Top Small Kitchen Layout Ideas 2024

Call our expert team now on 01782 610 999 or book a no obligation kitchen design consultation.

During 2024 the trend of creating efficient and stylish small kitchens continues to grow. Even in a compact space, it’s possible to design a kitchen that’s both functional and beautiful. Today, I’m going to share some top layout ideas specifically for small kitchens. These tips will help you make the most out of every inch.

Why Layout is Crucial in Small Kitchens

When it comes to small kitchens, layout is everything. The right layout can make your small kitchen feel more spacious, functional, and welcoming. Here’s why it’s crucial:

Efficient Workflow: A well-planned layout ensures that everything you need is within easy reach. This makes cooking and cleaning up much quicker and easier.

Maximised Space: Clever layouts make the most of your available space, ensuring no area is wasted.

Aesthetics: A good layout can make even the smallest kitchen look stylish and inviting.

Understanding Different Types of Layouts

Let’s look at some popular kitchen layouts that work well in small spaces. Each layout has unique benefits, and choosing the right one depends on your kitchen’s shape and your personal preferences.

1. Galley Kitchen

A galley kitchen consists of two parallel runs of units. It’s ideal for narrow spaces and offers a straightforward, efficient layout.


  • Maximises use of space in a small kitchen.
  • Everything is within arm’s reach, making it easy to move between tasks.


  • Can feel cramped if there’s not enough space between the two runs.
  • Limited options for a social kitchen, as it lacks open space for an island or seating.

Tips for a Galley Kitchen:

  1. Light Colours: Use light colours on cabinets and walls to make the space feel larger and more open.
  2. Efficient Storage: Incorporate plenty of vertical storage, like tall cabinets and open shelves, to keep countertops clear.
  3. Good Lighting: Ensure there’s plenty of light, both natural and artificial, to avoid a dark and cramped feel.

2. L-Shaped Kitchen

An L-shaped layout includes two adjacent walls, creating an efficient and flexible workspace. This layout is excellent for open-plan areas where the kitchen can extend into the living or dining space.


  • Offers good counter space and storage options.
  • Creates a natural divide between the kitchen and adjacent living areas.
  • Ideal for smaller homes or apartments where the kitchen is part of a larger room.


  • May not be the best option if you prefer more isolated cooking areas.
  • Can be less efficient for larger families or those who cook frequently.

Tips for an L-Shaped Kitchen:

  1. Corner Solutions: Use corner units or Lazy Susans to make the most of the corner space, which can otherwise be hard to access.
  2. Compact Appliances: Choose compact or integrated appliances to save space and keep the kitchen looking streamlined.
  3. Open Shelving: Consider open shelving for the upper part of the walls to create an airy, open feel and to display frequently used items.

Practical Elements to Consider

In addition to choosing the right layout, there are some practical elements to consider when designing a small kitchen.

3. Storage Solutions

Storage is always a concern in small kitchens, but there are many ways to maximise it.

  • Vertical Storage: Make use of your kitchen’s height with tall cabinets and open shelves.
  • Pull-Outs and Drawers: These are excellent for accessing items at the back of cupboards without having to reach in.
  • Under-Sink Storage: Use the space under the sink efficiently with custom organisers and pull-out bins.

4. Smart Appliances

Choosing the right appliances can also make a big difference in a small kitchen.

  • Multi-Functional Appliances: Look for appliances that do double duty, such as a microwave oven that also works as a convection oven.
  • Slimline Designs: Choose slimline or compact models to save counter space.
  • Integrated Appliances: Integrated or built-in appliances can give your kitchen a seamless, uncluttered look.

By focusing on these layout ideas and practical elements, you can create a small kitchen that’s not only practical but also a joy to spend time in.

Creating Zones for Better Functionality

In a small kitchen, zoning your space can help improve functionality and workflow. By creating specific areas for different tasks, you can make your kitchen more efficient and enjoyable to use. Here are some key zones to consider.

1. Cooking Zone

The cooking zone is the heart of your kitchen, where you’ll spend most of your time preparing meals. It should include your hob, oven, and microwave.

  • Hob and Oven Placement: Place these appliances close to each other to make it easy to transfer food from hob to oven.
  • Prep Space Nearby: Ensure there’s ample counter space next to the hob for prepping ingredients. You can’t be running around the kitchen when it’s time to sauté those onions!
  • Close Storage: Keep your pots, pans, and utensils within arm’s reach. Use hooks or magnetic strips for easy access to your most-used tools.

2. Cleaning Zone

The cleaning zone typically includes your sink, dishwasher, and rubbish bins. This area should be designed for easy cleanup and waste management.

  • Sink Placement: Place your sink centrally or in a location that offers a good view, perhaps under a window if possible.
  • Dishwasher Proximity: Position your dishwasher close to the sink to make loading and unloading a breeze.
  • Rubbish and Recycling: Have bins for rubbish, recycling, and composting close by, ideally hidden away in a pull-out cabinet.

3. Storage Zone

Effective storage is crucial in a small kitchen. This zone will keep your ingredients, cookware, and utensils organised and accessible.

  • Pantry: Even a small pantry can make a big difference. Use adjustable shelves and clear containers to make the most of the space.
  • Drawers and Cabinets: Utilise drawers for smaller items like cutlery and spices, and tall cabinets for larger items and rarely-used appliances.
  • Open Shelving: Display attractive items on open shelves, but avoid overloading them to prevent a cluttered look.

Utilising Multi-Functional Furniture

In small kitchens, furniture that serves multiple purposes can be a lifesaver. It helps keep your space flexible and functional.

1. Drop-Leaf Tables

A drop-leaf table can adjust in size depending on your needs. It’s perfect for adding extra counter space or a dining area.

  • Compact Size: Keep the leaves down when not in use to save space.
  • Extra Seating: Lift the leaves to provide additional seating for guests or family dinners.
  • Versatile Use: Use it as a prep station, dining table, or even a desk.

2. Storage Benches

Benches with built-in storage can provide seating and additional space for storing items.

  • Kitchen Island Seating: Place storage benches around a kitchen island for a cosy dining area.
  • Multifunctional Storage: Store lesser-used items like seasonal tableware or small appliances inside.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Choose benches that complement your kitchen’s style to add a cohesive look.

3. Rolling Carts

A rolling cart is a fantastic addition that can serve as extra counter space, storage, or a serving trolley.

  • Flexible Use: Move it around as needed, whether for meal prep or serving guests.
  • Extra Storage: Store your frequently used items on the cart for easy access.
  • Compact Design: Choose a slim, stylish design that fits seamlessly into your kitchen.

Innovative Space-Saving Ideas

Making a small kitchen work often involves thinking outside the box. Here are some innovative ideas to try.

1. Toe-Kick Drawers

Utilise the space beneath your cabinets by installing toe-kick drawers. They’re perfect for storing slim items like baking sheets and trays.

  • Hidden Storage: Keeps less frequently used items out of sight but still within easy reach.
  • Maximised Space: Uses an area that would typically go wasted.
  • Discreet Design: Integrates seamlessly with your existing cabinetry.

2. Magnetic Strips

Magnetic strips can help you save counter and drawer space while keeping your kitchen tools handy.

  • Knife Storage: Use a magnetic strip to store your knives safely and accessibly.
  • Utensil Holders: Hang metal utensils and other small kitchen tools.
  • Spice Jars: Metal-capped spice jars can be mounted on a magnetic strip for easy access and a neat display.

3. Cabinet Door Organisers

The inside of your cabinet doors can be used for additional storage, keeping your countertops clutter-free.

  • Spice Racks: Install spice racks or small shelves on the inside of your cabinet doors.
  • Hooks and Holders: Use hooks to store measuring spoons, small lids, or cleaning supplies.
  • Chopping Board Slots: Keep your chopping boards in a simple slot attached to the door.

Lighting Solutions for Small Kitchens

Good lighting can make a huge difference in the look and feel of your small kitchen. Use a combination of lighting solutions to brighten up your space.

1. Task Lighting

Task lighting focuses on specific areas to help you see what you’re doing better.

  • Under-Cabinet Lights: Install under-cabinet lights to illuminate countertops and cooking areas.
  • Pendant Lights: Use pendant lights above workspaces like islands or dining areas.
  • Recessed Lighting: Small recessed lights can be placed strategically to cover key working zones without taking up visual space.

2. Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting provides overall illumination for your kitchen.

  • Ceiling Lights: A central ceiling light can provide general lighting for the entire kitchen.
  • Wall Sconces: Wall sconces can add a decorative touch while enhancing the room’s brightness.
  • Skylights: If possible, consider adding a skylight to bring in more natural light.

3. Accent Lighting

Accent lighting highlights specific features or areas in your kitchen.

  • Shelf Lighting: Add strip lights to open shelves to showcase your favourite dishes or cookbooks.
  • Toe-Kick Lights: Install toe-kick lights at the base of your cabinets for a subtle yet effective glow.
  • Cabinet Interiors: Light up glass-front cabinets to highlight your fine china or glassware.

Bringing in Personal Touches

While functionality is critical, your kitchen should also reflect your personal taste and style. Here are some ways to add personality to your small kitchen.

1. Colour Schemes

Choose a colour scheme that makes your kitchen feel fresh and inviting.

  • Bright Colours: Light and bright colours can make a small space feel larger and more open.
  • Bold Accents: Add pops of colour through accessories, like colourful bar stools, rugs, or backsplash tiles.
  • Neutral Base: Keep the base neutral and add interest with colourful accents or unique textures.

2. Decorative Elements

Incorporate decorative elements that showcase your personality.

  • Art: Hang a piece of art you love to add character.
  • Textiles: Use patterned or textured rugs, curtains, or tea towels to bring warmth and charm.
  • Plants: Add some greenery with potted plants or a small herb garden for a fresh touch.

By incorporating these layout ideas, clever storage solutions, and personal touches, you can transform your small kitchen into a space that’s functional, stylish, and uniquely yours. Stay tuned for more tips and inspiration on creating your dream kitchen!

Smart Storage Solutions for Small Kitchens

When space is at a premium, smart storage solutions can make a world of difference. Here are some creative ways to maximise every inch of your small kitchen.

1. Vertical Storage

Think vertically to make the most of your kitchen’s height. Utilising wall space can free up valuable counter and cabinet areas.

  • Floating Shelves: Install floating shelves to store dishes, cookware, or decorative items. They’re stylish and keep things within reach.
  • Wall-Mounted Racks: Use wall-mounted racks to hang pots, pans, and utensils. This not only clears counter space but also adds a professional kitchen feel.
  • Tall Cabinets: Opt for tall cabinets that extend up to the ceiling. Use the upper sections for items you don’t need daily, like holiday dishes or speciality cookware.

2. Pull-Outs and Organisers

Maximise cabinet and drawer space with pull-out shelves and organisers.

  • Pull-Out Pantry: A pull-out pantry can fit into narrow spaces, making it easy to access all your food items without having to dig through shelves.
  • Drawer Dividers: Use dividers to organise utensils, cutlery, and small gadgets. Everything has its place, making it easier to find what you need.
  • Cabinet Pull-Outs: Install pull-out shelves in cabinets to get to the items at the back without having to empty the whole cabinet. These are perfect for pots, pans, and small appliances.

3. Overhead Storage

Utilise the space above counters and islands for additional storage.

  • Hanging Pot Racks: A hanging pot rack can keep your frequently used pans and pots within easy reach while freeing up cabinet space.
  • Open Cabinets: Create open cabinet spaces above your main cabinetry to store items you want to display or need occasional access to.
  • Overhead Baskets: Use baskets hung from the ceiling to store fruits, vegetables, or even kitchen linens.

Creating an Illusion of Space

Even the smallest kitchens can feel larger with some clever design tricks. Here are ways to create the illusion of a more spacious kitchen.

1. Light and Reflective Surfaces

Light and reflective surfaces can make a room feel larger and more open.

  • Glossy Finishes: Use glossy cabinets and countertops to reflect light and add a sense of depth.
  • Mirrored Backsplashes: A mirrored backsplash can reflect light and give the illusion of a bigger space. It also adds a touch of sophistication.
  • Light Colours: Light-coloured walls, cabinets, and countertops can make a room feel airy and spacious. White, soft greys, or pastel hues work well.

2. Open Shelving

Open shelving can make a kitchen feel less cramped and more open.

  • Minimalist Approach: Use open shelves sparingly to avoid a cluttered look. Display only your most attractive and frequently used items.
  • Consistent Style: Keep the items on your shelves consistent in style and colour to prevent a chaotic appearance.
  • Visual Flow: Arrange items in a visually pleasing manner to maintain an organised, cohesive look.

3. Streamlined Design

A clutter-free, streamlined design can make a small kitchen feel more open.

  • Handleless Cabinets: Consider handleless cabinets for a sleek, uninterrupted look.
  • Built-In Appliances: Integrate appliances into your cabinetry to maintain clean lines.
  • Hide Clutter: Keep countertops clear by storing small appliances and gadgets out of sight when not in use.

Functional Décor Ideas

While functionality is key, adding personal touches and décor elements can make your small kitchen feel warm and inviting.

1. Functional Accessories

Choose decorative items that provide both aesthetic appeal and functionality.

  • Stylish Storage Jars: Use attractive storage jars for dry goods like pasta, rice, and spices. They add a decorative touch while keeping essentials within reach.
  • Decorative Hooks: Install decorative hooks to hang oven mitts, utensils, or tea towels. They add character and keep things organised.
  • Chalkboard or Whiteboard: A chalkboard or whiteboard can serve as a stylish memo board for notes, grocery lists, and meal plans.

2. Plants and Greenery

Adding plants can bring life and freshness to your kitchen.

  • Herb Garden: Create a small herb garden on a windowsill or countertop. It’s not only decorative but also provides fresh herbs for cooking.
  • Hanging Planters: Use hanging planters to add greenery without taking up counter space.
  • Easy-Care Plants: Choose easy-care plants that thrive in kitchen environments, such as succulents, pothos, or spider plants.

3. Artwork and Personal Touches

Incorporate artwork and personal elements to make your kitchen uniquely yours.

  • Art Prints: Hang art prints or photos that resonate with you. They’re an easy way to add colour and personality.
  • Personalised Items: Display personalised items like monogrammed towels, handwritten recipe cards, or family heirlooms.
  • Unique Textiles: Introduce unique textiles, such as colourful rugs, curtains, or seat cushions, to add warmth and character.

Efficient Workflows

Creating a small kitchen that’s efficient to work in involves careful planning and organisation. Here’s how to optimise your workflow.

1. The Kitchen Triangle

The kitchen triangle concept improves efficiency by positioning the sink, hob, and refrigerator in a triangular layout.

  • Short Distances: Keep the distances between these three points short to minimise movement and make cooking more efficient.
  • Direct Pathways: Ensure there are direct pathways between the triangle points, free from obstacles.
  • Work Zones: Create designated work zones within the triangle for prep, cooking, and cleaning to streamline tasks.

2. Accessible Storage

Organise your kitchen so that frequently used items are easy to access.

  • Everyday Items: Store everyday essentials like pots, pans, and utensils in easily accessible locations.
  • Cooking Supplies: Keep cooking supplies like spices, oils, and cutting boards near the cooking area.
  • Cleaning Supplies: Store cleaning supplies under the sink or in a nearby cabinet for quick access during cleanup.

3. Simplified Processes

Simplify your kitchen processes to improve efficiency.

  • Prepping Area: Designate a specific area for food prep, complete with cutting boards, knives, and mixing bowls.
  • Cooking Area: Keep your cooking area organised with all necessary tools and ingredients within reach.
  • Cleaning Area: Set up a cleaning station with a sink, dish rack, and cleaning supplies to make cleanup quick and easy.

Sustainable Choices

Incorporating sustainable choices in your kitchen design not only benefits the environment but can also improve your kitchen’s functionality and aesthetics.

1. Energy-Efficient Appliances

Choose energy-efficient appliances to save energy and reduce your carbon footprint.

  • Appliances with Energy Star Rating: Look for appliances with an Energy Star rating, which indicates they meet energy efficiency guidelines.
  • Smart Appliances: Consider smart appliances that can be programmed to operate during off-peak energy hours.

2. Recycled and Eco-Friendly Materials

Use recycled and eco-friendly materials in your kitchen design.

  • Recycled Countertops: Opt for countertops made from recycled materials like glass, paper, or composite materials.
  • Eco-Friendly Cabinets: Choose cabinets made from sustainably sourced wood or materials like bamboo.
  • Low-VOC Paints: Use low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints to improve indoor air quality.

3. Waste Reduction

Implement waste reduction practices in your kitchen.

  • Composting: Set up a compost bin for food scraps to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich compost for your garden.
  • Recycling: Integrate recycling bins for paper, plastic, and glass to make it easy to recycle.
  • Reusable Products: Use reusable products like cloth shopping bags, beeswax wraps, and glass storage containers to cut down on single-use plastics.

Incorporating Technology for a Smart Kitchen

Technology can enhance the functionality and convenience of your small kitchen. Here are some ways to integrate smart gadgets and appliances to streamline your kitchen tasks.

1. Smart Appliances

Smart appliances can make your kitchen more efficient and user-friendly.

  • Smart Refrigerators: These can notify you when you’re low on groceries, suggest recipes based on available ingredients, and even show you what’s inside without opening the door.
  • Smart Ovens: Program your oven to preheat while you’re on your way home or control it with voice commands for a hands-free experience.
  • Smart Dishwashers: These appliances can be scheduled to run during off-peak hours to save on electricity costs.

2. Voice-Activated Assistants

Voice-activated assistants can simplify your kitchen tasks and enhance convenience.

  • Hands-Free Cooking: Use voice-activated assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Home to set timers, convert measurements, or help with recipes while your hands are occupied.
  • Smart Lighting: Control your kitchen lighting with voice commands to adjust brightness or colour for cooking, dining, or entertaining.
  • Shopping Lists: Add items to your shopping list instantly as you notice you’re running low, all with a simple voice command.

3. Smart Storage Solutions

Innovative storage solutions can make managing your kitchen easier and more efficient.

  • IoT Enabled Cabinets: These cabinets can notify you when supplies are running low or track expiration dates for your pantry items.
  • Smart Spice Racks: Connected spice racks can help you keep track of your spices and suggest combinations for recipes right from your phone.

Personalising Your Small Kitchen

Adding personal touches can transform your small kitchen into a space that’s uniquely yours. Here are some ways to personalise your kitchen while maintaining its functionality.

1. Custom Backsplashes

A custom backsplash can serve as a focal point and reflect your personal style.

  • Tile Patterns: Choose a tile pattern that you love, whether it’s a classic subway tile or a bold mosaic.
  • Colour Selection: Select colours that either contrast or complement your cabinetry and countertops.
  • Materials: Consider unique materials like mirrored glass, metal, or reclaimed wood for a distinctive look.

2. Unique Hardware

Swapping out standard hardware for unique pieces can add a touch of elegance and individuality to your kitchen.

  • Drawer Pulls: Use vintage or artisanal drawer pulls to add character.
  • Cabinet Knobs: Choose cabinet knobs that reflect your style, whether it’s rustic, modern, or eclectic.
  • Mix and Match: Don’t be afraid to mix and match different pieces to create an interesting and personalised look.

3. Display Personal Collections

Showcasing personal collections can add warmth and personality to your kitchen.

  • Cookbooks: Display your favourite cookbooks on open shelves or a dedicated bookcase.
  • Ceramics: Showcase handmade or heirloom ceramics on floating shelves or glass-front cabinets.
  • Artwork: Hang art pieces, whether they are professional works or family creations, to add a personal touch.

Efficient Workflow and Safety

Ensuring your kitchen has an efficient workflow not only makes cooking more enjoyable but also enhances safety.

1. Proper Layout Planning

A well-planned layout is critical for an efficient and safe kitchen.

  • Work Triangle: Maintain a clear path between the sink, hob, and refrigerator to facilitate movement and improve safety.
  • Adequate Prep Space: Ensure there’s enough counter space near cooking areas to prevent accidents and spills.
  • Clear Walkways: Keep walkways around the kitchen clear of obstacles to avoid trips and falls.

2. Safety Features

Incorporate safety features into your kitchen design to prevent accidents and injuries.

  • Non-Slip Flooring: Choose non-slip flooring materials to reduce the risk of slips and falls, especially in wet conditions.
  • Child Safety Locks: If you have children, install safety locks on cabinets that store sharp objects or cleaning supplies.
  • Fire Safety: Ensure you have a fire extinguisher accessible and that all household members know how to use it. Consider installing a smoke alarm in or near the kitchen.

Planning for Future Needs

When designing your small kitchen, consider how your needs might change over time.

1. Flexible Design

Create a flexible design that can adapt to changing circumstances.

  • Modular Cabinets: Opt for modular cabinets that can be reconfigured or added to as your needs change.
  • Adjustable Shelving: Use adjustable shelving in your cabinets and pantry to accommodate different sizes and types of items.
  • Multi-Use Spaces: Design spaces that can serve multiple functions, such as a kitchen island that also works as a dining table or workspace.

2. Storage for Growth

Plan for storage needs that can grow with your family or lifestyle.

  • Expandable Pantries: Design pantries with room to expand, using adjustable shelving and flexible storage solutions.
  • Overhead Storage: Incorporate overhead storage for seasonal or rarely used items, freeing up accessible space for daily necessities.
  • Custom Storage Solutions: Consider custom storage solutions, like built-in spice racks or wine racks, to store specific items efficiently.


Creating a functional, efficient, and personalised small kitchen is absolutely achievable with thoughtful planning, clever design, and the right features. From maximising storage and using the latest in smart technology to personalising your space with unique touches, your small kitchen can become a cosy, stylish, and highly functional heart of your home. Remember, the best kitchen designs are those that not only meet your practical needs but also reflect your personality and lifestyle.

If you’re ready to turn your small kitchen into a space that maximises efficiency, functionality, and style, we’re here to help. At Mode Designer Kitchens, we specialise in creating bespoke kitchen designs tailored to your unique needs and preferences. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our expert designers. Let’s work together to create the kitchen of your dreams right here in Stoke-on-Trent!

Sorry to bother you, but it’s essential you’re aware we use cookies on this website for reasons explained in our Privacy Policy.