Adding your own flair to the kitchen's look is vital for creating a space that feels like home. It's about finding the right mix of fashionable and classic design, to ensure your kitchen is beautiful, warm, and inviting. Next, we'll offer design tips for small kitchens, to help you make the most of your available space.

Design Considerations for Small Kitchens

Creating a well-organised and stylish small kitchen can be challenging, but with careful planning, you can make the most out of the available space. This part covers strategies to enhance the practicality and visual appeal of a small kitchen, making it as enjoyable as a bigger one.

Use Light Colours in a Small Kitchen

When dealing with tiny kitchens, your choice of colours can make a big difference. Using lighter shades can help your small kitchen seem more open and roomy. Let's take a closer look at how to use light colours in your design:

Creating the Illusion of Space:

  • Maximising Light: Light shades like whites and soft pastels bounce light around, making the space seem brighter and more spacious. Think about using these colours for your walls, cabinets, and worktops.

  • Keeping the Colour Consistent: Applying the same light colour to various elements like the walls, cabinets, and floor can make the room appear bigger. This doesn't necessarily mean you should use exactly the same shade everywhere, but sticking to a light colour scheme can be helpful.

  • High-Gloss Finishes: To make your small kitchen feel bigger, think about using high-gloss finishes. Their shiny surfaces will reflect light around the room, which can enhance the feeling of space.

Balancing with Accents:

  • Avoiding a Dull Appearance: Although light shades can make a space seem larger, using just one colour might make the kitchen look dull. To keep it interesting, add some contrasting colours.

  • Adding Vibrant Accents: Brighten up your kitchen by adding colourful accessories, backsplash tiles, or small appliances. These dashes of colour will make the kitchen more lively and give it a personal touch.

  • Strategic Colour Placement: Think about where the best spots might be to use bold colours. Places like a vibrant backsplash or colourfully dressed windows can create a central point of attention, adding excitement to the room without making it feel too busy.

Layering with Lighting:

  • Improving with Light Fixtures: Good lighting is important in a small, bright-coloured kitchen. Use a mix of general room lighting and specific task lighting under cupboards or over work areas to make the space bright and useful.

  • Using Light to Make Spaces: Use different lights to separate your kitchen into areas. For example, hanging lights can be used over a dining space, and lights under cabinets can brighten up work areas. This adds both usefulness and beauty.

For a small kitchen, using light colours along with some bright accents and good lighting, can make it feel bigger, brighter, and more inviting.

Find a Focal Point:

A focal point in your kitchen design, especially for smaller spaces, is important for catching attention and adding visual appeal. It can serve both for aesthetic beauty and practical use. Here's how to find and accentuate a focal point in your kitchen:

Creating a Central Visual Attraction:

  • Find Eye-Catching Elements: Search for parts in your kitchen that catch your eye. It could be a feature already there like a big window or a tall ceiling, or something you put in, like unique art or a colourful backsplash.

  • Using Colour and Texture: You can use contrasting colours or different textures to create a focal point. For instance, using a wall with a standout colour, or textured tiles for the backsplash, can make a noticeable effect.

  • Lighting as a Focal Point: Think about making a lighting fixture the main point of interest. A classy hanging light or a set of trendy spotlights can catch the eye and increase the room's appeal.

Balancing Aesthetics and Utility:

  • Balance Beauty and Usefulness: Select a central feature that looks good and improves your kitchen's efficiency. A good example is an eye-catching extractor hood, which serves the dual purpose of enhancing aesthetics while removing cooking odours.

  • Kitchen Island as a Centrepiece: If you have enough room in your kitchen, a well-planned island can be a useful focus point. It offers more space to work, extra storage, and a spot for socialising. Learn how to Design a Kitchen Island.

  • Functional and Attractive Shelves: Use open shelves for practical and aesthetic purposes. Show off your best dinnerware, favourite cookbooks, or decorative pieces to give your kitchen a personal touch.

Customisation and Personal Touches:

  • Personalise Your Focal Point: Use items that show who you are or what you love. For example, old cooking things you've collected or a special family item can be a fun and special focal point.

  • Adjusting to Your Kitchen's Layout: Think about your kitchen's arrangement, focusing on how a main attraction can add value to the current area. In a galley kitchen, this eye-catching feature could be at the far end, leading the gaze across the room.

By carefully choosing and setting up a focal point, you can make your small kitchen look nicer and work better, improving its overall design.

Which Kitchen Layouts Should Be Avoided in Small Kitchens?

Designing a small kitchen needs careful planning. Some layouts that work well in big kitchens don't suit smaller ones. Knowing which layouts to avoid can stop your kitchen from feeling too tight and keep it useful and good-looking. Here's further detail on layouts that aren't ideal for small kitchens:

Knowing Your Space:

  • U-Shaped Layout Challenges: U-shaped kitchens are perfect for increasing storage and countertop area. However, in a smaller kitchen, this design can limit mobility and give the kitchen a cramped feel. If the space between the opposing countertops is too small, the kitchen might feel stuffy and confined.

  • Large Island Considerations: Kitchen islands offer extra work and storage space. However, in a smaller kitchen, they can obstruct movement. It's crucial to make sure there's enough space around your island, which can be tricky in smaller kitchens.

Choosing Simplicity:

  • Adopting the Galley Layout: If your kitchen space is small, you might find the galley or passageway-style kitchen layout to be perfect. With countertops running parallel to each other, this design uses limited space effectively, providing adequate storage and work areas

  • A straight-line or single-wall layout. This is a good fit for small kitchens. It makes the kitchen feel more spacious by utilizing less floor space. This layout works well in homes with an open-plan, where the kitchen is a part of the living space.

  • Using Upper Areas: For small kitchens, considering the vertical space is helpful. Take advantage of wall areas for storage, such as hanging pots or installing high cabinets, to save more room on the floor.

Adapting Layouts for Small Kitchens:

  • If you like certain layouts usually used in bigger kitchens, think about how you can change them to suit your space. For example, a small U-shaped design or a tiny island might be possible with the right adjustments.

  • Flexible and Multipurpose Solutions: In smaller kitchens, think about using adaptative items like tables that fold down or movable kitchen islands. These offer extra work and storage space without taking up too much room all the time.

By understanding your small kitchen's potential and constraints, you can select a layout that boosts ease and comfort. Try to avoid designs that might make the kitchen feel crowded or unworkable.

What Is the Best Design for a Small Kitchen?

When designing a small kitchen, it's all about maximising use and smart storage. The best small kitchen designs cleverly blend versatile features with innovative storage. Here are some tips on how to optimise a small kitchen design:

Read Small Open Plan Kitchen, Living & Dining Room Design Ideas

Maximising Functionality:

  • Multi-Functional Furniture and Appliances: Opt for items which have more than one use. Choose a table that can also be a workspace, chairs that can be folded and stored, or a small dishwasher for your small kitchen. An oven which can also be used as a microwave can conserve a lot of space.

  • Space-Saving Appliances: Consider appliances made for small kitchens, like narrow dishwashers, small fridges, or two-burner stoves. These compact appliances give you the essential features without taking up too much space.

  • Alternative Layouts: Think about different designs like an L-shape with a small kitchen island, or a galley style with effective storage. The aim is to keep the kitchen tidy and ensure everything is easy to reach.

Smart Storage Solutions:

  • Using Vertical Space: Take advantage of your wall space. Put up shelves on the wall, hang pots on racks, or use magnetic strips for knives. These options keep things off the worktop but still easily accessible.

  • Innovative Cabinetry: Choose cabinets with features like sliding drawers, revolving corner units, or upper cabinet storage racks. These can significantly enhance your storage space and maintain organisation.

  • Hidden Storage Features: Think about using hidden storage features like toe-kick drawers or a pull-out pantry. These can provide more space to store your items without ruining the style of your kitchen.

  • Open Shelving: Open shelves can make your kitchen seem larger and make everyday items easier to reach. Remember to keep these shelves orderly and free of excess items to keep your kitchen looking tidy.

Read 10 Creative Ways to Organise Your Kitchen Cabinets and Drawers

Decorative Elements and Lighting:

  • Use Mirrors and Light Colours: Mirrors can give the illusion of a bigger kitchen, and light colours can make it feel airy. Use shiny materials and pale colours to make the kitchen feel more open.

  • Effective Lighting: Ensure your kitchen is well-lit with a mix of ambient, task, and accent lighting. Proper lighting can make a kitchen feel more spacious and inviting.

In essence, the top design for a small kitchen cleverly balances function and neat storage, keeping a simple, tidy look. By using innovative thinking and optimising every area, a small kitchen can be as practical and fashionable as a big one.


In this first part of the kitchen design series, we learnt that planning right and considering our personal needs and style, are key to our kitchen dream. We uncovered that each step, from basic kitchen design elements to detailed layout planning to aesthetics, contributes to creating a kitchen that's not only functionally satisfying but also a reflection of your taste and lifestyle.

We've discussed how to make your dream kitchen wishlist suit your budget, to ensure your kitchen design is both dreamy and doable. We've also looked into how to best use space, especially in smaller kitchens, by turning potential limitations into creative design possibilities.

Keep in mind, the ideal kitchen isn't just about following recent trends or buying costly appliances. It's about crafting a balance between practicality, beauty, and comfort. It's about designing a space where everything works together to make a place that's truly your own.

Don't miss 'Part 2: How to Design a Kitchen - Practical Design Elements' of our 3 part series that will cover practical aspects of kitchen design. This includes precise measurements, appliance selection, and many more topics to help make your plans a reality.

We hope this guide has given you the inspiration and knowledge you need to start designing your kitchen with confidence and creativity.

Ready to take your first steps - Book a FREE Design Consultation today

Ardene Stoneman 31 January, 2024
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