Kitchen design trends focus on simple honest materials, soft colourways and smart solutions for everyday needs. Designing a small kitchen encompasses all those ideals and more.
Small kitchens pack a punch, and as with small homes, the initial costs can be higher per cubic metre than a larger kitchen, purely because the main services and products still need to be allowed for, such as plumbing and appliances.
Planning is key to a successful small kitchen, and balancing the project cost is as important as the design planning. Initially, keep a precise list of everyday necessities. What can you live without, what are your essentials; and if downsizing, then start ditching the bulk appliances for innovative, multifunctional designs.
Ensure optimum bench space and look for innovative alternatives to small appliances, such as the Handpresso, a handheld espresso extractor, originally designed for the travel market. Plan your cabinets with clever design details – incorporate lighting under cabinets for a glare-free task light, and avoid unnecessary bulky appliances, such as stainless steel range hoods, by concealing them behind cupboard fronts. Ensure they have integrated lighting, as this maintains a consistent aesthetic and reduces visual clutter.
Be novel with storage space. Keep cabinets streamlined for a sense of order, and consider utilising all of the vertical space by adding one wall of floor-to-ceiling cupboards for short and long-term storage. Research clever and aesthetically pleasing product designs such as the folding step-ladder from Magis, for a simple compact solution for reaching those high cabinets.
Compact kitchens do not have to equate to dark and dingy – keep the colour choices consistent, and opt for a matte finish in one or two complementary shades for a controlled and consistent aesthetic. For a pared-back Scandinavian style, opt for soft, chalky white with a hint of grey, such as Dulux Mt Aspiring.
Alternatively, contrasting colour choices can help make an impact; so here choose bright and bolds in block colour to enhance monochrome spaces. Maximise the natural light, by adding adjacent floor-to-ceiling windows to create a sense of height, or add skylights to heighten the ceiling. Integrated lighting is your best friend in a preplanned kitchen, so ensure lighting is at the top of your list at the design stage. Hidden LED strip lighting and small under cabinet lights target task areas, while removing overhead glare and the visual clutter of downlights. For a decorative feature, consider a multifunctional pendant that casts light on the ceiling, as uplighting can help visually raise the ceiling and create a sense of space.
If you are considering a renovation and have limited space, look to adjacent areas of the home for a utility space or butler’s pantry. Designed in conjunction with a small kitchen, a butler’s pantry can work double duty with long-term storage and an additional workspace for appliances.
When purchasing appliances and furniture, invest in smart multi-use items, often design specifically for the expanding urban growth market. Downsizing trends are forcing manufacturers to consider their products for shrinking living spaces, thus smarter products and services are emerging, which are designed specifically to maximise space and optimise use, all the while enhancing form and function.
Bosch designs appliances specifically for smaller spaces, tapping into the smaller home and apartment market, with slimline dishwashers and integrates convection ovens. These high-quality products provide flexibility, versatility and efficiency in the kitchen – regardless of the size of the space.
When renovating or designing a compact kitchen space, it is essential that you plan and research space appropriate solutions. Professional Organiser Natalie Jane from Be Organised, understands first-hand how clever organisation translates into more space.
“Organisation in a small kitchen is essential, but also this needs to translate to an uncluttered look as well. So before you start, remember to keep only those things that you find useful. Hidden pull out storage is my number one ‘must-have’ in any kitchen. Integrate them in your pantry design, from eye-height downwards, so you can see your items, rather than fumbling about at the back of a deep shelf.”
Blum’s SPACE tower pantry – 5 x high full extensions drawers give you direct access and visualisation on all contents stored and items even at the very back are easily accessed. These can be custom-built to any width up from a narrow 275mm up to 1.2 metres.
Floating shelves are an easy, inexpensive way to add much-needed extra storage to any space – great for recipe books, cups, tea and coffee pots, and add a personal touch to the kitchen design.
Most kitchens have a corner cupboard, which can be a real hassle to access. Make sure you either have internal rotating carousels or pull out drawers installed to make accessibility much easier. Finally, once you have created your ideal kitchen, remember to utilise the inside of cupboards and doors to create extra storage for items such as plastic bags, pot lids and takeaway menus.
Architectural hardware company Blum offer common sense solutions to small space dilemmas by making the most of available space. A well thought-out and pre-planned kitchen can save a lot of heartache and once installed and in use, save time and stress. The lifespan of a kitchen is generally 15-20 years, so why not invest a little extra time at the beginning ensuring cabinets are well planned, function well, are ergonomically friendly, well organised and that stand the test of time?
By simply increasing the length of the drawer runners from 500mm to 550mm, Blum drawers instantly gain an extra 10% storage space. The cost is minimal, but the benefits are huge.
Gaining popularity in the apartment design world are pre-designed hideaway kitchens – both utilising simple and innovative solutions and products. One such company are Miniki. Their Miniki Slimline Kitchenette can become “invisible” on demand. Its ability to transform itself into an understated sideboard makes it ideal for small homes with an integrated kitchen area.
Design and architecture studio DontDIY in Denmark offer solutions for small apartment living with use of streamlined initial design, incorporating smart solutions at a grass root level.
Apartment V01 has a cleverly designed kitchen, built into the wall space, with sliding doors to conceal the kitchen. The floor-to-ceiling doors mimic other wall spaces in the apartment, essentially enabling the kitchen to disappear when not in use.
Caravan and boat kitchen design are by nature compact in composition, and taking cues from standardised design features can be a quick way to interpret small space living in a home. Lightweight and practical materials are often the focus, and cabinet makers find clever solutions to smaller space living, such as hob and sink covers to create extra bench space. For another cost effective solution, consider pre-designed kitchen cabinetry from companies such as Ikea, as these products are often designed with small apartments in mind.
This article by Tina Stephen featured on page 102 in Issue 018 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page.
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