10 fresh ways to elevate a compact space
Photo: Roundhouse/ Mary Wadsorth)
This apartment kitchen in an old mansion block was created by Roundhouseand needed to include soft seating, dining, and kitchen in an open plan living space.
The client already had a stunning Saarinen oval marble table and was very keen to use it.
‘However we quickly discovered that the table was too large for the space,’ says Roundhouse designer Sam Hart.
'By incorporating the banquette into the kitchen island, seating on one side of the table was allowed for.
This saved quite a bit of space in the room allowing a generous area for sofas and a coffee table.
We designed a deeper island to create the banquette seating and to accommodate storage on both sides.
The addition of subtle color creates a backdrop for soft furnishings.’
Photo: British Standard
A galley kitchen layout — when you have two parallel runs of base cabinets, wall cabinets, and countertops located both sides of a central walkway — is often the go-to for a small kitchen.
But there are other strong options so it is important to consider the other small kitchen layouts.
‘When thinking about a layout, an L-shaped kitchen is a good layout for a smaller kitchen diner as it allows space for a dining table and doesn't intrude on the main space too much,’ says Adrian Bergman, design manager at British Standard by Plain English.
‘It permits straightforward access between the main elements although the distance traveled can be greater than with other layouts.
It's usually best to group the fridge, sink and dishwasher together and then move round to the hob and oven on the second run.’
In a small or north-facing space, it is always tempting to opt for solely neutral kitchen color ideas to try to enhance the light, but going for a dark shade can be more dramatic and create a cozy feel which works perfectly for intimate dining.
In this dining nook by interior designer Heidi Caillier, she has painted the shiplap walls and seating a warming charcoal which is not only cocooning but pulls together all the other elements in the space.
Photo: Salvesen Graham)
When it comes to creating a small dining space, the emphasis should not just be on furniture alone.
Interior designer studio Salvesen Graham used a banquette as a great space-saving option which helps the space feel tailored but have also piled up the interest in this compact corner with color, art, cushions, and lighting.
The cushions cleverly mirror each other in terms of the hues and placement and all the shades are picked up in the art on the wall.
The result is a mood-lifting corner bursting with personality.
'Adding decorative pieces to a kitchen space such as a decorative lamp and cushions will help stop a kitchen feeling utilitarian and ensure it is another lovely room in your home.’ says Nicole Salvesen.
Photo: British Standard by Plain English
Once floor space has been exhausted when designing a small kitchen diner, get more mileage by taking full advantage of an empty wall.
This kitchen has installed a fold-up table which is perfect for a small family and can be put away between meals so it is not taking up space.
‘In an instance where there is not enough room for a kitchen island, consider opting for a smaller chef’s table, perhaps even on wheels, making this a portable and practical solution,’ adds Daniel Bowler, Director for Eggersmann UK.
‘Other ideas include swapping a dining table for a breakfast bar in an open-plan situation to help achieve a multi-functional design.
Photo: Studio Enass
‘Depending on the size of your kitchen, a curved countertop is a perfect way to add a bit of contrast,’ says Enass Mahmoud, creative director of London-based Studio Enass.
‘There are a lot of linear elements when it comes to kitchens and sometimes adding a curve structure can help break the space up and give the illusion of a bigger kitchen as it creates movement and guides the eye around the room.
A curved countertop or breakfast bar could be the main feature in your kitchen, especially if you dress it up with bright colorful seats.’
Here, the red cushioned stools add vibrance and visual pizzazz to the kitchen color scheme.
Photo: Blakes London
‘If informal entertaining and relaxed seating is your vibe then a kitchen island that doubles up as a banquette seat is a fabulous way to save space in a small kitchen,’ says Annie Ebenston, Lead Designer, Blakes London.
Matching the colors of both create a harmonious look but playing with different materials like in this instance, keeps the eye interested.
‘By combining an island with a dining table set up in this way you can save circa 1.5meters of space while retaining the functionality and drama of the much coveted kitchen island,’ adds Annie.
‘Furthermore, if you're pushed for storage space, you can design a lift up seat on the banquette to serve as extra storage space.’
In a small kitchen diner, it is important to make sure that all elements are as hardworking as possible.
Two functions are great, but more is the dream.
An island is the perfect piece that can maximize its potential and there are lots of clever ideas on installing an island in a small kitchen.
In this kitchen, an island peninsula can have a range of uses, and keeping the material wood, the same as the countertop, maintains a cohesive look.
‘If you are limited on space in your kitchen or dining room, you could think about creating a multi-functional island and use it not only for countertop space but your table as well.’ says Katy Thompson, senior designer, Naked Kitchens.
Paint is one of the easiest and most affordable ways of transforming a small kitchen and there are many clever yet simple tricks that can be used to enhance a space.
‘The banquette seating hand-painted in the same color as the kitchen cabinetry helps make the room appear longer, whilst also providing space-saving seating around the large family dining room,’ says Richard Davonport, managing director, Davonport.
As well as matching the seating to the kitchen cabinetry, matching the table to the cabinetry is another way of making the best out of a small kitchen diner.
This can be done using paint or the same material, either way it adds a continuity to the look of the kitchen and makes the space look bigger.
In this kitchen by Superfront, the table and cabinetry keep to the same soft grey which unifies the design.