4 Tips for Small Kitchen Design

If your home is equipped with a small kitchen, it may be difficult for multiple people to perform tasks in it without bumping into each other, and you may feel claustrophobic when spending long periods of time in it.

While some homeowners with small kitchens choose to expand their kitchen space to eliminate these problems, you can make your kitchen feel larger and improve its functionality without expanding it by making just a few small changes to its design.

Read to learn four tips for small kitchen design to make your small kitchen feel larger and increase its functionality.

1. Choose the Right Kitchen Layout

One of the most effective ways to add a spacious feel to a small kitchen while improving its usability is to choose the right kitchen layout. Kitchen layouts ideal for small kitchens include galley and L-shaped layouts.

In a galley kitchen, all kitchen counters and appliances are located on one of two sides of a central walkway. This layout is best for a long, narrow kitchen.

In an L-shaped kitchen, all countertops and appliances are positioned in the shape of the letter L along two adjacent kitchen walls. This layout is a better option if you have a kitchen that is square in shape.

Both layouts create an uncluttered, streamlined look that a small kitchen needs to feel less cramped and confined while preserving the functionality of more traditional kitchen layouts that work better in larger kitchens, such as the classic work triangle design.

2. Choose a Kitchen Peninsula Instead of an Island

Kitchen islands have become very popular in recent decades due to their versatility. These islands provide the additional counter space needed to make meal preparation easier. In addition, a homeowner can line the island with chairs and use it as a makeshift table, and these islands typically have ample storage space underneath them.

However, islands can take up too much space in a small kitchen due to the ample clearance needed around them. In fact, the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) recommends 36 inches of space between the island and kitchen walkways, and even more clearance is often necessary between the island and a kitchen appliance, such as a refrigerator, with a door that swings outward.

For this reason, kitchen peninsulas are better options for small kitchens than islands. Peninsulas, often called built-in kitchen islands, are attached to kitchen countertops and act as countertop extensions. Since no space is needed between the peninsula and the countertop it lies adjacent to, this kitchen workstation needs less clearance space than a kitchen island while still providing all of the benefits of a kitchen island.

3. Get Creative with Storage

While kitchen cabinets and cupboards are the mainstays of kitchen storage, a small kitchen can feel and appear even smaller when it is filled with too many traditional cupboards. These storage devices not only occupy ample space in the kitchen, but they also break up the appearance of the kitchen visually, which can make it appear even smaller than it is.

Ideally, all cupboards in a small kitchen should be installed under kitchen countertops and open shelves should be installed where necessary above countertops. However, if you must install traditional cupboards above counters, choose cabinets with glass doors that occupy less visual space than opaque doors.

4. Maximize Lighting

One of the easiest ways to make any small room look and feel more spacious is to equip it with ample, even lighting. When a room is unevenly lit, the darker areas near corners and along walls can make the space appear smaller.

For this reason, avoid placing one large overhead light in the middle of your kitchen and instead install multiple recessed or pendant lights in the room. Once the room is evenly light, add tasks lights where necessary, such as above the stove and kitchen peninsula, to make food preparation safer.

You do not have to increase kitchen square footage when you follow these small kitchen design tips that help improve kitchen functionality and make the small space feel and appear more spacious. Contact the home remodeling experts at DESIGNfirst for all of your kitchen remodeling needs today.

Schedule a Free Consultation


"*" indicates required fields

Type of Project(s)*