Setting up a mini-kitchen can be a challenge. Where do you put dishes, kitchen appliances and supplies without making the space look cluttered? And how do you turn a small kitchen into a place where the whole family will enjoy spending time? We explain how it’s done, give decorating tips and show ideas.
The ideal kitchen offers space for eating, playing, and chatting. But there is not always enough space. Nevertheless, a small kitchen can become the heart of the home and, with the right furnishings, offer just as much feel-good potential as a spacious eat-in kitchen.
Which Colors Are for Small Kitchens?
To make a small kitchen look big, you already have to make the right decision regarding the apartment’s color scheme. The same applies to the kitchen as in other rooms: light colors visually expand the space. White kitchen units bring the best effect in this regard. Do not make the mistake of painting the walls too dark. It is advisable to choose the basic equipment light only later to create accents with decorative objects or colored kitchen appliances. This way, you won’t risk getting tired of the eye-catching look too quickly. A bright kitchen also looks timeless and modern.
Pastel shades of yellow, blue, or green are also ideal nuances, as they make the room appear visually larger yet bring in a sense of calm – without being too dominant.
Colors can have a big impact on mood. Yellow, for example, creates a warm atmosphere and boosts mood. On the other hand, green has a calming effect, as it is often associated with nature. Blue light can sometimes seem cool, but it also has a concentration-enhancing impact and prevents nervousness and inner tension.
A small, white kitchen does not have to look cheap or boring. Surfaces with metallic and glass nuances look elegant and immediately enhance the room. In addition, high-gloss kitchens reflect the room and make it look bigger.
Good to know: Kitchens with high-gloss fronts are easier to clean than matte ones.
Plus, our tips for perfect kitchen lighting work wonders. Instead of just installing a small lamp on the ceiling, go for cabinets with integrated LED strip lights for indirect lighting. They illuminate the work surface across the entire width and look classy.
Deco and Kitchen Appliances for Small Kitchens
Regarding decoration, “less is more” applies to small kitchens. In any case, do not clutter the already small countertop with many appliances or objects – this looks restless and is impractical in everyday life. Rather, try to buy useful decorations for the kitchen, such as a shelf on which you can place spices.
Also, make sure that their decoration matches in color. For example, if you want, you can create an interesting accent with a colored refrigerator, which will attract attention.
Interior Design Tips for the Small Kitchen
Small kitchens need to have a well-thought-out interior layout of the cabinets. In tubular rooms, placing all the furniture and appliances on a single wall is best. The basic equipment includes a kitchen sink with a base cabinet (90 centimeters), a worktop with a base cabinet (90 centimeters), a stove with an oven (60 centimeters), a storage area for pots with a base cabinet (45 centimeters) and a refrigerator or a refrigerator-freezer combination (60 centimeters). This combination requires only 3.45 meters of space and offers everything you need.
Where space is minimal, you don’t have to do without a dishwasher. Just buy a smaller model with a width of only 45 centimeters instead of 60 centimeters.
Additional storage space in mini-kitchens is best built upwards. A high kitchen cabinet that utilizes the entire height of the room provides space for all small items and serves as an ideal storage cabinet. Perfect in this regard are pull-out cabinets that utilize entirely the depth of the base or tall cabinet. Apothecary cabinets are very convenient because you have good access all around. Dishwashing brushes, dishtowels, and sponges are best hung on wood or stainless steel hooks.
Organization in the Small Kitchen
From the beginning, think carefully about where to put what in the small kitchen and keep the organization system. Avoid putting pots or baking dishes in different drawers over and over again. That way, you quickly risk not being able to find anything.
For notes, shopping lists, or other documents, you should have a central collection point; for this purpose, for example, a magnetic wall or a basket placed in a drawer is suitable. Keeping things tidy makes workflows much easier and also makes it easier for other family members to find their way around the small kitchen.
Furnish a Small Kitchen for the Whole Family
For families, the kitchen must be particularly flexible. Often there is crafting, eating, cooking together, or even working. If you don’t have the space to accommodate a proper table, you can make do with a small kitchen island, for example. Still, extendable kitchen countertops also offer a way to expand the usable surface.
If you want to cook with your children, you should have a small stool ready. After the work is done, this can conveniently disappear again in the cupboard or under a table.
Good to know: In a family with several small children, there are also children’s dishes and baby bottles in addition to the usual dishes and utensils. As a family, you need to be able to store about 250 kilograms of kitchen equipment. Plenty of storage space in the kitchen is indispensable.
For children, however, the kitchen can also be a dangerous place. Hot plates, corners, and knives pose a risk of injury. It is, therefore, all the more important to install safety systems. For example, induction stoves are the best choice for the cooktop: Here, only the pot heats up, so children can’t burn themselves. There are also lockable displays. Cabinets and drawers with cleaning products that may contain irritants must be locked in any case.
When you move into your first apartment together as a couple, it becomes clear that tastes and preferences differ, despite all the love – so furnishings quickly become a challenge. It is better to compromise instead of remaining stubborn and insisting on your wishes.
Mixing styles is an excellent interior design idea, turning conflicts into original solutions. First, be clear about what you need in the kitchen and develop common desires. In this way, even opposing ideas can be combined: The inherited Biedermeier table lends warmth to cool kitchens, a high-tech, fully automatic coffee machine freshens up the country-house romance of the wooden kitchen, and photos on the wall bring a personal approach to the Shabby Chic kitchen.
For everyday use, a small table is enough to seat two people. When company arrives, the small kitchen for couples can be transformed into a pleasant restaurant in no time: pull out the table, bring the stacking chairs out of hiding, and you’re done!
Those enthusiastic about a smart home will also find smart helpers in the kitchen that make everyday life easier and can be accommodated in a space-saving way.
Customization as an Alternative for Small Kitchens
If you move into an apartment where there is no built-in kitchen, you have the option of hiring a carpenter. For small kitchens, this makes sense because you can make the small kitchen much more individual. A good carpenter will find a suitable solution for any floor plan. Before signing the contract, it’s best to clarify which services are included in the price and what will be added by tilers and the like.
Reading tip: If you want to plan an individual kitchen, you can find 20 tips for feel-good kitchens here or look at our guide: How to plan the perfect kitchen.
Plan Small Kitchens Perfectly
In new construction, there are different floor plans for kitchen planning. According to the recommendations of kitchen manufacturers, you should plan at least seven meters of floor space for furniture and appliances. Single-line kitchens on a long wall force long walks from one end to the other. More practical are two-line kitchens or the shape of an “L”, “G,” or a “U-kitchen”. The furniture should follow the workflow – from right to left for right-handed people, and vice versa for left-handed people: 30 centimeters of storage space, then 60 (to 90) centimeters of the stove, 60 (to 90) centimeters of the countertop, 60 centimeters of the sink, 20 centimeters of the countertop.
Die perfekte Höhe für Arbeitsplatte & Co. in der Küche
|Body height 165 cm||Body height 175 cm||Body height 185 cm|
|Countertop||85-95 cm||95-100 cm||95-105 cm|
|Cooking hob||80-90 cm||80-100 cm||85-100 cm|
|Sink||95-100 cm||105 cm||105 cm|
|Base cabinet||41 cm||43 cm||46 cm|
|Wall unit||170 cm||180 cm||190 cm|
|Tall cabinet||180 cm||190 cm||200 cm|
|Refrigerator||55-170 cm||55-180 cm||55-190 cm|
|Oven||90-155 cm||95-165 cm||105-175 cm|
Expand Mini Kitchen in Old Building
If you are an owner, you naturally have more options for kitchen remodeling. If the kitchen in the old building is too small, consider which room it could be opened and expanded – or completely relocated. If you knock down walls in whole or in part, you’ll widen the small kitchen and upgrade the living area simultaneously. Before such a measure, consult an architect or structural engineer and a carpenter – a ceiling joist, beams, or columns must replace load-bearing walls. The kitchen can be moved to an extension or conservatory if the available space is exhausted.
How High Should the Work Surfaces Be?
Not only in terms of office equipment but also in terms of kitchen planning, ergonomics plays an increasingly important role. When you plan your kitchen, you can directly adjust the countertop height to your size and needs. You can find the optimal working height by bending your elbows to 90 degrees while standing and measuring 15 centimeters down from the spot. For a body height of 175 centimeters, this results in a total work surface height of 95 centimeters.
To calculate the height of bar counters or counters, place the shelf or surface about 30 centimeters above the seat height of the stools.
Which Materials Are Healthy to Live With and Sustainable?
From an ecological point of view, natural materials are the best choice for your kitchen. Natural wood and natural stone are convincing because of their durability. However, they should be domestic woods from sustainable forestry. They conserve resources and do not produce harmful greenhouse gases. On the other hand, you should give tropical wood from the rainforest a wide berth. They are usually neither sustainable nor can they be sourced regionally. The transport routes are, therefore, always long, and a lot of packaging waste is produced in the process.
Natural stone production is also resource-saving since the lumps of rock already occur readily in nature and come from Germany or neighboring EU countries such as Austria and Switzerland. Marble is relatively soft and easy to work with. Granite is also a good natural stone and is also suitable as a building material for the kitchen.
Ceramics is also one of the sustainable materials. It consists of natural raw materials such as earth, clay, or water and can be recycled entirely. It is also extremely resistant and durable. The only drawback is that it requires a lot of energy to produce.
Give stainless steel preference over plastic because its production is comparatively energy-saving. In addition, stainless steel is characterized by its long durability and high recyclability. It can be melted down and completely recycled – this is impossible with plastics, usually composite materials.
Most ecological (raw) materials or natural materials are also free of harmful substances and do not pose a health hazard. Only in the case of paints and varnishes should you ensure they do not contain any questionable ingredients, such as solvents. These are often released into the room air as toxic gases and can make you ill. To reduce the health risk, you should prefer ecological paints – they do not contain any questionable additives.
Remodel and Declutter a Small Kitchen
You can also manage with less space – if you clear out extra items, park rarely used items in the basement, and replace narrowness with height: The carpenter or joiner builds extra-high wall cabinets or tall cabinets for you as furnishings for your small kitchen, in which more can be stored than in usual standard cabinets.
- Base cabinets with a depth of 75 centimeters contain over a third more storage space than 60 centimeters deep kitchen furniture.
- The niche between the base and wall cabinets can be filled with 30- to 35-centimeter-deep top cabinets or countertop shelving.
- Corner cabinets use dead angles; your carpenter will make them on request with a carousel behind hinged doors or as a front pullout.
- If you install the oven at back-friendly eye level, you gain space under the hob (as experts call hot plates or ceramic hob) for a wide pullout for pots and baking dishes.
- If you stack plates and bowls in a pullout next to the dishwasher, you don’t have to heave the heavy items into a wall cabinet. You should also place coffee dishes so you can move them from the dishwasher to the cabinet without stopping on the countertop.
- You store knives and kitchen tools safely and neatly in an extra-wide drawer under the countertop between the stove and sink.
Before and After Pictures: A Small Kitchen Becomes Big
A functional yet livable small kitchen in seven square meters? That’s a real interior design challenge, but not impossible! With a clever layout, a clear color concept and clever details, even a mini kitchen can be made the best of. The following example from the 09/19 issue of DAS HAUS shows selected ideas for a concept that can be implemented.