Tips For Creating a Small but Beautiful Kitchen

5th November 2019

By Jemima Smith

A few weeks ago, Zoe and Letty ventured out of Clerkenwell to photograph a small but very beautiful kitchen in Covent Garden; we posted a couple of the pictures on Instagram, and it went down an absolute treat, so we decided to write a blog dedicated to small kitchens, and how to make the most of your space. So we hope this post will provide a little inspiration for those of you who don’t have massive kitchens, a little inspiration to prove you really can create your own mini version of your dream kitchen.

The Covent Garden Kitchen

This Real Shaker Kitchen is painted in Linen, with Honed Nero Absoluto Granite worktops. The customer opted for our Bella Brass classic cabinet handles and cupboard catches, and deVOL Aged Brass Ionian and Pot Filler taps by Perrin & Rowe. To make the most of the space, we incorporated a full-height larder cupboard, as well as a couple of wall cupboards and a brass hanging rail. We think this kitchen works perfectly; it’s minimal, stylish and unobtrusive. Not to mention the big sash window that really opens up the space, letting daylight stream in.

The Covent Garden Kitchen

When you picture your dream kitchen, what does it look like? A big island with a skylight overhead and an open-plan dining space? For lots of us, this isn’t a reality, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still have the kitchen of your dreams. One of the most common misconceptions when it comes to redoing a kitchen is that you need lots of room to create your ideal space. We’re here to tell you: this isn’t the case!

Our talented kitchen designers have worked on kitchens of all shapes and sizes, and they’re pros at making the most out of the space you’ve got! I spoke to Oli, the deVOL designer who worked on the Covent Garden galley kitchen above, and asked what tips he suggested for small kitchens, of which he had a few!


1. Keep the design simple and minimal

A kitchen with lots going on can feel cramped and disjointed, especially when it’s a small space. At deVOL, we aren’t big fans of kitchens with lots of gadgets and gizmos; the simpler the better! The Clerkenwell Kitchen is the perfect example of this…

This beautiful Shaker Kitchen in Clerkenwell is small but perfectly formed. Its simple design makes the most of every inch!


2. Make the most of your space

Storage is one of the most important elements in any kitchen, but it’s particularly important when you have less space to play with! By maximising every spare inch, reorganising areas that don’t work as well as they should and adding extra solutions where necessary, you can turn even the smallest of spaces into a storage haven. Integrated appliances can be super useful for creating a clean, sleek look and also allows more room for drawers and cupboards.  

The St. John’s Square Sebastian Cox Kitchen 


3. Cut the clutter

Decluttering surfaces can have a dramatic impact on the openness of a room. Consider clever solutions like wall-mounted magnetic knife strips, rails to hang utensils, pans, mugs, spice jars and cutlery bins. Also think about what you need to have to hand every day, such as chopping boards, wooden spoons, washing-up liquid, and what can be stored away until needed. Our brass hanging rail is a perfect example…

deVOL’s Aged Brass Hanging Rail


4. Think outside the kitchen

Consider what you need vs what you want. As Oli wisely put: ‘Design for the space that you have, not the space you wish you had.’ When you’re designing for a small space, sometimes it’s just not possible to have everything you want in one room. Think about what you actually need, and prioritise those things. For example, could you put the washing machine in a separate room? Instead of having extra cupboards for all your plates and bowls, how about having a freestanding dresser in the dining area/living space? Sacrifice that wine cooler for a slim integrated dishwasher!

A Countryside Kitchen Outside of Berlin


5. Go for durable worktops

If you have a small kitchen, you’re not going to have a ton of worktop space, which means that the worktop you do have will take much more of a beating than a larger kitchen with plenty of countertop space. Choosing a practical and durable worktop is important as you want whatever surface you choose to last. The owners of this kitchen in Bath chose Caeserstone Quartz in order to achieve the sleek look of marble without the hassle of looking after it: 

A Georgian Apartment in Bath

The owners of this kitchen were clever in using every available inch of space that they had, and created a lovely little breakfast bar by the window to save space on a dining table!

A Georgian Apartment In Bath


6. Consider shelving or glazed wall cupboards

As a rule of thumb, keeping everything low-level will make the space feel bigger and more open. This is where shelves come in handy! As well as allowing freedom of movement, cupboard-free walls create a feeling of light and space. Paint your shelving in the same colour as the walls so that they seemingly disappear into the background, or paint them in a contrasting colour so that they sing out. Even narrow shelves can make a big difference in a small kitchen, especially if you have reduced-depth base cabinetry and want to avoid creating a ‘corridor’ effect. This Shaker kitchen is a perfect example of using shelves to create a more open look:

An Edwardian Villa in Cardiff

For some of us, forfeiting wall cupboards just isn’t an option; in this case, glazed wall cupboards are the best option. Wall cupboards can block natural light out, glazed cabinets are effective in kitchens which lack natural daylight, as they give an illusion of more space and light. Glazed wall cupboards look beautiful, they have character and are a lovely way of showing off much-loved crockery and glassware, like this wall cupboard in our St. John’s Square showroom…

A Glazed Wall Cupboard at the St. John’s Square Showroom


7. Think about colours

One of the oldest tricks in the book to make a room feel more spacious is to use pale colours. These tend to make a room feel open and airy because they reflect light. Use similar pale tones on the walls, kitchen cabinets and countertops, and camouflage bulky pieces like radiators by painting them the same colour as the walls. The Pimlico Kitchen is a perfect example of using a light colour to create a feeling of space…

The Pimlico Kitchen

That being said, we’d like to debunk the belief that painting your kitchen in a dark statement colour makes it look smaller; it doesn’t! In fact, it can make it feel more spacious. Consider painting the walls the same shade as the cupboards to create an atmospheric room and the illusion of more space, like the owners did in the Bloomsbury Kitchen:

The Bloomsbury Kitchen

So there you have it, seven tips on creating your dream kitchen in a small space!