Kitchen Cabinet Ideas for Small Kitchens 2024 | Checkatrade
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Kitchen cabinet ideas for small kitchens

Short on space? Be inspired by our stylish kitchen cabinet ideas for small kitchens and get the kitchen of your dreams. Good things really do come in small packages….

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If you’re short on space in the cooking department, you’re probably on the hunt for kitchen cabinet ideas for small kitchens. Here, we’ll share a few design tricks and clever storage tips to help you fit in everything you want without sacrificing on style.

Remember, you don’t need a huge space to create a stylish and practical kitchen for you and your home. It’s what you do with the footprint you have that counts.

small kitchen ideas

Working with a trusted kitchen designer will be key to maximising the potential of your small kitchen. Our handy search tool will help you find local kitchen experts who are experienced in all aspects of kitchen design. Just pop your postcode in the search bar below.

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Small kitchen ideas

You’ll quickly discover that small kitchen ideas are great for ergonomics and keeping everything to hand. And the beauty of a small space is that you can splash out on an expensive cabinet or worktop material, as you won’t need to buy so much of it.

Contact a kitchen designer who can assist with design, layout, fitting and extras like lighting and flooring.

So, if you’re in the market for a new kitchen – or a kitchen renovation – take a look at these small kitchen ideas.

1. Stretch cabinets for a small kitchen vertically

stretch cabinets to the ceiling in a small kitchen

Make the most of every available inch of space in a compact kitchen by stretching cabinets up to the ceiling. What you might not have in terms of big floor area, you can offset by focusing on the verticals of your kitchen.

These timber slab-fronted doors are the perfect, pared-back design. Extend upwards as far as possible and provide extra storage space inside for stashing your stuff.

Keep handles small and unobtrusive so they won’t interfere with the streamlined look. Read more space-saving kitchen ideas here.

2. Prioritise colour when it comes to small kitchen decorating ideas

zone small kitchen designs with colour
Teal kitchen concept image

L-shaped kitchens are a foolproof layout for small spaces. But why not elevate this simple, trusted design by using a couple of different colours and materials, not just an all-over, single shade?

Choose complementary colours such as tonal neutrals for the main run of units. Then, for impact, pick out a bold shade such as navy or emerald green to zone a particular area.

Here, the appliance bank in a rich teal shade stands out as a colourful cooking zone.

3. Max out with clever small kitchen storage ideas

open and closed storage in a small kitchen

It might be tempting to fit out a small kitchen top-to-toe in cabinets and drawers that are all fully closed with door fronts. Everything is concealed from sight, with crockery and cookware neatly hidden behind closed doors.

Think again though. Compact spaces can benefit from a mix of open and closed storage. Wall shelves and open cubbyholes might not be quite as space efficient but they will embrace an airy mood and stop kitchens from feeling claustrophobic and closed in.

Neutral palettes will also help to increase natural light in your small kitchen by bouncing light around.

4. Ditch wall cabinets altogether

ditch wall cabinets in small kitchen ideas

Why not ditch wall cabinets altogether in a small U-shaped kitchen? This ultra-compact design is a space-efficient cooking space for one.

But anything above the worktop might enclose the square footprint and make it feel dark and cramped.

Follow suit by removing wall cupboards and shelves in your small kitchen and see what a difference it makes. Find out how to prepare for a kitchen revamp.

5. Go glossy with your small space kitchen cabinet design

Light colours and galley layout for small kitchen design ideas

Consider glossy fronts and creamy hues to open up a small kitchen and bounce even more light around the room – like with this galley-style kitchen.

A galley layout is ideal for small, narrow spaces. These super-efficient and ergonomic designs are named after the compact quarters of a ship’s kitchen and max out every last inch of usable space.

Two parallel runs of units are an efficient way to harness the working triangle concept with the sink, oven and fridge all within easy reach.

Optimise storage opportunities with wide, pull-out drawers and clever racking systems. Then lay floorboards in the same direction as the cabinets to visually trick the eye into lengthening the space.

6. Hang shelves

shelves for kitchen wall storage in small kitchen

We adore the thick timber shelving in this small, country style kitchen.

The three shelves inject just the right hint of modern rustic cool. It’s a simple design trick that adds masses of personality into a compact kitchen – plus handy extra storage for your vessels, vases and glassware.

7. Explore ideas for kitchen cabinets without handles

handle free cabinets for small kitchen ideas

Handle-free kitchen cabinets are unavoidably slick and streamlined – just what small kitchen ideas need.

Push-touch wall cabinets are a cool way to ditch handles and open up a cupboard with a light touch. Alternatively a neat lip edging or recessed channel will do the job nicely too.

Don’t feel you need to stick to a uniform look throughout a small kitchen. Barely-there handles on the base cabinets are a budget makeover idea for every style of small kitchen.

8. Use your walls for small kitchen storage ideas

wall racks and hanging systems for small kitchen ideas

Don’t dismiss hanging racks and rail systems in small kitchens, especially if you want a more relaxed, unfitted look.

If you live in a country cottage or barn, this sort of ‘undesigned’ hanging storage will work well if you have uneven walls or panelling.

Black and white kitchens are probably one of the easiest colour schemes for any size of kitchen. Warm up with timber worktops and a tongue and groove splashback for an eclectic style that you can add to over the years.

Head to car boot sales and antique fairs for old metal canisters and vintage cooking utensils that look so cool on display.

9. Kit out awkward corners

kit out awkward corners in small kitchen ideas
U-shaped kitchen concept

Every inch counts in a small kitchen – and that includes corners.

Finding a way to effectively use an awkward corner can be challenging in a compact space, but kitchen designers are equipped with a wealth of ideas and expertise.

For base units, consider a magic corner unit. This clever racking system concertinas out to display all the contents of a dark and previously unused corner.

Made-to-measure shelving or cabinets on the top half of your kitchen can be tailor-made to your exact requirements and space constraints. Get in touch with a bespoke kitchen manufacturer who can transform your ideas into a reality.

10. Paint cabinets for a small kitchen the same colour as the walls

use darker colours on the base units for small kitchen ideas

Painting wall cabinets in the same colour as the walls will fool your eye into elongating the height of the room. This clever design hack visually lengthens the walls and your gaze is automatically drawn upwards to the ceiling.

Choosing a darker coloured paint for the bottom half of a small kitchen will ground the space.

Turn your kitchen cabinet ideas for your small kitchen into reality

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