Small Kitchen Design: Breaking the Rules for Maximum Efficiency and Style

When it comes to designing a small kitchen, the usual design rules may not always apply. While it’s often suggested that there are certain ‘must-dos’ in kitchen design, for small spaces, it may be more practical to bend, or even break, some of these so-called rules to achieve the perfect balance of functionality and aesthetics.

The traditional kitchen design rulebook may suggest aligning key appliances in a ‘golden triangle’ or placing the sink under a window, but there are alternative approaches that can result in an effective and stylish small kitchen design. Here are four rules that are okay to disregard when planning a small kitchen.

Rule 1: The Sink Must Be Under the Window

Placing the sink under the window is a common feature in traditional kitchens. While it’s nice to enjoy the garden view while washing up, this might not always be possible or practical in small kitchens.

Alternative solutions could include installing shelving above the sink to break up a row of cabinetry, mimicking the space created by a window. If the kitchen layout includes a peninsula or an island, the sink could find a home there instead.

Rule 2: The ‘Golden Triangle’ Layout for Key Appliances is a Must

In traditional kitchen design, the ‘golden triangle’ layout places the sink, hob, and fridge in a triangular arrangement for easy movement between them. While this can be beneficial in larger kitchens, it may not be feasible in smaller spaces.

Instead, small kitchen owners might consider arranging two out of the three most used appliances closer to each other, or creating smaller, hyper-focused zones for specific tasks, such as food prep, cooking, and washing up. This approach ensures that everything needed for a particular task, from utensils to the bin, is within easy reach.

Rule 3: Dark Colours Should be Avoided in Small Kitchens

While storage is indeed crucial, this does not mean that a small kitchen must be filled with tall cabinets. Overcrowding the space can make it feel even smaller. Instead, open shelving might offer a solution.

Open shelves keep essentials within reach and can also add a decorative element to the kitchen. By displaying attractive mugs or plates, for instance, the kitchen’s aesthetics can be enhanced while still serving a functional purpose.

Rule 4: Lots of Cabinetry is Necessary for Storage

Contrary to the belief that lighter colours are necessary to create the illusion of space, dark shades can have a similar effect. Dark colours can blur the room’s dimensions, tricking the eye into perceiving a larger space. Moreover, using dark shades can add a sense of cosiness and uniqueness to small kitchens.

While planning a small kitchen may present unique challenges, it also provides an opportunity to rethink traditional design norms and create a space that truly works for its users. So, small business owners, especially those in the food industry, don’t be afraid to break the rules when planning your small kitchen. The key is to find a balance between practicality, aesthetics, and making the most of the available space.

Jonathan Caplan

About the author

Jonathan Caplan

I co-founded New ID Living with my brother, Daniel and over the years we have developed and expanded the business together including the purchase of a flooring company...
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