Expert Tips

How do you turn a small space into a functional kitchen? The answer isn't always easy, which is why sometimes a little bit of expert help is in order. George Gibson has been a kitchen designer for 15 years and knows a thing or two about making a small space work. We asked him to let us in on some of his top tips.

Q: Hi George, thanks for your time. Could you start by telling us what kinds of layouts suit a small space?

A: It depends on the type of space. In a very small space, you're probably going to be limited to a galley kitchen, where everything is lined up along one wall. There are a few disadvantages here - unless you situate your fridge outside of the cabinetry, you won't be utilising the kitchen triangle which forms the basis of most efficient kitchens. But it is an effective way to save space.
I'm a fan of the corridor kitchen, if you can afford the space. This is where your kitchen is lined up along two opposite walls. If you put your stove, sink and fridge in a triangle shape, which I talked about before, you'll have a pretty good working space. If you need a bit more storage and counter space, you can close off the space at one end of the corridor and make it a U-shaped kitchen instead.

Q: What do you think is the most important consideration in a small kitchen?

A: Storage is top of my list. If you do it properly you can create a whole lot more space in your small kitchen, or at least the illusion of more space. It's a good idea to hang some cabinets up on your kitchen wall, and glass doors can work well because they make everything look more spacious. If you're really stuck for space you can use a pull-out table.

Q: What about lighting in a small kitchen?

A: Like any kitchen, you'll need a combination of ambient and task lighting. It's good to leave any windows as uncovered as possible because the extra light will help open up the space, as will any view outside. For your task lighting, try under-cabinet if you've got the right type of kitchen. Otherwise track lighting is unobtrusive and efficient.

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