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Small kitchen design nz clever use of colour

Top 9 Tips for Small Kitchen Designs + 10 Mistake to avoid

Living in Aukcland often means making the most of compact spaces, and the kitchen is no exception. Small kitchen design can be just as stylish and functional as its larger counterparts. In fact, with a bit of creativity and planning, you can create a kitchen that feels both spacious and inviting.

At Little Giant Interiors, we specialise in creating dream kitchens, regardless of size. In this guide, we’ll share our top tips for designing a small kitchen in New Zealand, focusing on maximizing space, incorporating clever storage solutions, and using light and color to create an illusion of spaciousness.

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Tip 1: Maximizing Space in Your Small Kitchen

When it comes to small kitchen design, every inch counts. Here are some key strategies to maximize the space in your kitchen:

  • Make the most of vertical space: Install full-height cabinets that reach all the way to the ceiling. This will provide you with significantly more storage space without sacrificing valuable floor space. You can also use wall-mounted shelves or pot racks to store frequently used items.

  • Go for slim appliances: Standard-depth appliances can eat up valuable counter space in a small kitchen. Consider opting for slimmer profile appliances, such as a narrow dishwasher or a built-in oven and microwave combo unit.

  • Open up your layout: If possible, consider opening up your kitchen layout to create a more spacious feel. This could involve removing a non-load-bearing wall or knocking down a half-wall to create an open-plan kitchen-living area.

  • Embrace multi-functional furniture: Look for furniture that serves multiple purposes. For example, a breakfast bar can double as a workspace, or an island bench can provide additional storage and seating.

Project Spotlight below: Despite the size of the area, we were able to design a kitchen that provided our clients enough storage and surface space. Our kitchen designer used timber for the top cabinets to add a designer element and to give this kitchen a clean yet earthy feel. The benchtop is made of engineered stone, SPF water proof flooring, Timber veneer top cabinets, no handle cabinetry and Acrylic panels for bottom cabinetry.
Small kitchen design in a kitchen renovation
small kitchen design nz

Tip 2. Clever Storage Solutions for Small Kitchens

Storage is essential in any kitchen, but it’s especially important in a small kitchen. Here are some clever storage solutions to help you keep your kitchen organized and clutter-free:

  • Install pull-out drawers: Pull-out drawers are far more functional than traditional cabinets in a small kitchen. They provide easy access to all your stored items, no matter how far back they are in the cabinet.

  • Utilize corner cabinets: Corner cabinets can be a great way to maximize storage space in your kitchen. There are a variety of clever corner cabinet solutions available, such as lazy susans or pull-out shelves.

  • Get creative with cabinet dividers: Cabinet dividers can help you organize your cabinets more efficiently. Use dividers to create designated spaces for pots and pans, dishes, spices, and other kitchen essentials.

  • Think vertically with wall-mounted storage: Wall-mounted shelves, hooks, and pegboards can provide additional storage space without taking up valuable floor space. Use wall-mounted storage for items you use frequently, such as pots, pans, utensils, or cookbooks.

  • Make the most of your walls: Don’t forget about the potential storage space on your walls! Hang pot racks, utensil holders, or knife magnets to keep your most-used items within easy reach.

small Kitchen design storage ideas
Pull out bins to avoid clutter.
Magic corner in kitchen cabinets
Magic corners for corner cabinets for easy accesibility.
Small kitchen design storage ideas
Pull out condiment drawers.

Tip 3. Incorporating Light and Color in Your Small Kitchen

The right use of light and color can make a small kitchen feel more spacious and airy. Here are some tips:

  • Embrace natural light: Natural light is essential in any kitchen, but it’s especially important in a small kitchen. Make the most of natural light by maximizing the size of your windows and keeping them clear of clutter.

  • Opt for light colors: Light colors reflect light, making a small kitchen feel more spacious. Consider painting your walls, cabinets, and countertops in light colors such as white, cream, or light gray.

  • Use pops of color strategically: While light colors are essential for creating a sense of spaciousness, you can also incorporate pops of color to add personality to your kitchen. Use accent colors on your backsplash, bar stools, or artwork.

  • Task lighting is key: In addition to natural light, you’ll also need good task lighting in your kitchen. Under-cabinet lighting is a great way to illuminate your workspace and make it feel more inviting.

Project Spotlight: This kitchen was designed keeping in mind that the client wanted a pop of colour but something understated and sleek at the same time.
Small kitchen design nz clever use of colour
Kitchen design nz

Tip 4. The Foldaway Feast: Embrace Space saving Transformation

Imagine a kitchen that transforms to suit your needs. Folding or retractable elements can be game-changers in small kitchen design.

  • Fold-Down Table: Think Murphy beds, but for your dining area! Install a sturdy fold-down table that seamlessly tucks away against the wall when not in use. This frees up valuable floor space, perfect for maneuvering or creating a more open feel. Consider a table that folds down from a wall-mounted cabinet for additional storage functionality.

  • Retractable Countertop Extensions: Need extra prep space but worried about a cluttered look? Retractable countertop extensions are your secret weapon. These ingenious additions slide out when needed, providing additional surface area for food preparation. When you’re done, they disappear seamlessly back into the cabinetry, maintaining an uncluttered and spacious feel.

Tip 5. The Magic of Mirrors: Expand Your Kitchen Virtually

Mirrors aren’t just for vanity anymore. Strategically placed mirrors can create the illusion of a larger space in your small kitchen design. This clever trick reflects light and makes the room feel more open and airy, alleviating the feeling of crampedness.

  • Mirrored Backsplashes: Swap out traditional backsplashes for mirrored tiles. This reflects light from the windows and bounces it around the room, creating a sense of depth and spaciousness. Opt for easy-to-clean, moisture-resistant tiles specifically designed for backsplashes.

  • Mirrored Cabinet Doors: Take the mirrored effect a step further with mirrored cabinet doors. This expands the perceived size of your kitchen even more and adds a touch of sophistication. Consider mirrored doors for upper cabinets to maximize the reflective impact.

Tip 6. Embrace the Vertical Garden: A Fusion of Functionality and Flair

Don’t have enough floor space for a sprawling herb garden? Utilize vertical space for a unique and functional touch in your small kitchen design.

  • Living Wall Herb Garden: Install a vertical herb garden on a well-lit wall near a window. This allows you to grow fresh herbs year-round, adding a pop of life and delicious ingredients to your culinary creations. Pre-built vertical garden kits with built-in irrigation systems make this a low-maintenance solution.

  • Living Wall Feature: Feeling adventurous? Explore the world of living wall systems. These innovative vertical gardens are essentially self-contained ecosystems with built-in irrigation and lighting. Choose plants that thrive in kitchens with moderate light and humidity, and create a lush green feature wall that purifies the air while adding a touch of the outdoors.

Tip 7. The Mobile Island Revolution: Untether Your Kitchen

For ultimate flexibility in your small kitchen design, consider a mobile kitchen island. This innovative solution provides additional prep space, storage, and even seating when needed.

  • Multifunctional Marvel: Mobile islands can be equipped with drawers, cabinets, and even a built-in cutting board. This provides much-needed storage and workspace in a compact footprint.

  • Seating on Demand: Some mobile islands feature built-in stools or pull-out extensions that transform them into a breakfast bar or casual dining area. This is perfect for small kitchens where a dedicated dining space might not be feasible.

  • Mobility is Key: The beauty of a mobile island lies in its flexibility. When you need extra floor space, simply roll it away. This allows you to easily reconfigure your kitchen for different tasks, maximizing its functionality in a small space.

Tip 8. Compact Appliances, Big Impact: Prioritize Space Without Compromising Performance

While opting for slim-profile appliances is a must in small kitchen design, consider alternative solutions for bulky items.

  • Combination Microwave and Oven Unit: Save precious cabinet space by opting for a combination microwave and oven unit. This innovative appliance performs the functions of both a microwave and a conventional oven, eliminating the need for separate units.

  • Under-Counter Dishwasher: Traditional dishwashers can take up valuable floor space in a small kitchen. Consider installing an under-counter dishwasher. This space-saving solution seamlessly integrates beneath your countertop, freeing up valuable cabinet space for other kitchen essentials.

Tip 9. Let There Be Light (Everywhere): Illuminate Functionality and Create Ambiance

In a small kitchen, good lighting is essential not just for functionality but also to create a sense of spaciousness. A multi-layered lighting approach is key.

  • Task Lighting Under Cabinets: Under-cabinet lighting illuminates your workspace, making food preparation and cleaning tasks easier and safer. Choose LED strip lights for an energy-efficient and long-lasting solution.

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Designing a Small Kitchen

When designing a small kitchen, it’s important to avoid making common mistakes that can further cramp your space. Here are 10 mistakes to keep in mind:

  1. Not measuring your space carefully: Before you start planning your kitchen renovation, it’s essential to carefully measure your space. This includes measuring the length, width, and height of your kitchen, as well as the location of doorways, windows, and plumbing
  1. Ignoring the work triangle: The work triangle refers to the imaginary path between the sink, stove, and refrigerator. In a small kitchen, it’s even more important to optimize this workflow. Ensure these three areas are positioned in a close and efficient layout to minimize unnecessary movement while cooking.

         3. Neglecting ventilation: A good ventilation system is essential in any kitchen, but especially important in a small space. Poor ventilation can lead to lingering              cooking odors and grease buildup. Invest in a powerful range hood to remove smoke, steam, and cooking smells effectively.

         4. Forgetting about clearances: When planning your layout, consider the clearance you’ll need around appliances and between countertops for comfortable                 movement. Aim for at least 36 inches (90 cm) of clearance between opposing countertops to allow for easy maneuvering, especially when opening cabinet                   doors or appliance doors.


Kitchen Colour Tips: What is right for your kitchen design?

          5. Underestimating storage needs: Don’t underestimate how much storage you’ll need in your small kitchen. Carefully assess your cooking habits and the items            you need to store. Utilize every available space for storage solutions like built-in pantries, pull-out drawers, and vertical organizers.

           6. Overlooking scale: When selecting furniture and appliances, consider the scale of your kitchen. Opt for compact or slim-line appliances to avoid                                   overwhelming the space. Choose chairs and tables with a smaller footprint to maintain a sense of openness.

           7. Not considering accessibility: Ensure your kitchen design is accessible for everyone who will use it. This may involve installing lower cabinets for easy reach,             incorporating pull-out shelves for deeper cabinets, and ensuring ample space for maneuvering a wheelchair if necessary.

           8. Going overboard with closed cabinets: While storage is crucial, too many closed cabinets can make a small kitchen feel closed in. Consider incorporating                  some open shelving or glass-front cabinets to create a more open and airy feel.

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Types of Kitchen Cabinetry materials today

           9. Forgetting about functionality over style: While aesthetics are important, prioritize functionality in your small kitchen. Choose durable and easy-to-clean               materials for countertops, floors, and backsplashes. Opt for hardware that’s easy to grip and use, especially for frequently used drawers and cabinets.


         10. Skimping on professional help: While DIY projects can be rewarding, consider consulting with experienced kitchen designers, especially for small kitchen                 renovations. A professional designer can help you maximize space, create an efficient layout, and avoid costly mistakes.

Little Giant Interiors: Your Partner in Small Kitchen Design

At Little Giant Interiors, we understand the unique challenges of designing a small kitchen. We have a team of experienced designers and renovation specialists who can help you create a kitchen that is both beautiful and functional. We offer a wide range of services, from initial planning and design to construction and installation.

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