Living in a big city on a budget usually means confined spaces, and with small apartments or homes, often come minuscule kitchens.

The good news is, this breeds resourcefulness. Each component in a compact kitchen must be perfectly planned, from the layout to the appliances, and all must work cohesively to run smoothly.

Here, we show you how to squeeze every inch out of your cooking space, with the help of Erin Cayless, Co-founder and Operations Director from Three Birds Renovations.

Erin says: “The best place to start when designing a small kitchen is to sit down and have a really good think about what you need out of the space. For example, if cooking is important to you, focusing on the appliances you need and building the space around fitting those in will be key.”

1. Seek out storage. 

You’d be surprised how much dead space can be sitting in a kitchen. Think extra panels and awkward pantry corners. Talk to your kitchen designer and ask them to find you every spare nook and cranny and turn it into extra storage.

2. Lose overhead cabinetry. 

This tip kind of flies in the face of the previous one but if you want your kitchen to look and feel larger, ditching head-height cabinets will help do that. Allowing the splash back to run all the way up to the ceiling, uninterrupted, will immediately make the space feel larger and taller. You could consider adding a floating shelf to hold a few items, which is a better option than heavy, protruding cabinets.

3. Choose clever appliances. 

In a small kitchen, look for smaller appliances and choose the minimum number you can live with. Can you combine an oven/microwave? For House 9 we chose the 38cm Electrolux Built-in Combination Microwave Oven (EMB2527BA), which is combination microwave grill and convection oven in one – which is ideal for a small kitchen space or as a secondary oven for a larger family.

4. Drawers versus cupboards.

This is a common dilemma, but it shouldn’t be. The ideal solution is quite simple really: below waist height, drawers reign supreme. The only exception to this is under the sink and a floor- to-ceiling food pantry with shallow shelves. But in reality, most kitchens will likely have a combination of drawers and cupboards. Your budget may also impact your choice, as drawers are generally more expensive.

5. Integrate wherever possible.

To give the illusion of a bigger kitchen, integrate your appliances where you can. In our latest project, we chose the Electrolux RealLife XXL Fully Integrated Dishwasher (ESL7510RO) to fit seamlessly with the cabinetry of the island bench and even tucked a euro-style laundry behind kitchen doors, too.

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