Plan & Design A Small Kitchen

Turn a tiny room into a triumph of super-efficiency where every inch is put to good use. Here's how to plan a small kitchen from start to finish.

By Caroline Rodrigues

ABSTRAKT kitchen by Ikea. Design/Plan A Small Kitchen

Planning A Small Kitchen

There's no denying that size matters but in a small kitchen, performance is all. With some serious planning, ingenious fittings and a design that's as chic as you like, your new kitchen can be super successful and, as you won't need many units, you can splash out on quality finishes. To make it work, you'll need to be flexible so instead of full-size appliances, look out for a scaled down mini-me versions. If you hanker for a larder, go for a skinny pull-out version instead. Choose with care and the perfect kitchen awaits.

Could You Make More Space?

Before you get carried away by the breathtaking designs in brochures or showrooms, work out the shortcomings of your current kitchen and decide what you can change for the better.

  • Could you reconfigure the space, ditch or remove bulky items to another area, double up with a washer dryer instead of two separate appliances, or move the sink to a better position?
  • How about removing a wall to open up the kitchen into an adjacent room, or adding an extension to double your space?
  • On a micro level, simply junking any non-essentials such as that fondue set that's never seen the light of day will work marvels for storage capacity.
  • A radiator takes up valuable floor space so consider a plinth heater, or underfloor heating instead.
Ikea Sorbo kitchen. How To Plan And Design A Small Kitchen

Create A Clever Layout

On a floor plan of squared paper, mark power points, pipes, windows, doors then plan in units. You'll need food prep, serving, cooking and washing up zones, each ideally with their own bit of worktop.

The work triangle is an imaginary triangle to get the optimum distance between cooker, sink and fridge - not usually a problem in a small room. Keep the oven and sink 40cm from the corners, and don't site them behind a door. If you're including tall units, put them at the end of a run.

A corner sink looks neat and can free up worktop space elsewhere. It's easy to mark out units on a dinky little plan, but the people using the room are just as important - the cook not only takes up quite a bit of space but also needs room to manoeuvre and to open doors and drawers.

Make It Look Good

Be strict with unit fronts, as a regimented row of all-doors or all-drawers will look best in a limited space. Regarding unit widths, a row of standard size units plus a smaller one at the end looks better than a higgledy piggledy mix.

Wall units are a must for kitchen storage but they do cramp your style, encroaching on the space, so try not to fit them on every wall - narrow shelves can be just as handy and are less obtrusive. Bi-fold doors on wall units make for easy access, but the ultimate is Alno's wall units that lower automatically so you can reach inside with ease. Consider extra tall wall units to maximise storage without taking up valuable space.

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