6 Tips For Designing a Small Kitchen

One of our absolute favorite spaces to design is the kitchen. It is one place in the home where everyone tends to gather. So much of our lives happen in the kitchen! We all dream of having a brand new custom space, with a large island and more cabinetry than we know what to do with, right? The reality is that a lot of us have small kitchens. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out how to make our such small spaces function for our needs, while still looking really beautiful. We've designed our fair share of kitchens, and we've seen all shapes and sizes. You don't have to sacrifice style for function, promise! 

#1: Start with a functional space plan

A functioning floor plan is important in any size of space, but it is doubly important in a small one! A beautiful kitchen with a strange layout will never work. Make sure your sink, refrigerator, and stovetop are all easily accessible and that there is adequate countertop space by each one for easy use. Pay attention to the cabinetry layout to make sure there is ample storage for the items you use daily.

Walk through the space (either literally or just in your mind!) to decide what layout will work best for you. Every aspect of the layout, from floor plan to cabinetry, will make the difference between a small kitchen that you love and a small kitchen that drives you crazy!

 Design by  deVOL

Design by deVOL

 Design by  Park and Oak

Design by Park and Oak

 Design by  Sally Gotfredson

#2: Pick a color palette and stick with it 

From the very beginning, choose the colors you want to work with and stick to them. Introducing too many colors in a small space will feel overwhelming. In Anne Sage's kitchen, we selected natural wood tones with white and gray elements. Then we added in the black appliances and brass hardware. Sticking to this scheme all over makes the space feel larger than it is and more inviting. Regardless of the colors you choose, keeping it consistent throughout is a good way to go in a small kitchen.

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#3: Break up the cabinetry

In a small space, storage is a big deal. However, too much cabinetry can feel heavy and closed off, so we like to add one or two elements that break it up a bit. Usually, this is achieved by opting for a range hood instead of a microwave vent with additional cabinetry, as well as installing some open shelves. If open shelves aren't your thing, a good compromise is glass doors on some of your cabinets. These small changes will make a big impact in how open your kitchen feels! We opted for open shelves above the sink in our Hillside Remodel since there isn't a window to look out of. While our client does the dishes, she can look at pretty shelves instead of staring at a cabinet.

You can find some of our favorite tips for styling open shelving here and here!

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#4: carefully select lighting 

If your kitchen is small, it is especially important to make sure your lighting is doing its job. No matter how many tricks you employ to make it feel larger, bad lighting will always contribute to a space feeling small. If there is no island to hang pendants over, we love to hang one above the kitchen sink, both to add another level of lighting and to make sure you aren't doing your dishes in the dark! We also love installing sconces above open shelving or a window. Flush mounts or recessed lighting on the ceiling will add to the overall brightness of the space. Lighting will play a major role in helping your small kitchen feel larger.

#5 accessories with function

When space is limited it's so important that even the accessories on your countertop have a purpose! Simplify things by putting away anything that doesn't need to be out all the time - your blender, your mixer, your toaster, etc. Less clutter will make the space feel open. Choose accessories that are beautiful and functional, to make life easier while adding warmth and personality. We love a beautiful crock to hold cooking utensils, pretty jars for storing treats, a cute brush set for scrubbing dishes, and a soap duo that looks like it belongs! 

#6 Go big with design

Just because your space is small, doesn't mean your ambition has to be! Pay attention to every detail, from cabinet hardware to window treatments, to the objects styling your countertop. Each of these elements will go a long way in making the space feel grand. In our Denver Tudor kitchen, we made every single element a feature in the design! From the cabinetry color to the appliances and the cement tile floor. In a large kitchen all of these elements could be overwhelming, but since the kitchen is small and we stuck to a specific color palette, it works. Where space is lacking, the design should pack a punch! 

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