Small Kitchen Designs

Small Kitchens are the norms in a lot of modern houses and apartments now-a-days. Small kitchen designs that follow certain guidelines do not let limitations in space become a constraint.

It is not only possible but easy to combine functionality and aesthetics with a small area.


The layout of the kitchen is the first parameter to consider when brainstorming design ideas for small kitchen designs.

Depending on the available space, your needs and requirements, various layouts are possible. The list below will give you an easy guide to follow for different situations -

  • Built-in rectangular kitchen for long but small spaces
  • L-shaped design for two adjoining walls
  • U-shape for a little bigger kitchen where three walls can be used
  • In square spaces, an island in the middle for easy maneuverability


Leaving out too many items out in the open will make your kitchen look smaller. Therefore you need as much storage space as possible in a small kitchen. It can be done by adding a lot of kitchen storage cabinets.

Deeper cabinets will have more storage area. But having too deep overhead cabinets will make it difficult for you to access the items placed on the rear.

Storage space should be organized systematically to make it user friendly and efficient. For small kitchen designs it is ideal to have rotating or sliding shelves and pull-outs.

A kitchen sink cabinet can have fold-out drawers, roll-out drawers and wire baskets to optimize the space within it.

Cabinets can be extended up to the ceiling to make optimum use of the available space. Lesser used items can be stored on the top. Cabinets up to the ceiling will also give the appearance of a taller room.

It will be better to have glass shutters on the overhead cabinets to give a light feeling to the kitchen. It will also help you retrieve the stored items easily.

Rods and rails serve as functional as well as decorative accessories that can be added to the kitchen to use every bit of space.


To make the small kitchen look bigger, try to have as much natural light as possible. It will also improve your efficiency in the kitchen. Do not cover the windows with curtains. Install blinds if you need to cover the window at night or any other times.

Apart from natural light you need sufficient artificial kitchen lighting. Various light sources are required to illuminate properly different work and storage areas.

For general or ambient lighting in the kitchen, halogen lamps are a good supplement. These create an effect similar to the natural light. Ambient light adds a warm glow and prevents task lighting from creating shadows.

The work and cooking areas require selective lighting. It is normally provided by fluorescent tubes or halogen lamps just above the counter fixed below the overhead cabinets. This type of lighting also creates the illusion of a bigger kitchen.

Kitchen track lighting is a good way to illuminate dark corners and areas where it is hard for lighting from other sources to reach.

Please note that a well-lit kitchen appears bigger than its size. Also it will make you feel comfortable while working besides improving your efficiency.


Use bright, vibrant colors to liven up small kitchen designs. Lighter colors like white and pale yellow make your kitchen appear larger. Use such colors in the flooring, countertop and on the cabinet shutters.

Avoid having any dark corners. Even avoid having any hanging pendant type lighting. Having these will make the ceiling look smaller.

See kitchen colors for details on how to use colors in the kitchen to maximum effect and advantage.

Deeper Counters

To increase the work space in a small kitchen you can have deeper counters. That way you will have more countertop surface as working area. It will also help in accommodating more appliances and increasing the storage area below the counter.

Compact Kitchens

If space is really a constraint, compact pre-built kitchens can solve your problem. It will usually be made up of a unit containing most common kitchen elements such as cooktop, sink, countertop, refrigerator, dishwasher etc. It can also include options for storage of appliances like microwave oven.

Kitchen Islands

In case of a limited space and depending on the layout, a cooking or working island is sometimes included into a kitchen which is integrated with a living area. It can be reached from all sides and has the cooking as well as washing and work areas.

A portable small kitchen table can sometimes add to the storage as well as work areas without taking up too much space.

These small kitchen designs and ideas can help you make the best use of the area that you have got for your kitchen and optimizing its performance and increasing your efficiency.

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Sushil Wadhwa

Sushil Wadhwa
Architect, Interior Designer, creator of Homes and Interiors... more.