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How to Create Small Kitchen Layouts

Small kitchens aren’t unusual, but they sometimes do have unusual shapes! At Exeter Kitchen Store we come across all kinds of kitchens and have established a few key design elements that help to make the most of limited space. Check out our below tips and ideas so you know how to create the best small kitchen layout for your home!

Galley kitchen layout

Small Galley Kitchen Designs

A galley kitchen is straight forward in its design. Quite simply, it is two rows of cabinets lining two facing walls, leaving a corridor passage down the middle. Because this style of kitchen is super simple, with no twists or turns in it, there is full access to each cabinet. This means you don’t have any corner cabinets you need to watch out for or add corner mechanisms to, however, it does mean there often isn’t much space to work with.

At EKS, when creating small galley kitchen designs, to overcome the limited space available we recommend using tall wall units, as these are perfect for maximising storage. Linear designs also make the world of difference and are easy to achieve with simple straight edge handles or a handleless door. Additionally, the galley kitchen can be designed by ensuring drawers and door lines meet and create clean lines. Of course, at Exeter Kitchen Store we can offer specific recommendations based on available space and individual needs.

An example of where the Exeter Kitchen Store Team was able to maximise available space in a galley kitchen can be seen below. At the end of the left-hand row of cabinets a chisel base cabinet was used. The chisel base unit starts the depth of a standard cabinet and tapers off to a narrower end. This way, the entire space is used, and no storage is lost if one end of the room is more confined, or a greater area is required to open a door. This kitchen additionally features a pull-out table in a top drawer, so extra work surface area is available if required.

galley kitchen layout

galley kitchen layout

Small U-Shaped Kitchen Designs

A U-shaped kitchen is pretty much what it sounds like, a kitchen designed in the shape of a ‘U’. Mostly these kitchens tend to have an uninterrupted design, where the worktop joins the cabinets together, forming the U-shape. However, it is possible to add extra units to create the same shape if a door or passageway prevents the units connecting. Small U-shaped kitchen designs don’t tend to leave much space other than for cooking, as each available space tends is filled with cabinets and worktop areas. To prevent the space from feeling too busy or crowded, we recommend including a couple of open shelves instead of wall cabinets. This way you still have storage space, but the room lets in more space and air. The shape of this kitchen additionally is perfect for making use of a working triangle, as the design encircles the space, so there is plenty of opportunity for strategic placement of the cooker, fridge and sink for easy access.

u shaped kitchen layout

The kitchen above shows that while this is still quite a compact kitchen, the EKS Team was able to create a seating space with the use of a breakfast bar. This style of design is perfect if you don’t have extra space available for a dining table. This kitchen was designed with a shorter wall unit (on the left), placed higher up, as it is the space the owner of the kitchen would use regularly. Taller wall cabinets were placed alongside it to ensure there was still maximum storage space available.

open plan kitchen layout

Small Open Kitchen Design

When it comes to small open kitchen designs, these tend to be very simple, usually with the kitchen lining just one wall, as the remainder of the space is used for either a small dining space, or lends itself to the rest of a studio apartment. Alternatively, a peninsula is also an option for small open kitchen designs, as the peninsula could be used as a divide between the cooking and living space, as well as providing more storage space and a greater worktop area.

When working with such a limited space, the Exeter Kitchen Store Team is a big fan of including integrated appliances such as microwaves (seen in the image above) as this helps remove clutter from the surfaces and keeps it free for food prep. Storage can additionally be maximized by including an under oven drawer, as well as plenty of drawer sets to ensure the entire cabinet space is accessible. Tall wall units also help to increase storage and glossy splashbacks are perfect for bouncing light around, ensuring the open design is created in the most efficient way possible.

Small kitchen with an island

Small Kitchen with Island Layout

If you have space to include an island within your design, this is something that can definitely be used to your advantage! Islands are perfect for providing extra storage as well as more surface area for food prep. Islands are also an ideal option if you’d like to capitalise on your kitchen space and simultaneously create a dining area, as islands can be used as an alternative table. The same concept applies if you’re thinking about including a peninsula in your design. Additionally, an island is an effective addition to the working triangle, as it can enhance the kitchen's functionality.

To make the most of the kitchen above, this space was designed with a short larder unit which features pull-out drawers for access and convenience. The island includes a space for a bin, so the kitchen is kept clutter free, and the handleless Remo door has been chosen in a gloss finish to bounce light around the room, making the kitchen appear larger.

We hope this guide to small kitchen layouts is a helpful start to planning your kitchen and making the most of the available space! Of course, the EKS Team is always on hand to give you help tailored to your kitchen and individual needs – so don’t hesitate to get in touch.

small kitchen design advice


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