Thanks to a few clever design tricks, the kitchen the kitchen is having a well-deserved time, says interiors editor Nicole Gray
Give your small space some personality with color and pattern, but keep the details simple and avoid surface clutter. For a similar pink tint, try Muted Bubblegum, £42 for 2.5 litres, lick.com. Check tiles-direct.com for similar glossy herringbone floor tiles
There was a time when the galley kitchen was considered a complete failure in the style stakes. Named after the narrow food preparation area on a ship, with two parallel rows of wall and base cabinets or counters on either side of a central gangway, it was considered cramped and uninspiring.
Yet, as many of us are looking to downsize, every inch of space matters. And the efficiency and practicality of an open-plan kitchen has made it a design choice – kitchen specialist Magnet has even declared it to be the most sought-after style this year.
The key to successful American cuisine? Careful planning. While smart storage is important, the goal isn’t to cram as many closets as possible, as that will make the space look boxy. Opt for open shelving instead to create a less enclosed feel and keep everything from plates to bowls within easy reach. If you’re drawn to wall cabinets, consider sliding doors for a seamless feel.
Also utilize any wall space you have by installing cabinets with hooks underneath to hang pots or serving spoons, or add a slim wall rack to store pot lids or spices. Lakeland.co.uk sells a wide selection.
Let whatever isn’t on display do the talking. For example, colored glasses will add visual interest without the clutter, and a pitcher can double as a countertop vase. Elevate essential hardware like doorknobs and faucets into standout pieces with brass and metal fittings. These will not only add a touch of luxury to the space, but the reflective surfaces will also help to bounce the light around.
In some small spaces, a lot of hardware can seem overwhelming, in which case stick to handles or push-to-open cabinets. Here, custom-cut handles are used on the cupboards for a hassle-free finish and appliances are integrated for a streamlined feel.
Create a sense of space with light-reflecting paint
Celadon, £65 for 2.5 litres, Houseofhackney.com, Morning Light, £27 for 2.5 litres, Dulux, Homebase.co.uk, Serene Peach, £21 for 1 litre, Yescolours.com and On Mute, 25 £ for 1 litre, Coatpaints.com
Incorporating floor-to-ceiling textured cabinetry will create a focal point and draw the eye upward in a compact space. Here there is a built-in refrigerator, a cooking zone and a sink behind the panels. For similar kitchen counter stools, try coxandcox.co.uk. For similar wooden doorknobs try etsy.com
Small as they are, kitchens are the social center of the home. To create a space you want to spend time in – and draw attention away from its small proportions – try painting the cabinetry in vibrant tones. For similar floor tiles, go to bertandmay.com. Wall and kitchen light by neptune.com
Easy upgrades in a small space
★ Opt for light-reflecting surfaces such as wall mirrors, stainless steel worktops and glossy tiled splashbacks. All of this will cleverly create the illusion of space. B&Q (diy.com) sells a wide selection.
★ Wooden cabinets will add warmth to a small space. Unstained maple, birch and bamboo are timeless and you can always paint them if you feel like a change of scenery.
★ Patterned tiles or vinyl are great for distracting the eye from narrow proportions and making the space feel larger. Harveymaria.com sells a wide selection of vinyl options.
★ Zoom in details. A colorful faucet or wall hook adds a splash of fun to a practical space. Try dowsingandreynolds.com for an eye-catching selection of faucets in summery hues.
Here, dark cabinetry brings a touch of glamour. Large windows bring in extra light, while pale walls brighten the room. Cabinets painted in Railings Modern Eggshell, £77 for 2.5 litres; walls painted in Bathrobe Modern Emulsion (which is washable and mildew resistant), £56 for 2.5 litres, both farrow-ball.com
3 of the best
These wall storage solutions reduce clutter and save space
£46, iDesign, amazon.co.uk
£129, peg and board, etsy.com