Design Tips for Small Kitchens

We recently decided to flex our interior design muscles and create a kitchen design for a city centre apartment.  This kitchen is pretty compact but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to design a functional AND aesthetically pleasing kitchen where space is at a premium.  If you’re a fan of Scandinavian inspired design, then you’ll be pleased to know that this minimal approach works wonders in small spaces, and particularly kitchens because of its overtly streamlined and fuss-free appearance.

We’ve created a mood board of images which include characteristics of a contemporary kitchen design, with a focus on all things streamlined and sleek because these elements create a balanced and cohesive interior in a small space.

Side note: this style of mood board is perfect for kitchen design.  It’s actually quite challenging to curate a mood board of a kitchen design scheme due to the more ‘modular’ elements of a kitchen, and as a result mood boards can appear disjointed with too much white space.  Therefore, a grid layout with some products, inspiration images and a dollop of text is all you need to produce striking and professional results. Click HERE to learn more about our-soon-to-be-launched mood board course, where we will teach you how to create this style of mood board including many others.




Our first tip is to choose one colour for the units and use a flush fronted design to reinforce that streamlined look.  We also think that handles consisting of a minimal aesthetic are also very effective at keeping the overall design sleek and fuss-free.  Consider removing handles from wall units completely and opt for concealed or push-to-open for a truly contemporary look.

Image credit: Alexander White


Staying true to a muted Scandinavian colour palette for the units will help to underpin that sleek vibe, think about chalky white, light greys or muted greens & blues.  Colour is huge for kitchen units right now and there’s no reason why this can’t be incorporated into a small kitchen, BUT fresh, light colours are the way to go when trying to make a kitchen feel more airy and spacious.

Image credit: Helsingo


This is one of the most effective ways to add more presence and height to a kitchen.  It’s also an excellent way to make the most of the space available.  This is still a fairly new contemporary design trend for kitchens but we think it’s one that’s going to stay around for a long time!  Our fave Scandi Queen is Cate St Hill, and we drool over her IKEA kitchen on a weekly basis.  Obvs.

Image credit: Cate St Hill


Making the most of the space available is super important but don’t forget that too many wall units can overwhelm a small kitchen depending on the layout.  We think a great alternative to wall units is open shelving.  These are great ways to inject personality to your kitchen too; consider adding art, books and personal knick-knacks in addition to the more practical stuff.

Image credit: Pinterest


It doesn’t matter if you opt for metro tiles, herringbone or mosaic but we think one of the best ways to underpin a sleek, streamlined look (and thereby making the kitchen appear more spacious) is to have the worktop and wall tiles/splashback the same colour/tone.  The reason this winning combination creates a more spacious look is because the line where the wall meets the worktop is blurred and therefore doesn’t bring the wall into as much focus.  Yes, patterned tiles in a multitude of colours are all the rage but sleek, streamlined kitchens that are tight on space need a uniform and consistent approach.  A high contrast kitchen with different finishes, patterns and colours will struggle to produce a harmonious and spacious aesthetic. This is when you need to have the courage, as an Interior Designer, to not allow yourself to be seduced by current trends and have the confidence to design a space using methods that will play with proportions and scale to increase the sense of space.

Image credit: These Four Walls


You know us, we can’t just stop at a juicy mood board and a ‘top 5’!  We’ve created a photo-real 3D visual of our kitchen design, taking inspiration from our recommendations above. This kitchen is based on real-life dimensions and we’ve suggested muted blue/grey cabinets, with extended wall units.  We’ve also opted for a quartz worktop and marble hexagon wall tiles, which we think are DOPE! The leather handles on the base units add a very unique (and uber designer) touch, and help to warm up the overall aesthetic due to their tone and texture.  A rustic wooden shelf also adds visual interest and practical storage, while the black tap gives a nod to a very contemporary and edgy look – perfect for a city centre pad.  We’ve included dollops of wood throughout the space to continue adding warmth, and have incorporated colour via the seriously Scandi Menu bottle grinders, books, art and other accessories.  It’s this level of styling that can transform a seemingly cool Scandinavian kitchen into a much more inviting and personal space. 




Chevron Chopping Board, Willow & Stone

Round Wooden Tray, John Lewis

Menu Bottle Grinders, Nordic Nest

Watercolour Print, Minted

Line Art, Desenio


Yep, we’re giving away the 3D model of the wooden tray vignette, comprising the Menu bottle grinders, a marble candle holder, a little book and a vase of meadow flowers.  We’re also including the Chevron chopping board to complete this Scandi look!  All you have to do is like and comment on our Instagram post dated 13 October telling us what you love the most about our Scandinavian kitchen design!  Easy-peasy!  We’re going to pick FIVE winners at random on Tuesday at 9pm GMT.  Good luck!

Click the image to take a closer look at our yummy SketchUp 3D model in our online shop!


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