Designing a Smaller Kitchen

The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home and we believe that, with some clever design choices, even the smallest kitchen can be a space that you and your family enjoy spending time in.

We’ve picked up a few tips during our years of working with kitchens both big and small and have some pointers that should help you to get the most out of a smaller kitchen:

Clear the Clutter

The little details make a big difference when it comes to small kitchens, therefore if you’re hoping to maximise your space, clear the clutter! Tins, blenders and other odds and ends on your worktops can make the space feel cramped, so when designing for a smaller kitchen, ensure that you have sufficient storage space to house items that you don’t regularly use.

Make the most of any spare space that you may have already by installing shelving, for example if you have space above your washing machine or beside your cooker etc. Likewise, if you have high ceilings, ensure that the cabinets extend all the way to the roof so that no space goes to waste!


A lack of natural light can make even large kitchens look dingy. For a smaller kitchen, creating the illusion of a larger and brighter space is crucial, and not as complicated or expensive as you may think!

One of the most purse-friendly ways to make your kitchen seem bigger is as simple as clearing clutter from your window, to allow as much light in as possible. Make the most of the extra light you have coming in by installing hard, glossy surfaces that will bounce light around the room. Keep other textures that you use within your kitchen – such as on flooring and walls – shiny and glossy too. Avoid matte cabinets, carpeted floors or textured wallpaper.

Artificial lighting is a must whether your kitchen is big or small. Small spotlights in key areas of the kitchen – such as over the hob – are a popular choice, and complementing these with a shiny surface will increase their impact in a more modestly sized kitchen. Uplighting will highlight shelving and give the illusion of a higher ceiling in pokier spaces.


In a small kitchen you must be ruthless with your space. Ensure that your key accessories – sink, fridge, cooker etc – are all in place on your kitchen plan before you begin adding anything that won’t get regular use, such as plate warmers and wine coolers.

To save both space and potentially money, it may be worth searching for more compact versions of essential kitchen appliances to create even more space.


All the de-cluttering and up-lighting in the world can’t help a poorly laid-out kitchen therefore working with the space you’ve been given, rather than against it, is fundamental. For example, if your kitchen is in the corner of a larger room, you may want to consider having the counters in either an L or U shape. If you’re working with a narrow space, having everything side-by-side in a galley-style layout works well.

Of course, one of the most important considerations when designing your new kitchen’s layout is the practicalities of its everyday use. A poorly-designed smaller kitchen can lead to open cupboards blocking the way to appliances and other issues, so don’t neglect to think about how you’ll be using your kitchen and the various areas within it.

For more help and advice check out our blog on measuring your kitchen.

Getting started

Once you have your measurements and diagrams prepared, visit one of our Howarth at home kitchen showrooms to speak with a kitchen design expert. They will be more than happy to advise on design solutions and budget, for free and with no obligation.