5 Tips for Designing Small Kitchens

One of the biggest challenges when designing relatively small apartments and houses is planning the kitchen, that constitutes the heart of the home, especially in light of the new role of the kitchen which in recent years is attached to the living room.

Therefore, contrary to the planning process of larger kitchens, “the planning of smaller kitchens needs to be more precise and more loyal to the needs to the residents, and less to changing fads”, says Architect and Interior Designer Limor Ben-Harush, who for the past 20 years has dealt with the private sector and who believes that even if the kitchen area is relatively small, it needs to be at the center of the home, accessible, open and inviting.

white kitchen - Caesarstone
Precise and dedicated to the needs of the home owners​. Photography: Shai Epstein

1. The first thing that that needs to be done is to understand how many people live in the house and how the family unit operates: To understand what are the basic needs of the family- do they like to eat at home? to entertain? to cook? Where do most of the daily activities of the home focus and take place? Especially if the home is small, and everyone gathers in the kitchen, it is important to understand how the design of the house communicates with that of the kitchen, and not to create something that doesn’t fit in.

2. I really like pantries, and in almost every kitchen I design I plan at least one pantry and then everything rotates around it. Usually in small homes there is a storage problem and as a result everything is compressed and packed and the kitchen is never tidy. A pantry provides a lot of storage and a solution for all of the dry products in the house in a comfortable location.

A pantry provides a large storage space
A pantry: provides a large storage space in a well-placed location. Photography: Shai Epstein

3. It is very important to pay attention to the measurements of all of the electrical appliances and to place them at a correct distance one from the other so that you have a comfortable kitchen work triangle. This distance between the burner, oven and fridge is especially imperative in small kitchens in order to avoid a situation in which one can’t open the oven because the fridge is adjacent to it and the handles collide with one another.

It is essential to understand that in these kitchens large fridges of a 1.20 meters won’t fit in, and even if they do, a large lump of stainless steel in the middle of the kitchen will steal the show. Similarly, I recommend a 60 cm oven and not a 90 cm one, and with the burner you have more flexibility. At the end of the day, what is important is that everything will be proportionate to the dimensions of the kitchen.

kitchen work triangle
The right planning of all of the appliances in a comfortable kitchen work triangle. Photography: Shai Epstein

4. The right lighting in a small kitchen can open it up and enhance it. It is important to understand the focus of the light, that can open up the kitchen and create a feeling that it is larger than it actually is. I recommend white light and LED strips that work well in small kitchens.

5. As far as colouration is concerned, in small kitchens I like to use light surfaces that open up the kitchen, especially those with a mat finish vs. a shiny finish.

For example, Caestarstone’s 4001 Fresh Concrete or 5130 Cosmopolitan Whited designs: they are very elegant and also very easy to clean and maintain. In general, my designs are very clean and therefore I almost never use artefacts that burden the eye. Less is more, especially in small kitchens.

small kitchens
White lighting and LED strips that work well in small kitchens. Photography: Shai Epstein

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