We might all dream of a spacious kitchen complete with all the latest innovations, but the reality is that many of us do our cooking in a more modest setting. If your kitchen is a little cluttered and cramped, here are a few design tips to give you a feeling of space.
As in any room, the right colour can really open up a kitchen. White is undoubtedly the best choice if you're looking to give a sense of space, as it allows light to bounce around the room, and glossy units will boost the effect by reflecting natural or artificial light. If you're not too keen on the clinical feel of an all-white room, pick an accent colour to add interest - even a kettle or wall clock in your chosen hue will brighten things up.
Another way to add interest and give your kitchen more character is with contrasting materials. Plain gloss units teamed with a dark granite work surface, or chrome units coupled with a wooden floor can make the room your own, while variety in the form of different textures, from exposed brick to glass tiles or splashbacks, can easily become design features.
In a small kitchen, storage is often the biggest problem. The key to making the room feel less cramped is to be creative with your storage solutions. Leaving some cupboards without doors or choosing open shelving units can stop the room feeling closed off whilst retaining a country kitchen feel, and tall, narrow units will make use of the vertical space without cramping your style. There are lots of cunning, space-savers on the market from pull-out dining tables disguised as drawers to portable kitchen islands on wheels (try Ikea) so do your research to find an ingenious solution.
If you don't have space to store saucepans but have high ceilings, consider hanging them from a wooden rack (try Homebase) or fit a rack system under shelves and wall units to store everything from mugs to utensils and herbs.
If you don't have room for a kitchen table but need an area for seating, try creating a breakfast bar effect by simply extending the work surface. Some companies (try Howdens) offer 'pull out runners' which you can use to extend the work surface when you need it.
Corners are often 'dead' areas - make yours work harder by using tray carousels that pull out in corner cupboards or add a corner plate rack (try Lakeland) that sits on the worktop for extra storage.
Where space is really tight, it can pay to opt for a minimalist look that will make the room feel bigger than it really is, particularly if your home is modern in design. Try to keep work surfaces clear for clean lines, or invest in integrated appliances that can be covered up with glossy doors. As small as it may sound, even splashing out on cupboards that don't have handles can make all the difference to the feeling of space, especially when it comes to galley kitchens.
Light it right
The right lighting is essential in a small room, and it's important to blend practicality with atmosphere. Recessed spotlights mean you can do away with hanging pendants if your kitchen has a low or sloping ceiling, while downlighters beneath the cupboards are not only great for when you're cooking but help to soften lighting.
Have you successfully managed to give the illusion of space in a small kitchen? Let us know how below...