Small kitchen ideas on a budget - how to go big on style
Small kitchen ideas on a budget don't need to scrimp on style - and they needn't cost a fortune
Think small kitchen ideas on a budget don't exist, and can't be stylish unless you spend a fortune? Think again.
Tighter spaces lend themselves to mini statement features such as colourful splashbacks and boldly patterned flooring, and small kitchen ideas can be among some of the most daring and creative. Even installing a trendy tap can bring your bijou kitchen bang up to date.
From choosing stream-lined, handleless cabinets and savvy storage solutions, to keeping colours light on top and illuminating dingy corners, there's a host of simple - and affordable - interiors tricks to draw upon to make the most of your space.
Below are some of our favourite examples of diminutive kitchens that pack a design punch.
Hide functionality behind flair
This London pied-à-terre is a masterclass in compact open-plan living. Floating glass shelves above the base cabinets allow for a touch of character in the form of plants and decorative objects, while a hanging rail retains that coveted open feel while keeping kitchen paraphernalia close to hand.
"Just because a kitchen is bijou, it doesn't mean it can't be big on style," says bespoke kitchen designer Charlie Smallbone of Ledbury Studio. "Here, we have hidden much of the functionality behind closed, pewter-fronted doors, meaning all you see is a collection of handmade pieces of furniture. Whether you are dining at the table or lounging in the living area, you will always have a beautiful view."
Go handleless for clean-lined cabinets
Small kitchens can quickly look cluttered, so keep detailing to a minimum and avoid the shaker style. Handleless cabinets create a contemporary, clean-lined effect that doesn't confuse or overwhelm the eye. There's a wide range of finishes to choose from, including the modern glossy white of these units, recently chosen by interior designer Gillian Segal for a sleek new apartment in Vancouver.
Light up dark corners and spotlight hidden features
When it comes to lighting your small kitchen, Rohan Blacker, founder and designer, Pooky, suggests installing downlights or LED strip lighting in the recesses of your cabinets.
"They're great at highlighting darker corners and will really open up your space," he says. "Use lighting to highlight certain features in your kitchen that may be hidden in the shadows of overhanging cabinets, be it your new red toaster or a statement tiled splashback."
Play with blurred lines
"Light and muted worktops work brilliantly in smaller kitchens as they naturally reflect light back into the room," says Julia Trendell, design expert at Benchmarx Kitchen and Joinery.
"Blurring the lines of where the worktop ends and the wall starts is another great trick for making a kitchen feel larger. Continue a granite or quartz worktop up the wall as a splashback or upstand to give the illusion of more space with minimum hassle."
Get playful with a colourful splashback
It's easy to make a feature of a splashback in a small space. Even if it's the only thing you change, it'll make an impact and give your whole kitchen a lift. Tiles ooze elegance, or look to glass and metallic splashbacks if you need to bounce more light around the place.
Make a bijou floor statement
Statement patterned kitchen tiles help draw the eye away from the dimensions of a room. They look really cool in bijou spaces, if you're on a budget, the good news is that you don't need many! Floor tiling doesn't tend to overpower a space, adding instant personality that you might not be able to fit in elsewhere. Look to Harvey Maria for this easy-clean luxury vinyl tiling (LVT) that looks like the real deal but won't break the bank.
Give tired units a fresh lick of paint
To liven up an uninspiring kitchen without starting from scratch, give tired kitchen cabinet doors, radiators and even some fridges a fresh lick of paint. Even wall and floor tiles can be painted on a budget. Choose a hard-wearing paint that can be applied directly to your kitchen surfaces. Look for a smooth, stain-resistant finish that quickly wipes clean in the event of spills and splashes. Shown here is Anthracite from V33 at just £18 per litre.
Use flooring to help a broken layout flow
Not got an open-plan kitchen? Flooring can be used to connect your space to the rest of your home. For creating the perception of space, David Snazel, hard flooring buyer at Carpetright, recommends a light wood finish floor with a single plank design.
"Carry the same flooring from the kitchen to conjoining areas to create a consistent flow between the rooms," he says. "Chevron wood flooring can be especially effective running from a narrow kitchen into a separate dining or living space, making these areas feel harmonious."
Nab a designer ex-display bargain
Did you know that you could snap up kitchens that were formerly used in showrooms? There are brilliant bargains to be found, such as this designer ex-display kitchen from Used Kitchen Exchange. Given the confined space of most showrooms, these kitchens are often packed with smart storage solutions. What's more, buying 'used' helps offset your carbon footprint in the name of sustainability, and what could be cooler than that?
Don't be afraid of the dark
"It is not strictly necessary to stick to a bright palette in small kitchens," says Ben Burbridge, managing director at Kitchen Makers. "If you'd prefer to use dark, rich tones, try to create consistency through the textures and materials so as not to overwhelm the space."
Go lighter on top and darker down below
Overhead cabinets can make an already tight kitchen feel even more cramped, but if you need the storage, detract from their bulk by painting them a lighter shade than your base units.
How do I make my outdoor dining space feel cozier? The 5 secrets to more intimate entertaining in your backyard
Want an outdoor space that draws you in and feels comforting and cozy on nights spent dining alfresco? These are the 5 things that will make all the difference
By Aditi Sharma Maheshwari • Published
Master a timeless yet modern bathroom with Ideal Standard’s new collections
The latest ranges combine the best of past and present for bathroom designs that promise to ensure transient trends
By Sponsored • Published
25 bathroom trends for 2023 - from the color to the quick buy that is making a big design splash this year
The bathroom trends for 2023 include the warmth of honeyed tones to the quick storage fix everyone needs now. Design experts explain how to use these new ideas in your own space
By Pip Rich • Last updated
Interior design trends 2023: the 31 decorating looks for the year
This year's most key colors, textures, accessories and moods have been decoded to help you shape your space
By Roddy Clarke • Last updated
Design-forward living room ideas to give your home a refresh
Living room ideas from our favorite homes, filled with designs and trends to inspire
By Amy Moorea Wong • Last updated
Bathroom tile ideas – 23 creative ways with color, pattern and installations
Use these bathroom tile ideas to add texture, pattern and even a touch of glamor to this very important room
By Hebe Hatton • Last updated
16 living room wallpaper ideas that'll convince you patterned wallcoverings are the way to go
These brilliant living room wallpaper ideas offer up inspiration for how to apply print, pattern and texture to different areas of your scheme
By Hugh Metcalf • Published
Crittall-style doors – 20 ideas that prove this timeless trend is here to stay
Fall for the charm of crittall-style doors, windows and room dividers all over again with our gallery of the best ideas
By Lotte Brouwer • Published
Florist Angela Maynard on how to care for dried flowers and how to style them in a modern home
Knowing how to care for dried flowers means you can have stylish arrangements that last for years. Author and florist Angela Maynard shares her tips
By Angela Maynard • Last updated
15 cozy living room ideas – how to create a stylish den-like space in your home
These cozy living room ideas are sure to make you want to curl up, surrounded with throws and cushions, no matter what the time of year
By Hebe Hatton • Last updated