Chester & Morris Ltd

Bespoke Handmade Kitchen Furniture

Lincolnshire cabinet makers, specialising in beautiful, bespoke, handmade kitchens.

Top 10 tips for small Kitchens.

Probably one of the most common questions I get is "my kitchen is really small, what should I do to make the best use of the space?”. Obviously every home is different, and what may work well in one space might not be the best solution for another. Hopefully however, these tips will give you a good starting point when looking at the design of your own small kitchen space.

Tip 1 - Drawers.

This is the tip which I think almost every single kitchen could benefit from. Well laid out drawers will give you so much more storage space per linear metre of cabinets than cupboards will. Not only do drawers offer you the chance to add extra layers of storage, they also let you make use of the full depth of the unit they are in, especially with modern full extension drawer runners.

Drawers in a bespoke island unit, making the best of the available storage space.

Drawers in a bespoke island unit, making the best of the available storage space.

Tip 2 - Get Specific.

One often overlooked aspect of designing for a small kitchen is that making the best of your storage isn’t just about cramming as many units as you can into a space, but designing the storage to fit you specific needs. Having a well laid out plan for your storage means that everything has a home, and wasted space can be kept to a minimum. This could take the form of drawer inserts with homes for all your Chef’s knives, chopping boards or cutlery, or just shelf heights that are designed to fit your appliances under. Don’t waste space, and you will not need to fit as many cupboards in. Simple!

A place for everything, and everything in its place.

A place for everything, and everything in its place.

Tip 3 - Lose The Wall Units.

This may seem counter productive, and I know a lot of you will be thinking that in a small space making use of all the wall space is a must. But in small rooms wall units can feel really heavy, and make the space feel even smaller. Keeping the walls clear of wall units can open up the space, make the room feel lighter, brighter and generally less oppressive.

Tip 4 - Open Shelving.

If the Idea of blank walls above your units seems like too much of a waste of valuable storage space, think about open shelving. It will give you that extra storage space without making the space feel as closed in as wall cupboards, as well as giving you some great display space for those things you just don’t want to hide away. Beware though, you will need to be keen with the duster!

Tip 5 - Light Worktops, Light Floor.

When people talk to me about their colour scheme for their kitchen they are nearly always concerned most about whether their kitchen cabinet colour will make their space feel small. The truth is, if you really want to create the feeling of a larger space then you need to look at your floor and your work surfaces. Even when using really dark greys, greens, blues or even blacks, light floors and light worktops will have far more of an impact on how bright your kitchen feels than your cabinet colour. These light horizontal surfaces will reflect light back up into the room, making it feel bright and open.

Tip 6 - Let There Be Light.

This almost seems so obvious that it doesn’t need saying, but bright spaces feel bigger! Despite this, I see small kitchens with a lack of lighting all the time. Good lighting can really open up the space, and one thing that every good kitchen will have in common is a well thought out lighting plan. Think about what kind of light you will want at different times of the day. Subtle mood lighting for entertaining, or specific task lighting for cooking and food preparation. If in doubt a light can always be turned off, but it is very difficult to add lights at a later date, so if you are not sure, go for more not less.

Tip 7 - What’s Next Door.

This is a very specific solution, but can work really well in the right space. If you have a small space (for example a boiler cupboard, old outhouse or a disused outside toilet) think about knocking through to the kitchen and giving yourself a traditional walk in pantry. A well laid out pantry can create so much extra storage, that it will free up your design options in the main kitchen, and allow you more freedom to get things the way you like.

Tip 8 - Counter Top Cabinets.

Counter top cabinets don’t work for every space, but can be great for some small spaces. They allow you to hide away larger appliances when the doors are closed, but when the doors are open they allow access to extra work surface, which can be a major concern in smaller rooms. If you have high ceilings, then bespoke counter top units can be made full height and make use of every available inch of storage.

Counter top units, can easily be opened to allow access to extra work surface, and closed to hide clutter.

Counter top units, can easily be opened to allow access to extra work surface, and closed to hide clutter.

Tip 9 - What Is Under Your Stairs.

Again, this one isn’t an option for everyone, but if you don’t have a separate utility room, then think about creating laundry space under your stairs. Getting your washing machine and tumble dryer out of the kitchen can free up valuable room. And it doesn’t need to be an eye sore, with a bespoke built in cabinet under the stairs all of you laundry an appliances can be hidden away, and make use of a space that might otherwise go wasted.

Tip 10 - Hang Those Pans.

This is a quick fix solution, which can usually be fitted in ten minutes or so in an existing kitchen, to help free up some much needed room if you are struggling for storage. Pot and pans take up a lot of cupboard/drawer space. Simply fitting up a rack and hanging them can help to free up that space for something else. This is also a great excuse to go out and get some nice new copper saucepans, which surely cannot be a bad thing?

This is by no means a comprehensive list, and it is possible that some or none of these will be applicable for your space, that is where looking at you kitchen with your designer will be so important. But I hope it has given you some food for thought, and maybe sparked a few ideas. Having a small kitchen doesn’t mean you cannot have your dream kitchen, it just needs some thought and careful planning.

Avocado Suite Syndrome

Avoiding a flash in the pan trend!

Not as timeless as they maybe hoped it would be, avoiding a flash in the pan trend is a must for such a large purchase like a kitchen, here are some tips to help you out!

Not as timeless as they maybe hoped it would be, avoiding a flash in the pan trend is a must for such a large purchase like a kitchen, here are some tips to help you out!

When it comes to colour, there is always that overwhelming urge to jump on to that season's must have palette. But beware, what is today's must have, could soon be tomorrow's avocado bathroom suite! But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the latest colour trends, the art is knowing where and when to use them. 

One easy and simple way to use that latest colour but not commit too heavily to a decision you might later regret is to accessorise. Careful selection of a homogeneous selection of accessories can have a huge impact on the overall tone of a kitchen. Think you want to try this year's trend for copper and add a copper sink, tap or handles? Why not try a copper kettle and toaster or some hanging racks with copper pans? Maybe you want to make a statement with tangerine? Instead of opting for a wall of vibrant cabinet doors you could try a bright bread bin and coffee machine. The joy of accessories is that they represent a small investment, and can be changed easily for another trend when the mood takes you.

Traditional hand-painted kitchen furniture has one huge advantage in this department, it can be re-painted. Not only does this mean that it can be refreshed when it is starting to look a little tired or old, but also that it can be completely transformed with a change of colour. Combine this with some new handles, and you could completely transform your kitchen. This gives you the chance to be far bolder with colour choices than say a vinyl wrapped mass produced kitchen, knowing you can change your choice years down the line at a relatively small expense, and with limited disruption.

So what colours should you go for? It seems an obvious shout, but neutral tones are always going to be a safe bet. White has been hugely popular in recent years, especially in the American market, but pure brilliant white isn't always the most practical choice for family kitchens. Despite being very on trend for the last five years or so, grey is still subdued enough to remain pretty much timeless looking, and offer some longevity to your kitchen colour scheme. The art of picking a good base colour for your cabinetry is to follow one of two simple rules. One is to find something that will be timeless in its surroundings. For example, creams will never look out of place in a traditional farmhouse kitchen, and rich tones like dark blues will always work in a Victorian townhouse, be it today or twenty years from now. The second option is to choose something that will work well with any other statement colour. Off-whites or pale greys are great in this respect, but be sure to try a colour sample in the rooms natural light before you make a final decision. Cooler grey tones often work better in this regard, as the browner, earthy tones of warmer greys can be hard to get to work well with a lot of brighter statement colours, limiting your choices down the line. 

Picking a bold colour is by no means a no-no, and a truly great design will still be a great design no matter how trends evolve around it. But with a kitchen representing quite a large financial investment in your home, it really is wise to look at where you want to make your statement, and get the best value, longevity and enjoyment from your purchase.


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Your dream kitchen, built for you, built to last.