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Maximise a small kitchen

If you don’t have the luxury of a large, well-designed kitchen it’s likely that using the space is not the pleasure it could be. More often than not, maximising a small kitchen and utilising spaces you didn’t know you had is a lot simpler than you think.


Organise for Efficiency

Before you consider any drastic changes, there is one easy way to maximise the space in a small kitchen. Take a look around your kitchen - a good look - and see how you can be more organised. It isn't necessary to totally clean off the countertops and hide everything away, but you are going to realise that some items could be stored in cupboards, open shelves could be more organised, and items not used on a regular basis not left out on display.

Being organised is easier said than done in a small kitchen with limited storage. If you can use cupboards in adjoining rooms to store small appliances, or a cupboard in a dining room for storing crockery, etc., than use this, but if your cupboard space is already packed to the brim you may need to look at adding a few extra cupboards or shelves.

Clean out on a regular basis to maximise storage space. Items that are past their prime, or appliances have never been used (and we all have a few of those!), toss them out or donate. The more organised your cupboards, the more you can fit in them.

Below, you will find some practical shelving ideas for all kitchen styles.

Define a Style

Where there are a mish-mash of different styles in a small kitchen, these present a scene of havoc and you find that you don't enjoy spending time in the space. Defining a specific style throughout will work towards a kitchen that looks well organised and neat, and actually makes the room feel visually larger than it actually is - a space where you love to spend time!

Step back and take a look at what's in your kitchen and make a note of what could be changed. If you have a limited budget, there are ways to make a difference using only paint, swapping handles and knobs, and organising the room. Think about adding accessories such as a decorative window treatment. The guys at Finishing Touches (inside Builders and Makro stores) have a wide selection of rods, finials and curtain tracks for curtains, made-to-order or ready-made blinds. Or you can fit designer or security shutters.

Lighten Up

Small kitchens have a tendency to be dark and cramped. If this sounds like your kitchen, a practical tip is to install spotlights in the kitchen ceiling or LED lighting under wall cabinets.

Make the most of the windows that you have in the room - don't cover them up with heavy window treatments. Honeycomb or vertical blinds offer privacy and light control - without blocking too much natural light. If you do apply fabric window treatments, use bright colours that will add interest to the room.

Upping the amount of lighting in a small kitchen also improves how the space looks and feels. You can shop a wide variety of lighting options at your local Builders Warehouse, or take a look at our Lighting Section to make your own unique lights. If you only have a central ceiling fixture in your kitchen, adding a couple of pendants over an island, undercounter LED strips, and perhaps a few spotlights, will make a kitchen feel airy and bright.

Be Practical

When choosing fittings and furniture for a small kitchen, be practical and select pieces that work in the space. For example, make sure that shelves have plenty of space to store all of your appliances.

Consider open shelves, as these have less visual impact than solid cupboards - so the room doesn’t feel as cramped. Look for unused wall space to hang shelves. Even unused corners can be put to use; equip them with slim cupboards or shelves that take advantage of vertical space.

No matter how small your kitchen, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to enjoy it. If you're downsizing from a larger kitchen, a small one may seem cramped at first. However, with a bit of practical planning and organisation you’ll soon be inspired.


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