Go to new levels “Look high for places to add storage,” Jane says. In a kitchen, for instance, cupboards can be extended right up to the ceiling. “You can add more cabinets on top of wall cupboards, so they use the full height of the room,” she says. “Consider, also, storage solutions that hang from the ceiling that you can drop down then raise again using a pulley system,” she suggests. “You can do this with all sorts of things. Typically, traditional clothes airers used this system, but it works for storing bikes or even a bed.”
troduce a line of glass To create an open-plan living space in this Victorian home, the architects added a side infill extension of 7.5 sq m. The new construction is connected to the old building with a margin of glass, which floods the space with light. The perimeter units are located in the new extension, and the kitchen designer chose mirrored wall cabinets to reflect the light even further.
Drawers are much easier to use than standard cupboards, which can be hard to access and can easily become cluttered. ‘Drawers bring everything to you, so you are not grovelling around on your hands and knees to reach things at the back,’ says Durrant. ‘Ensure they have quality runners. Good drawers can now take up to 35kg distributed weight, so they are very practical.’ Position some close to the dishwasher, too. ‘It’s great to be able to empty everything straight into a drawer,’ adds Durrant. ‘It’s good to have a mix of drawers and cupboards,’ says Shikunova. ‘Drawers cost a little more than standard cupboards so, in a big kitchen, fitting lots of them could push your budget up. If you don’t like the appearance of drawers and prefer a more minimal look, they can be concealed behind cupboard doors. ‘This gives a uniform look to kitchen storage,’ she says.
Make mirrors your friend Tricking the eye into thinking a space is bigger than it is with mirrors is a simple design tip that shouldn’t be underestimated. You don’t have to cover a wall in one large piece of mirror to get the effect, either. Slivers can be just as effective, whether you fit them behind a kitchen worktop, as shown here, tuck them into an alcove, or run them up a vertical wall. By reflecting light and creating the illusion there’s a view beyond, mirrors can make a small, boxy room feel instantly more airy. Position them opposite windows and light sources for maximum impact, and play with finishes, such as foxed or tinted, for a more decorative effect.
Have one showstopper piece In a small space, each design decision needs to be carefully considered. But a tiny pad also offers you the opportunity to make a statement, as colour, texture and pattern will all shine if the rest of the room is kept neutral and neat. In this little flat, the owners decided to make a splash with a beautiful mint green kitchen, which is the ‘showstopper’ element of the open-plan living space. They invested in a small number of handmade glazed tiles in a colour they loved, and carried the shade across all the units to create a shining green jewel of a kitchen at the heart of the space. It instantly takes the focus away from the small dimensions of the room, providing a focal point as well as a talking point.
Keep it simple Everything about this streamlined cookspace is elegant and chic, which gives the whole room a quality feel. The carcasses are Ikea, and have been fitted with bespoke MDF doors – cost-effective yet super-stylish. By keeping the look of the units very plain, the designers have been able to add elements to upgrade the look, including the Farrow & Ball Purbeck Stone paint colour, the black-framed window and the on-trend pendant lights.
Make it fit Even if you’re not having a bespoke kitchen made, you can still tailor your cabinets to fit your space. These simple Ikea Voxtorp and Veddinge units were all a standard size, but the designers managed to fit them into the awkward space. They worked out the layout using an online tool to make sure they ended up with the right distribution of cabinets. The sloped ceiling was the tricky bit, but the designers got around it by cutting the units on site. If you’re going to do something like this, it’s best to call in an experienced joiner, who can ensure the units fit properly and look beautifully finished.