Renovating

10 of the best ideas for small kitchens

Everything you need to know about designing a small kitchen.

Property prices in Australia are some of the highest in the world. Due to that, the size of the homes Australians are now buying are smaller. To accommodate for those smaller homes, every room has to be optimized to work at peak functionality. That means every room needs clever storage, the space needs to be maximised, the floorplans need to be practical and the design of every room needs to be functional. The kitchen is no exception. Thus, the rise of small kitchen design ideas and layouts. 

At first glance it may seem that a small kitchen limits your design options, but that just isn’t true. Small kitchen design ideas need to be clever, well thought-out and visually add space to the kitchen. Small kitchen layouts also need to be carefully planned, functional and practical.

How much does a small kitchen renovation usually cost?

According to data gathered by Houzz for the 2018 Houzz AU Kitchen Trends Study, the average spend on a kitchen smaller than 10 square metres in $14,600.

RELATED: How much does a new kitchen cost?

kitchen design layout floorplan
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What you need to know about small kitchen floor plans and design layouts

“When you’re working with a small kitchen floorplan, people want to know how to best maximise the space to ensure it’s functional, looks good and of course works for them,” says Bunnings National Kitchen Buyer, Simon Warmington. “Getting the layout right is key. Make sure you mould your small kitchen design into the space you’re working with, not what you wish you had to work with. Sometimes less is more, especially if you have a small kitchen. Incorporating everyday appliances into the space is an important consideration; purpose-built appliance cabinetry is a great way to maximise space in your kitchen, giving you the freedom to stack your appliances in a compact and functional way.”

RELATED: 15 contemporary kitchen design ideas

kitchen benchtop details sink
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What’s trending in small kitchen ideas?

The 2018 Houzz AU Kitchen Trends Study also found that cabinets are one of the top three new kitchen features homeowners renovated in their kitchens, and the main motivation for updating kitchen cabinetry was to make better use of the space. This indicates that homeowners with small kitchens are looking to maximise their space and use it better.

Bunnings National Kitchen Buyer, Simon Warmington, says that minimalist aesthetics, stone and concrete looks are trending. “durable laminate surfaces offer stone-inspired, wood grain and marble-look options that can provide a budget-friendly and on-trend solution to add visual interest to a small space. “Smart storage solutions and bold colours are two other trends Simon has seen growing in popularity. “using cabinetry in smart ways can create a modern look without compromising on space is. These can incorporate clever internal storage options too, such as pull-out baskets and wire ware,” says Simon. “Black, rich greens and navy are making their way into people’s kitchens, as DIY renovators opt for more design-led but affordable interior solutions.”

When it comes to building or renovating a small kitchen it’s important to get some advice from a professional on the things that can make or break a small kitchen idea. Mick Popov of Kitchen Design Victoria, listed on hipages, has some excellent ideas, suggestions and considerations for you to take under advisement.

RELATED: U-shaped kitchen designs, ideas and layouts

small kitchen sink and benchtop under window
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Small kitchen design do’s

Work with an expert. For most people the kitchen is the heart of a home. A small kitchen design needs to be functional and work cohesively with the aesthetic of the rest of your home. A kitchen expert can help you conduct an analysis of what you truly need in the space, no matter how small your kitchen is. They’ll be able to advise you on the best layout, design and appliances based on your lifestyle and living situation, and how regularly you cook or bake. The easiest way to get in touch with your local kitchen expert on-demand is via hipages.

Make it functional. It’s important to design a small kitchen idea that’s functional and practical. It sounds simple but can be harder to do. Ensure you have the right appliances that fit within your space and your needs.

Consider the size of your dishwasher. In a small kitchen design, use a single drawer dishwasher or 450mm wide, instead of 600mm wide to save space.

Get a two-in-one. Save space by purchasing a convection oven rather than a separate microwave and oven.

Make the most of height. Maximise the height of your home’s kitchen for storage using oversized overhead cabinets.

Small kitchen design don’ts

Use cabinets. In small kitchens it’s best not to use cabinets with large empty spaces. Instead utilise drawers with specific places for all your kitchen items.

Keep things too close. It’s important to not have your cooktop and sink too close together as it’s a safety risk. You’ll also want to ensure that your cooktop and side panel aren’t too close together either, otherwise saucepan handles won’t be able to fit.

Have open shelves. Having defined storage spaces in your kitchen, rather than open shelves, will ensure you maximise your most valuable commodity – wall space. The more you fill wall spaces the more storage capacity you’ll have in your home.

Disrupt any doors. When it comes to appliance placement, always check that your dishwasher and oven can both be fully opened without hitting one another.

RELATED: 11 of the best kitchen bench top materials

kitchen benchtop with flowers and pots
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Things to remember about small kitchen design

A small kitchen doesn’t limit your design options. In fact, renovating or building a small kitchen is an opportunity to really flex your creative muscles and think outside the box. Just because the kitchen is small doesn’t mean you have to paint it white. Small kictchen design ideas can look dynamic and spacious even when filled with dark colours, bright colours, or bold colours. However, an all-white colour palette with stainless steel appliances and chrome fixtures is something of a classic kitchen look in Australia, one that won’t age quickly and, if you’re renovating for profit, will appeal to a broader audience.

Matthew Bateman, co-founder of the Property Mentors, says that a well-designed kitchen is not only beneficial to you, but it is more appealing to future home owners or prospective tenants. This sentiment is true regardless of the size of your kitchen.

“Open-plan living, stone benchtops, quality splashbacks, modern tapware or brand name appliances are just some of features that most buyers (and tenants) are both looking for and are often willing to pay a premium for,” says Matt.

RELATED: 20 design inspiration ideas for an all-white kitchen

10 of the best small kitchen design ideas & layouts

1. A modern small kitchen layout with plenty of storage ideas

scandinavian small kitchen design idea
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This small kitchen layout might be compact but the plentiful options of storage ideas, such as above and below bench cupboards and drawers, means the small space is easy to keep neat and clutter-free. This small kitchen design has used a colour palette of black, white and grey paired with a timber benchtop which makes the space feel open, simple and timeless.

2. A contemporary small apartment kitchen

contemporary apartment small kitchen
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This small apartment kitchen is perfect for small-space living because it’s compact, the appliances are integrated and the finishes are contemporary, simple and sleek. Keep a small space free of visual clutter to make it seem more spacious.

3. A kitchen design for a (very) small space

very small kitchen layout
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Just because you have a very limited amount of space doesn’t mean your kitchen can be functional and practical. It’s important that in a kitchen design for a small space that every inch is measured carefully so that appliance doors don’t hit other appliances, bench tops or cabinets when opened. Integrate as many appliances as possible into the cabinetry to maximise floorspace and reduce clutter.

4. A small kitchen design idea with a diner-style vibe

white kitchen with chequered flooring
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One way to solve a small-space problem is by filling the walls with floor-to-ceiling- shelving and adding some recessed shelves toy our spare space. With is chequered flooring, stainless steel benchtop and splashback and all-white cabinetry this kitchen gives off a diner-style vibe.

5. A modern one-wall small kitchen idea

modern small kitchen
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It’s easy to fit a small kitchen idea on to one wall if you plan it out correctly. Have custom cabinetry built that accommodates your appliances and keep the colour palette simple. For extra texture use tiles for your splashback and take them almost to the ceiling.

6. A small kitchen layout for apartment living

small kitchen apartment
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Renovating an apartment means every inch of space has to be maximised, but you certainly don’t need to compromise on style. This kitchen may be small, but the fridge is integrated into the wall, there’s floor-to-ceiling storage and the glossy white cabinetry paired with a timber veneer works wonders in an otherwise minimal space.

7. A basic small kitchen design idea

basic small kitchen design idea
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If you’re on a budget but want to create a small kitchen that is fully functional and won’t date, you can’t go past an all-white colour palette with stainless steel appliances and accessories. Flat-pack and other DIY kitchen renovation ideas are affordable and cater to this small kitchen design well, while countless retailers offer stainless steel appliances at affordable price points.

8. An eclectic small kitchen design idea

eclectic small kitchen design
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This small kitchen design idea is a little boho, a little eclectic, but has plenty of charm. The combination of painted and exposed brick brings texture to the space, the dark benchtops offer contrast, white keeps the over-all space feeling open and clean while a statement chandelier and rug bring personality to this small kitchen.

9. An industrial small kitchen idea

industrial small kitchen design
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This small kitchen idea is big on the industrial vibes thanks to the use of stainless steel appliances and upper cabinets, the grey colour palette, timber hardwood flooring and exposed brick wall. The black pendant light and industrial stools finish the looks.

10. A small kitchen design idea with a Parisian feel

small kitchen design idea white walls
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Parisian apartments are known for being small, old and having heaps of charm, and this small kitchen has a similar feel. A white-washed space with eclectic lighting and metallic handles is typical of a Parisian look, while the charcoal-painted splash-back and timber exposed shelving adds texture to the space. Add a small table and chairs that are mid-century modern and you have a recipe for success.

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