What is the most efficient layout for a small kitchen?

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When it comes to designing a small kitchen, it is essential to have a good layout to have a functional space. While we’ll probably want to jump right into decorating, knowing what is the most effective layout for a small kitchen is an essential first step.

There are a surprising amount of small kitchen layout ideas that can help organize small kitchen ideas so that they work well and don’t leave you shy about space – from storage ideas for small kitchens to best kitchen doors, these expert ideas will all help improve the flow and efficiency of any kitchen.

Here, designers and kitchen experts have offered their advice on how to organize and plan the layout of a small kitchen so you can have the most efficient layout, whatever your footprint. kitchen.

What is the most efficient layout for a small kitchen?

There are six types of kitchen layouts that benefit different sized spaces and different needs. While there’s no one-size-fits-all arrangement for a small kitchen that’s more efficient than others, there are a few styles that are more practical than others.

For a small kitchen, consider layouts such as the U-shape which is generally considered the most practical kitchen layout as it is ideal for ‘golden triangle’ appliance layout; an American kitchen that uses the vertical height and offers many accesses to the workspace; or a peninsular kitchen that offers the ability to divide up narrow kitchen ideas as well as add extra cabinetry and countertops for storage and dining or socializing.

If you have a slightly large or square space, you might consider a small kitchen island to add workspace and provide a place for socializing or dining.

1. Consider how you use the space

A black kitchen with chrome appliances leading to a white living room

(Image credit: Darren Chung)

Knowing how you want to use your kitchen ideas will help you organize your kitchen efficiently to suit your individual needs. As each person has different appliances, different cooking or cooking styles, and different needs, the most effective small kitchen layout can vary from person to person.

“The layout of the room is what makes a kitchen design successful,” says Tom Howley (opens in a new tab), Design director at the eponymous kitchen company. “The most important thing to consider is how you use your space. For example, if the room is open plan, will you include a dining area, if so, consider adding an island with built-in storage underneath to maximize space.The overall kitchen design should focus on balancing scale and proportion.Simple, modern updates such as open shelving paired with a curved island give the design a contemporary touch, without losing the traditional craftsmanship values ​​or the storage required.

2. Place your devices wisely

An all-white kitchen with marble countertops, floor-to-ceiling cabinets and gold hardware

(Image credit: Martin Moore)

The kitchen triangle has been the go-to method for organizing kitchens and designing small kitchens for decades. Despite this, a new way of placing appliances has emerged, with more and more designers choosing to create “work zones” in the kitchen to accommodate the varied appliances that homes often have these days. “The dishwasher should be close to the sink, so you can stack the dishes as you rinse them, for example,” says Cat Dal of Cat Dal Interiors (opens in a new tab). “Refrigerators should be close to the countertop, so you have storage space, but keep the hob and sink facing each other to zone these spaces and maintain general cleaning practices. kitchen safety,” warns Cat. This is especially important if you have an electric hob.

3. Consider a peninsula to divide the space

A light wood kitchen with a small peninsula with black stools and white marble countertops

(Image credit: Martin Moore)

If your room doesn’t allow for small kitchen island ideas, adding a peninsula is a great way to add dining and socializing space to a small kitchen. “In smaller kitchens, a peninsula can often be a better alternative. This layout is less space intensive, but still has the same storage and multitasking capability. A peninsula can also be a very effective room divider,” says Richard Moore, design director at luxury kitchen designers, Martin Moore (opens in a new tab).

These peninsulas serve as extra workspace as well as bar ideas for small kitchens, making them the perfect addition to any small kitchen layout.

Entrance hall with gray and white tiled floor and fitted cupboards to the left and console table and chairs to the right, view of the kitchen and the garden.

(Image credit: Richard Powers)

If you want to separate your small kitchen from the rest of the house, consider using clever pocket doors to maximize your kitchen efficiency without compromising on the small footprint. “In a very small kitchen, a great way to save space is to install pocket doors at the entrance. These doors slide into the wall, meaning you don’t have to worry about a full traditional door obscuring the kitchen cabinets when opened,” says Tom Howley.

The use of smart doors isn’t just for entrances, however. Adding smart openings to kitchen cabinet ideas can also help maximize space to maintain efficiency. “In terms of saving space with cupboards, the rule is to pull out. Install deep cabinets and pull-out drawers or a cage system for a multi-layered, unobtrusive and efficient storage system,” adds Tom.

5. Use Shelves Instead of Cabinets

A white kitchen with four levels of open shelving displaying white cooking utensils

(Image credit: Jody Stewart)

Kitchen shelving ideas such as open shelving are not just a trend in the kitchen but a versatile and efficient way to organize a small kitchen and kitchen storage ideas. “Modular, open shelving offers a great way to incorporate storage into small spaces,” advises Peter Erlandsson, co-owner of string furniture (opens in a new tab). “The best thing about modular furniture is that it really can fit anywhere.

‘There are only two things you need to consider. The first is to make sure your shelves are deep and tall enough to store your stuff, but narrow enough not to compromise your precious square footage. The second is to make sure you use a mix of shelving and open cabinet styles to create a display unit that’s flexible enough to hide things you don’t want on display. You can design a string shelving system to fit any space with a range of shelving sizes.

6. Invest in space-saving appliances

Close-up of a white kitchen with parquet and black Aga

(Image credit: Jody Stewart)

When it comes to choosing appliances to add to your small kitchen, choosing the best kitchen appliances also includes looking for space-saving or versatile additions that can help increase floor space and efficiency. your small kitchen.

“Built-in refrigerators and dishwashers work great, as do ovens with doors that slide under the oven itself,” says Howley. “Plus, for wine connoisseurs, built-in wine temperature controllers are incredibly stylish. Another innovative way to keep your kitchen spacious is to remove the (very popular) industrial style extractor units. Hobs with integrated extraction are on the market today, leaving space above your hob for extra storage, or a nice splashback or even a piece of art.

“Small kitchens can be fun and funky, but they have to be very functional,” continues Nick Cryer of Berkeley Place. (opens in a new tab). “Depending on the size of the space, it may be necessary to introduce bespoke storage units in non-standard sizes. Storage units should be very organized inside. Small appliances will help – possibly locating things like freezers elsewhere. Think very cleverly designed islands that could offer multiple functions for prep/storage/catering etc. and even fold up. Seats can be bench style and integrated to fit an island/mobile work/table. Don’t compromise space too much – it’s better to have less storage than not being able to move around.

Which shape is most efficient in small kitchens?

The most efficient layout for a kitchen, including small kitchens, is the U-shaped layout. Although this layout produces two deep corner cabinets, clever cabinetry additions such as pull-out storage units allow lighten those previously difficult storage areas.

Is the kitchen triangle obsolete?

While the kitchen triangle (the triangular placement of the cooker, fridge-freezer and sink) is still used in many kitchens, many designers opt instead for the creation of kitchen “work areas” that allow for more creativity and individuality as we add more unique appliances into the home and have different cooking or baking styles. These work areas allow for more flexibility and efficiency for many.

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