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Last edited 04 Jan 2021
Designing a small kitchen
How to best utilise available living space, or create more space, is a key challenge for today’s homeowners. The average size of a new-built, three-bedroom home in the UK (outside London) is nearly 10sqm smaller compared to those built in 2003 (Ref 1). However, modern and sleek design solutions are coming to the aid of those living in space-starved houses and flats, particularly in the kitchen - the traditional focal point of the home. By addressing these three considerations you can make any size kitchen truly work for you.
Kitchen planning should start with how you want to use the space. Factors include whether you need a dining area for entertaining or a space that can double up as a home office or study? Is your kitchen open plan to other areas of the house? What will the view from other rooms look like? Do you need lots of worktop space for all your gadgets and utensils or do you prefer to have them all hidden away? Giving careful consideration to these questions will go a long way to making the space work seamlessly around your day-to-day lifestyle.
Once you have defined the function of your kitchen the next step to think about is layout. The most effective kitchens are divided into 5 areas, typically cooking, cleaning, preparation, consumables storage, and non-consumables storage. Getting the relationship between these areas right is key to how well your kitchen flows.
The path between your oven or hob, fridge and sink is the one you will tread most frequently – this is known as the working triangle. For maximum efficiency in your kitchen this journey needs to be optimised. Not too far or you will waste time and energy. And not too close, otherwise the kitchen will feel cramped.
The kitchen has many different dimensions – not only width and length, but height and depth too, the key is to make the most of all available space. The corner is perhaps the trickiest space in the kitchen to access, and can often become a place where things are put and then forgotten about. Instead make corners more practical with some pull-out shelves or baskets to access all of the cupboard contents quickly and easily.
If you’re short on space and need to pack a lot in then think about fold-away or slide-away solutions. Tables that fold into drawers when they aren’t needed, or worktops that slide out to create a breakfast bar, can all give you a wow factor and help your kitchen meet your needs. Getting organised can also make life easier. Drawer dividers, cutlery inserts, pan stands, and spice racks can all help you to find exactly what you are looking for quickly and easily.
Organisation extends to dealing with kitchen waste too. Pull-out waste solutions with separate compartments for recycling are a great way to keep on top of your rubbish and do your bit for the environment. This option is cleverly concealed behind a cupboard door, freeing up valuable floor space that would otherwise be eaten up by a free standing bin.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Concept design.
- Fitted kitchen.
- Installing a kitchen.
- Interior design.
- Smart kitchen appliances.
- Sustainable domestic kitchens.
- Tips for buying a new kitchen.
 External references
- (1) Mirror, “Britain’s houses are getting smaller even though prices are going through the roof”, http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/britains-houses-getting-smaller--7459889, 28 February 2016
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