5 Great Ideas for Small Kitchens

Published on 24 Sep 2020

Size shouldn’t limit your ability to create a beautiful and functional kitchen. Use the following small kitchen tips and ideas, and it never will again.

Architects can make developing a kitchen can seem like magic. Add a glass ceiling here and an extension there and they can revolutionise a layout. But what can you do when construction isn’t possible? What if you’ve bought a listed building or can’t get planning permission?

*Shakes fist at the local council building.*

Thankfully, structural change isn’t the only way to open up a small space. If you can’t get planning permission (we offer a free guide to help with that, by the way), then your only option is to make smart cosmetic choices.

You should never compromise on style or usability, no matter your kitchen size. That’s why we’ve comprised a list of our top tips for small kitchen makeovers. Our ideas for remodelling small kitchens are the perfect starting point for anyone embarking on a kitchen journey who needs some inspiration.


Small grey handleless galley kitchen with wood-effect breakfast bar

H Line Sutton in Dust Grey

Small U-Shaped Kitchen Ideas

The best way to amplify a small kitchen is to work in a way that complements its shape. Many homeowners have a well-proportioned U-shaped kitchen but lack the knowhow to maximise its sense of space with furnishings. However, a few small changes can have a huge impact.

Small White Gloss Kitchens

Before you search “ideas for small kitchens layout” online, consider how you can use colours rather than shapes to get you started. According to leading researchers, bright colours reflect light, stimulating the brain to perceive open space, particularly when positioned at eyeline height.

Hence, using bright white and a gloss finish is a simple way to ensure your small kitchen appears larger. Natural light will bounce off your cabinets and literally trick your brain into perceiving the light, airy space as larger than it is in reality. And a glossy finish multiplies the effect.


Small kitchen island in a white shaker kitchen

Lumina White, designed by Knaresborough Kitchens in York

The talented team at Knaresborough Kitchens have used light well in this real U-shaped kitchen. This modern white gloss kitchen appears clean, fresh and—more importantly—large despite its compact size.

Small Kitchen Islands

If you’re dreaming of a kitchen island, don’t let a small kitchen get in your way. Islands add a sense of grandeur but can fit in lots of U-shaped kitchens, even those on a budget. At Masterclass, we offer a wide range of cabinet sizes to help your designer create a “skinny” kitchen island to suit small kitchens.


Small kitchen island in a dark blue shaker kitchen

Marlborough Scots Grey and Oxford Blue, designed by Ratford Bridge Kitchens in Haverfordwest

In this kitchen, the team at James Ratford Bridge created a small kitchen island that boasts storage and a breakfast bar. Despite taking up space, islands like the one featured actually make some spaces appear bigger, and are great ideas for small kitchen diners.

Small Galley Kitchen Ideas

It’s possible to replicate many strategies used to maximise U-shape kitchens with other layouts. Galley kitchens—the narrow kind you find on ships (hence the name)—though, typically have unique requirements due to their limited walk space. But don’t worry. We also have evidence-based advice to help with galley kitchens.

Storage for Small Kitchens

Many people believe that having a small kitchen limits the storage options at your disposal. However, at Masterclass, we provide oodles of smart kitchen storage choices for all room sizes—even narrow ones.


Extra wide modern drawers with handleless doors in a small narrow kitchen

H Line Sutton in Dust Grey

This open plan kitchen may only be a galley kitchen, for instance, but it contains both stylish and functional features.

The LineaPlus drawers in this modern handleless kitchen, for example, are the widest, deepest drawers on the market. And the MagnaSpace larders at the far end offer all the space of a larder and the accessibility of pull-out drawers—perfect for a tight corner. That’s a lot of slide-away storage!

Colours for Small Kitchens

As we’ve established, bright white surfaces at head height expand the perceived size of a room. Yet, you can still add splashes of colour into small kitchens without making them claustrophobic.


Brown and lilac cabinet door colours
Cream and blue kitchen cabinet door colours


The key to adding colour to a small kitchen is to opt for pastel shades. Some of our best cabinet door colours for this purpose include Sunset, Wisteria, Mussel and Powder Blue, all of which you can pair with complementary feature wall paint colours using a tool like this one on the Dulux website.


Small Shaker kitchen with light blue cabinet doors and D handles

Solva in Coastal Mist, designed by Owen Williams Kitchens in Coalville

In this small kitchen, the customers opted for our on-trend light blue shade, Coastal Mist. Our muted shades complement an array of light colours, keeping your small kitchen looking bright.

Open Shelving Instead of Wall Units

The use of wall units can often make a kitchen look smaller, which is why we always advise considering what storage you need and how you’re using your current kitchen, particularly when it’s narrow.


Open shelving in a small kitchen comprising oak shelves and write walls

H Line Sutton in Heritage Grey, designed by Now Kitchens in Cornwall

This small modern kitchen designed by Now Kitchens uses open shelving to great effect instead of wall units. Not only do they act as a space-saving design feature; they also offer ample storage for crockery.

Would You Love a Beautiful Small Kitchen?

Need more help furnishing a small kitchen or one that’s an unusual shape? Request a consultation  with one of our world-class kitchen design consultants. Or, if you just want more inspiration at this stage, become a Masterclass Insider for free. As a subscriber, you’ll get exclusive design tips, lifestyle advice and welcome guides to help you create the perfect kitchen for your lifestyle.

Click Here to Become a Masterclass Insider Today

Your next steps

Be Inspired by Free Brochures

Masterclass Kitchens Brochures

Get access to see our full selection of colours, doors, innovative storage options and timeless features that you won't find anywhere else. Browse hundreds of pages of pure inspiration.

Get Free Brochures

Talk to a Retailer

Find a Masterclass Kitchens Retailer

Find your local retailer and book an appointment with them to get invaluable advice, a personalised 3D design and a quote for your dream kitchen.

Find A Retailer

Masterclass Kitchens have featured in