You don’t need acres of worktop space and a giant island to have a stylish, functional kitchen, as these rooms show
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Your kitchen doesn’t have to be enormous to fit in all the basics and look good. These inspirational spaces – which range from smallish to absolutely teeny – all demonstrate how, with some smart design and attention to the right materials, a compact kitchen can be functional and look brilliant, too.
Blend it in
Don’t hide a small kitchen out of sight; instead, help it blend into the rooms around it, in a modern, ‘broken plan’ way. Opening up this micro kitchen to the living room, and adding an internal window between the kitchen and hallway (out of shot here, but see it by following the link below), helps it to feel part of a beautifully planned whole.
Using the same white flooring throughout further helps it to blend in.
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Keep things simple
The owner of this kitchen in an ex-local authority flat has chosen an ultra-simple design for a greater sense of space. The pale grey units are light enough to keep the overall effect fresh and cool.
Don’t want to sacrifice storage for open space? Breaking up a bank of wall units with a small expanse of shelving can ‘lead’ the eye, and help the room seem less closed in. Similarly, eschewing a decorative or colourful splashback can help stop a small space feeling too busy – these plain white metro tiles with white grout keep the look minimal.
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Rethink the basics
Creative thinking was required for the kitchen in this floating home built inside a shipping container and owned and designed by TV upcycler Max McMurdo.
If you’re struggling to fit in a key feature or appliance, such as a fridge, try discarding all the usual kitchen conventions and think, “What if?” The result may break rules, but give you the perfect solution.
Here, the end of a peninsula isn’t the traditional position for a fridge (or a washing machine or dishwasher, for that matter) and it may fly in the face of the usual ideas about how a cooking space should flow, but when everything’s so close together anyway, you may find that breaking a few rules won’t lead to an user-unfriendly result.
Nose around the rest of this dinky home
Incorporate luxe touches
This U-shaped city apartment kitchen proves that sometimes smaller really is better. It’s been carefully designed to make the most of every inch, right down to the triangular section of shelving.
In fact, originally this kitchen was even smaller, just 120cm wide and 60cm deep. The owner took down a partition wall by the window to claw back some more room.
A touch of luxury can help bring a small kitchen to life. Here, the owner sourced porcelain tiles that look like marble for the splashback.
Find out how the owners made small work brilliantly in this home
Pale into significance
White is usually a winning choice in small rooms, creating an impression of space and light.
Unfussy cabinets without handles keep this kitchen looking uncluttered and utility chic. A U-shaped design makes the most of the compact space and allows room for a mini breakfast bar – proof even small kitchens can slot in a stool and somewhere to sit with a coffee and laptop.
Meanwhile, the skylights give an added impression of space, offering a vista above.
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Free your walls
If you have a small kitchen, try to resist packing in too many wall cupboards. In this small but perfectly formed Scottish house, the space above the sink has been left clear, with just a run of base units below. However, a large corner unit helps to make the most of all the available storage space at base level.
Tongue-and-groove panelling also adds some cottagey character – a cosy look that can often work well in smaller homes.
Learn how this Wee House was built
Go back to basics
This off-grid treehouse home in Scotland, built from ply, proves you don’t need a kitchen with acres of worktop to fit in all the essentials.
A cute ply unit houses a hob, a small fridge and a butler sink. Painting it in ice-cream shades also detracts from the kitchen’s small size and gives it an uplifting edge – a device that could be copied in any small kitchen.
Fancy retreating to a treehouse like this? Get the full lowdown
Weave in a little glamour
Don’t think antiqued mirror splashbacks and a crystal chandelier can work in a tiny kitchen? We beg to differ. What this glamorous flat lacks in spare inches it makes up for in style. The mirrors create an impression of space, while cabinets spray-painted silver enhance the light and add interest.
While it might not be an obvious space-expander, investing in upholstered chairs can actually add an impression of space. Here, their light colour works with the tones of the kitchen units, and they continue the sophisticated (and therefore larger-than-it-is) look.
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Contemplate a compromise
Sometimes, making the most of a small kitchen is about compromise. The owners of this New York apartment decided to remove a huge fridge-freezer to stop things feeling cramped (instead, a smaller fridge is hidden in the wall opposite the window). The result: room to squeeze in a mini table in the space originally taken up by the bulky appliance.
It won’t be an option for all homes, but the homeowners also raised the ceiling in this kitchen by 30cm for a greater feeling of space.
See more of this Tour here
Exploit multi-functional furniture
This Parisian micro flat is a masterclass in how tiny can look amazing. Multi-functional furniture and pale, coordinating materials, such as birch plywood, are the order of the day to keep the look uniform and chic. The ingenious kitchen is tucked on a platform under a sloping roof.
Perhaps the cleverest detail is the peninsula worktop, which folds out to create a dining table for entertaining. When not in use, it folds back, making space for a slide-out bed at night.
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These kitchens are all various versions of small – do you have a smaller one? Let us know which of these tips you’d love steal for it in the Comments below. If you have a larger kitchen, which ideas could you use?