Tips For Designing A Small Kitchen

Tips For Designing A Small Kitchen

By Megan Scott

May 15, 2023

Tips for Designing a Small Kitchen

Whether big or small, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It's where you cook, where you host, where intimate conversations are held, and intricate parties are planned. Trends come and go, but the best kitchen designs make a space your own and help it stand the test of time. With the right tiles, hardware and design philosophy, we can make even the smallest space one to be proud of, to show to the world or enjoy all for yourself. So, let's dig into some small kitchen ideas to make the most out of your space.

Small Kitchen Design Ideas

When it comes to smaller spaces, every detail counts. You can make it look gorgeous without having a huge spread of floor space to play with, as long as you use some clever tricks and keep some design tips in mind. We here at Bert & May have been hands-on with so many designs over the years, we've learned how to make the most out of a room, no matter the size and shape.

Below, we'll dig into three main areas of design: Practical storage, design out of functionality, and using colours, contrast, and mirrors to make a space pop. Let's get right into it, shall we?

Get Creative with Small Kitchen Storage

First and foremost, everything needs its proper place. Storage can be a challenge in smaller spaces, but when you think outside of the box you can find great ways to make use of the space without sacrificing the aesthetics. The best kitchen designs know how to use every inch, from vertical space to novel ideas you may not have considered.

Image via @woodworksbrighton 

Hanging pots, pans, and utensils

It's a shame to hide away beautiful cooking utensils. If you're using a copper set of pans or one that has a striking beauty to it, then putting them out for the world to see creates the perfect centrepiece in a smaller kitchen. Try hanging them from adjustable racks and use space on the wall around your oven for utensils and the like. For a modern flair, try using magnets to attach a stylish set of chef knives, perfect for easy access and keeping clean.

Decorate with functional spice racks

There are so many fun ways to show off your herbs and spices these days, and the best part is that they also free up much-needed pantry and cupboard space. Consider a floating rack attached to the wall, play with geometric shapes with magnetic spice containers, or even take some inspiration from the world of tiny homes by having them screw on under the cupboards. With so many approaches to take when it comes to small kitchen designs, so don't be afraid to be playful.

Image via @studionestharrogate@studioduggan

Store your wine in smart ways

Keeping your bottles safe and well-stored is vital to preserve the taste, but when space is at a premium what can we do? Don't worry – there are options. From wall-mounted wine racks to countertops with storage options built-in, you can make the best call for the space. Fancy a more bohemian look? Install a shelf with grooves to hang your glasses under, and then line up your latest bottles on top. More of an industrial type? A metal wall-mounted wine rack with sharp, angular shapes will add to the feel while also remaining practical.

Keep things mobile with a kitchen island on wheels

Some things are non-negotiable in the kitchen, and you may find a kitchen island is one of those. The problem is that they take up a good amount of floor space. What if there was a way to have both space and the island? A floating island, or a kitchen island on wheels, makes a great middle-ground option. You can even line it with matching kitchen tiles to make it blend in when in place and make it unique when rolled out to the dining room. It also doubles as a fantastic way to present courses during a dinner party! 

Have Fun With Colours

When it comes to making a kitchen, or indeed any space, feel bigger than it is, neutrals are king. Using whites, creams, and softer colours reflects light and increases the sense of space. That doesn't mean you have to keep things plain, though. Using colour in the right way can add to even the smallest kitchen – Here's just a few ideas:

Paint your cabinets a light shade - A kitchen often comes with darker cabinets and cupboards, but this can feel drab and make a space smaller to the eye. A brighter, lighter shade adds contrast and opens the space, letting light bounce freely.

Create an accent wall - If you've got the space, even a small accent wall can make all the difference. Opt for a soft, natural tone like in the Classic Fennel Square Glazed in an alcove, or across a whole wall, to add visual interest.

Keep to a colour scheme - Once you've chosen the colours to play with, keep in that palette. Too many in a small place can be overwhelming and cheapen your kitchen. For example, could set a palette of yellows, whites and a transitional cream or wood tone, keeping things interesting but controlled.

Want more ideas? We've gone over five creative ways to use tiles in your kitchen in the past, so check it out for further inspiration.

Reduce Floor Space Used

Keeping the floor as open as possible is a critical part of any good small kitchen design. We've talked about movable kitchen islands, but consider other options like floating shelves that make a great way to display beloved tea sets, mugs, and plates, while also allowing them to be free from the counters. You can also install rail hooks for spare items around the space, and make sure to keep chairs tucked in under tables if there's space for them in your small kitchen.

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall

If you ever want to make a small room feel bigger, a mirror is a great way to do it. Some of the best kitchen designs use mirrors to reflect light and enhance the feel of the space, adding more of that natural and airy feeling to even the most cramped kitchens. Consider going with a Scandinavian style and keep them sleek and modern for maximum impact, or embrace the inner maximalist with a formally framed centrepiece for the walls.


Image via Lisa Dawson & Emily Rickard

Add Contrast

Last, but not least, is the art of adding contrast. By pairing contrasting textures and tones together it can create the illusion of depth in any kitchen, and many small kitchen design ideas love to play with these concepts. Some of our favourites include:

Patterns with clear spaces - Combining a unique pattern, like those in the Manarola tile with a brighter, white wall, can help make zones that lead the eye through a space. You can play with different hues, tones and depth of colours with this, from the more historical angle to the modern look of our green handmade patchwork tile.

Bring in natural textures - One of the advantages of small spaces is that you can use more expensive, natural materials. Marble tiles are one such example, and the natural variations in the tone, veins and texture make it a playful option to add contrast to the space.

Add trim to cabinets - Outlining bright cabinets with a darker tone makes them pop out more in a small kitchen, bringing the eye to the design inside while creating a symmetrical look.

Divide the lower and upper space - You could use a darker tone for the lower tables, counters and floors, and then fade into a lighter, brighter feel the higher the room goes. That way, you achieve a sophisticated and streamlined look.


Image via Nel Theakston

Bert & May Small Kitchen Tiles Inspiration

By now you're inspired to take on a smaller kitchen design and should be ready to play with colour, contrast, textures and space. What's the first step to take? Getting a feel for the materials you want to use, of course! Our range of Kitchen tiles works wonders in smaller spaces and adds an artistic touch that no one else can create. Play around with different shapes for different design philosophies, such as our beautiful Hexagonal tiles, perfect for any small kitchen's splashback, countertop, sides or floors. Or, consider using some of our herringbone tiles for a sharp rectangular contrast, perfect for leading the eye to the different zones within.

There are so many ways to tackle a small kitchen design project, but our last tip is this: Work with the space, not against it. It's tempting to change how a home feels and works to make a design function, but if you're lucky enough to have a stunningly unique abode, make it work within its own design. Find the colours and textures that bring out the best features, highlight beams and variations in the walls, and frame beautiful windows to bring that light in – there are so many options. Small kitchens may not have the largest floor space, but they can certainly make the biggest impact.

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