How to get the most out of a small kitchen


For those living in small flats in big cities, small kitchens are very common. In fact, kitchens in new-builds today are 13% smaller than those built in the 1960s. [1] So, it’s no surprise that small kitchens are a common obstacle when it comes to renovating, with many unsure of how to achieve their dream kitchen in a miniature space.

The key to success in a small kitchen is simple: imagination and planning! Whatever the size or shape you have to work with, the trick is to create the illusion of more space with a smart layout and clever storage solutions. But how? Darren Watts, Showroom Development & Design Director for Wren Kitchens, offers some hints and tips when it comes to designing your perfect small kitchen.


“A kitchen should be a functional yet enjoyable space – one where you should be able to prepare food and store your utensils but still enjoy conversations and socialise. BU_S26B-CB_SINK_TOP_[F01]It’s all too easy for a small kitchen to feel cluttered.

Uninterrupted worktops, paired with a sunken worktop sink, will help to create the illusion of more space while providing a practical area for cooking and baking.  Wren’s Corian worktops not only offer a virtually seamless ultra-modern look, but they’re perfect for those living in high-rise flats as they’re expertly puzzled together onsite.

It’s tempting to grab all the latest gadgets, but if you’re trying to create space in your kitchen then having them cluttering your surfaces is the last thing you want to do. Be honest with yourself about which appliances you use most often and find everything else a new home in your cabinets.

If your kitchen can accommodate a small dining area, position the table or island parallel to the worktop so it can double up as a second food preparation space when needed.”


“Too many units in a small kitchen can make the room feel claustrophobic. If your space is narrow, try to keep door frontals in one or two neat lines – to draw the eye forward, emphasising the length of the room.

At Wren we’re savvy on how to optimise space. Having a place for everything and anything in its place saves time, energy and will keep your kitchen looking good. Good storage isn’t about having units by the dozen. It’s about choosing the right units for the job with lots of clever features. Such as shallow drawers with dividers allowing you to house that always awkward potato masher and integrated recycling bins attached inside your cupboard. For raised storage, leaving a gap between the wall unit and the ceiling will also give the illusion of a larger space.WS_S42-MC_Island-end_[F05]

Exposed shelving can be a great and budget-friendly alternative to wall units and can offer smaller kitchens character. However, they do require much more effort to keep tidy, because if the contents are on show everything must always be clean and tidy – it’s not for everyone but if done right the effect can be really impactful.

If you’re struggling to work out how to design your small kitchen in a savvy way, the Wren Kitchens website has a simple online planning tool which helps you to start accurately visualising and pricing your new kitchen.  And if you come in to one of our Wren showrooms, you can arrange a relaxed design appointment with one of our friendly kitchen designers who will help you to maximise your space.”


“Take advantage of modern-day storage solutions to gain valuable space. Make lower units more accessible with pull-out shelves or corner carousels – ideal for storing occasional utensils in a space that could otherwise go unused.

Add depth to your drawer and unit storage with pull-out baskets and store smaller items neatly away with tray dividers and storage containers.  At Wren the possibilities are endless with storage options, as we have over 70 ways to customise your drawers to make a home for absolutely everything you want in your kitchen.

If you just don’t have the space to store all of your utensils away, you can purchase hooks to hang them on your walls, or under your cupboards.”


“Careful placement of your kitchen appliances will improve the flow of a small kitchen. The concept of the kitchen triangle is worth considering – the sinkthe oven and the fridge should be located in an easy working distance from each other.

Choose minimally-styled models to reduce visual distractions and maintain a streamlined look. You can even save worktop space by integrating your microwave.”

LET THEBU_S33-SW_Establishing_[F02]RE BE LIGHT

“Try to let as much natural light into the kitchen as possible to give the room a bright and airy feel. And keep window dressings simple – no bright colours or fussy designs that will block out the much-needed daylight.

Good task lighting illuminates workspaces to make your kitchen easier to use and it becomes even more crucial in a small space too. By positioning lights under the wall units, you can illuminate the countertops. If you have a low ceiling, opt for spotlights rather than low hanging pendants, so as not to take up any of the limited ceiling or visual space.

However, if you’re lucky enough to have a small kitchen with a high ceiling, a statement light shade or two can create a focal point.”


“Try to keep it simple. If there’s too much colour going on in one small area, the kitchen could end up looking chaotic. Stick to one or two colours and choose similar shades for the cabinets, walls and floors.  Wren has nearly 2,000 colours to choose from in its Spectrum range including neutrals and perfect pastels which would enhance any smaller kitchen.

Of course, white reflects light, enhancing and extending the space. An all-white kitchen – units, countertops, walls and floor – creates a seamless space with no boundaries.”


“MirrorMAC_S68-BB_Establishing_[F02]s are often recommended for hallways and bedrooms to help make the space feel larger. The same can be said for kitchens through glossy or mirrored features.

Gloss finish cabinets and worktops, as well as stainless steel accents across taps, handles and appliances, will reflect the light and make the room feel much larger than it actually is.

To enhance this look, make the most of your natural light by keeping your window design very simple with little to no treatments on the glass, or ornaments on windowsills. This will help to maximise the amount of natural light in the room, and therefore the amount of light available to bounce from the gloss surfaces.”


[1] Research by LABC Warranty


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