If you have a long and narrow kitchen, you will be familiar with the difficult task of making a tall kitchen look wider than it actually is, while desperately searching for interior design tricks to make your space look beautiful as well as functional.
A lot has changed in the way we design and use our kitchens over the past decade or so, but there is something reassuring in how narrow kitchen ideas and designs have adapted—and thrived—in the modern home.
Narrow Kitchen Ideas – Increase Space in Long Kitchen Design
If your kitchen is on the narrow side, there is plenty to feel positive about. With a few clever tricks of the trade, there are actually many small kitchen ideas that help turn awkward kitchen design into something stylish and sophisticated, so don’t give up just yet.
1. Invest in bespoke cabinets if you have an inappropriate design
While an ordinary kitchen consists of four straight walls and a series of cubes, not all rooms are suitable for this. Tight kitchen ideas can take longer to plan, but with careful management and expert advice, the seemingly negative construction quirks can be turned to your advantage.
Bespoke kitchen cabinet ideas really come into their own here, making the most of the space, working with unusual angles and curves while meticulously navigating around the most intricate features. It is important that you do not see a difficult space, but an opportunity to create something unique.
Built-in closets give people exactly what they need, says Charlotte Crossland, founder of Charlotte Crossland Interiors. (Opens in a new tab). “It works especially well in those ill-shaped areas that fit different requirements such as more extra shelves or drawers for small kitchen appliances, fancy crockery and extra cutlery.”
2. Use every inch of space in the kitchen kitchen
‘I love the idea of a classic kitchen,’ enthuses designer Heidi Keeler in Seattle (Opens in a new tab). They just feel intimate and special, and there is something very attractive about them from a practical point of view. It forces you to think about how to place every inch, and I also love the mentality of using all of your kitchen against that angle between the range and the sink.
In the right colors, in this case French Gray from Farrow & Ball, Heidi also thinks galleys can feel really cozy, “like a warm, inviting cocoon.” A combination of kitchen cabinets and open kitchen shelving ideas will ensure a feeling of lightness and airiness.
3. Use an island to separate an open space
In recent years, the third plane scenario has developed. “Modern kitchens can be part of a much larger space that features a wall-hung kitchen with a long, parallel island, separating the living or dining area behind,” explains Paul O’Brien, Director of Kitchens International. (Opens in a new tab). Although following the double footprint of the kitchen, it looks different, as it is a lighter, more open and more social space.
4. A plan for cabinets without handles
Create a sense of spaciousness by choosing sleek, handcrafted units, faded color finishes, and glossy reflective surfaces, while keeping clutter to a minimum. Technological advances in push-open doors have meant that handles on both wall and base cabinets can be dispensed with.
Handless scheme, especially in a cold white kitchen (Opens in a new tab)It can seem clinical, so adding in some natural materials will give it a softer edge. Consider including colorful kitchen rug ideas or decorative kitchen backsplash ideas.
5. Use lighting to your advantage
When space for dazzling is limited, look for inspiration. In this narrow Copenhagen galley kitchen, a pair of massive pendant lamps designed by Artemide take full advantage of the room’s epic height, while a white arctic ceiling cuts a clear note against the mossy green walls. Natural wood in rich colors has a relaxing effect; Note how Dinesen wood floors were moved to a backsplash to lift the timber higher without reducing the width of the room. For added character, this dark brass hand-welded sink area will age with time and use.
6. Create a dining space
Galley kitchens are celebrated for their culinary efficiency but are usually found in enclosed rooms, and thus are not the most social of arrangements. If you have enough length available, a banquet style nook or breakfast bar is a great way to provide a place for people to chat, without interrupting the culinary progress. The key is to choose a table that doesn’t get in the way of getting to the heart of a small kitchen.
Here, a built-in bench with storage above and below means the dining area doesn’t steal precious cabinet space, and the table and chairs can easily be pushed tightly when not needed.
7. Stretching in the glass
Natural light is everything when you’re cooking within confines. The idea of extending the slender kitchen to the glazed added precious dining space to this narrow kitchen, with views of the garden open year-round.
Explains Lisa Morton, Director of Vale Garden Houses (Opens in a new tab). Bold checkered flooring, installed diagonally, has an expanding effect, while helping to mask the inevitable step between the original and new living spaces.
8. Consider planning – removing obstacles
When trying to make the most of a limited space, take time to consider the natural flow through rooms, recommends Victoria Wormsley of French-Brooks Interiors (Opens in a new tab). Think about how people will pass through the space and ask if you really need each door (but be aware that some will need to be kept in fire regulations, especially when it comes to cramped kitchens). Where possible, remove doors and thresholds to improve flow.
9. Eliminate clutter in a narrow kitchen
One way to create the illusion of space in a cramped kitchen is to de-clutter your worktop areas but be realistic before you set out. Sandrine Zhang Ferron, founder of Vinterior, believes that it would not be entirely possible to live without many useful little things, which need to be stored somewhere. (Opens in a new tab). So create small spaces with small kitchen storage ideas that are practical and add style to your home, from roomy pieces like kitchen cabinets to cookie tins to squeeze in the corner.
10. Put color and lighting on top
Well-chosen kitchen color ideas can work wonders in concealing a cramped or cramped kitchen space. Judy Smith from Crown Paint (Opens in a new tab)The best way, he says, is to paint the room’s envelope white, which will open up the space, and then apply focused colors to the main focal points.
Choose the most attractive features in the room and then paint them in contrasting shades to make them stand out. This will also pull the focus away from the less attractive elements.
Another savior is kitchen lighting, which can give a low ceiling a sense of height or put odd angles in the shade. The lighting designer will be able to advise on everything from high-precision controls to the most suitable color for the lamps. “In an oddly shaped kitchen, flexible lighting can be adjusted to effectively control the direction and spread of light.”
How can I make the most of my cramped kitchen?
With careful planning, narrow kitchens are ideal spaces for chefs. Efficient and compact, they require fewer steps to get around and make the most of limited space.
Kitchen panels can be really stylish. The long lines of the countertops create powerful horizontal planes that look incredibly elegant, says Hugo Tugman, CEO and founder of Architect Your Home.
A one-wall kitchen is best suited for cooking one person, as it requires a linear movement from one activity to another. For ease of use, separate the cooking and wet areas by a reasonable length of the work surface but, if possible, avoid placing the sink and stove at opposite ends of the room.
“You get ample work surfaces but may feel very cramped when cooking or washing, explains Graeme Smith, conceptual designer at Second Nature Kitchen. (Opens in a new tab)s. A double kitchen allows for the traditional work triangle, with the cooker and refrigerator on one side and the sink on the opposite, and provides more space for two cooks to work together.
In recent years, another scenario for the kitchen has developed. “Modern kitchens can be part of a much larger space that features a wall-hung kitchen with a long, parallel island, separating the living or dining area behind,” says Paul O’Brien, Director of Kitchens International. While matching the double kitchen footprint, it looks different, as it’s a lighter, more open, and more social space.
What is a narrow kitchen called?
A narrow kitchen is often referred to as a galley kitchen. Kitchen galley design is one of the classics in kitchen design and takes its name from the ship’s kitchen, which was traditionally confined to a long narrow space but had to be very efficient. In today’s homes, two options—a single kitchen consisting of one long set of units, or a duplex board with parallel tracks—create a particularly efficient cooking space.