My 10 keys to plan a small kitchen

Planning a kitchen is a complicated task in renovation. But designing one of less than 6 m², is a true challenge. I’ve seen so many people feeling stuck or completely puzzled in front of their small kitchen that I thought it might be useful to share the steps I’m following when designing them. They are not official rules of interior architecture or anything. Just a logical process including geometry, optical illusion and other visual effects I use in my everyday work. I really hope these 10 keys will help you plan your small kitchen :

Follow the walls

It seems obvious of course but it’s always tempting to think a central island will be useful in a small area. The truth is, if you don’t want to waste any space and avoid a feeling of clutter, setting up your kitchen against the wall is the most efficient. The best for a small kitchen being, in my opinion, keeping it along one wall instead of going around an angle.


Keep it simple

Even if the walls are following several weird angles, I usually draw a straight line in front of them, making the all aesthetic as simple as possible. This will help thinking the space is bigger than what it is for real. Indeed, as soon as there are too many small pieces of furniture here and there, all the joints, the angles, the lines visible between them will create clutter for the eye. And clutter makes a room looks smaller.

The fewer lines there is on the plan, the better.

Reach the ceiling

Small kitchen lack space on the floor compare to other kitchen, that’s true. But the height to the ceiling is more or less the same, so let’s use it ! Interior architecture is drawn in 3D after all.

unify and integrate

It’s all about preventing the eye from working too hard. I always unify the design of the cabinets’ doors and prefer integrated appliances when it’s possible. Your gaze should go around the space without meeting any obstacles. In some way, as soon as your look notices one object, the size of your room will shrink in your perception of it.

Optimize the counter top

Interrupted by columns of storage and appliances like fridge or stove, counter top often ends up filling up the spaces between all these differents obstacles. It shouldn’t. The counter top is the priority as it’s the one being used most actively. Think about it, if you don’t have space to cut your vegetables, what’s the point of having a stove to cook them ? I’ll always choose the size and the place of all appliances to try get the counter top in only one piece, maximum 2.

Keep free space

Having a small space doesn’t mean every cm² available has to be used. This is the common thinking to « optimize » the space as much as possible. But again, an empty space will look bigger than a filled one. So let’s take our drawing and see which part of the wall can remain empty or which piece of furniture can be narrower to save space on the floor.


Create a point of focus

Because I always want to spice things up to create a dynamic design, I usually choose the backsplash to add an original touch. Big enough to be noticed, with a square shape to keep it simple, it’s a good balance. A good opportunity to play with optical illusion too. As all the facades of the cabinets will be closer to you, drawing attention to the wall further away will make you perceive the full size of the room instead of focusing on all the bulky volumes.

Play with reflections

In every small space, there’s a need for a mirror. In height or in lengh depending of the shape of the room, mirror is an old trick but always useful to make a room look bigger. I even use it as a backsplash sometimes as it always create the surprise.

Select the lighting

Now, our small kitchen needs to be enhanced by a well-arranged lighting. Even if it’s tempting to get pendant lamps, this is rarely the wisiest choice as it will clutter the space vey quickly. If I think it could bring a nice touch, then I’ll arrange the space to get a free wall and have the pendant lamps as a decoration itself. Otherwise, LED or spotlight are the best choices. Under the suspended cabinets to give some more height to them (and get a clear vision when cooking). And on the ceiling, discreet but efficient to highlight a cabinet here and there, giving the impression light is feeling up the space.



« Less is more » is my moto. Simple lines, check. Visual unity, check. Optimisation, check. Now is time to deal with the details. Handles, brackets, taps,… All in good proportions to keep a clean visual. Simple shapes are often best. I like to choose no shape at all : invisibility.


I really hope these tips will help you plan your small kitchen. Otherwise, you know where to find me (if not, you can click here) :)

You can also get some extra help from my article about the do’s & don’ts to plan a kitchen. Find inspiration on my Pinterest account and do not hesitate to ask any question you have in the comments below :)

Have a nice day !


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