12 beautiful small kitchen ideas

Take a look at Period Living's collection of small, yet mighty, kitchens...

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After flicking through magazines and exploring the depths of Pinterest, it can be easy to fall into the trap of believing that all beautiful kitchens are open plan with an abundance of space. However, this is far from the case: a small kitchen can be just as beautiful.

The reality is that many period properties were designed with a small kitchen. This can present some challenges, but if carefully designed and constructed, a small kitchen can make as much of a statement as a larger space.

If you’re seeking to make the most of a limited space, take a look at Period Living’s collection of small kitchens for inspiration.


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1. Adding a pop of colour

The owner of this 17th century fisherman’s cottage, the designer Jan Constantine, was keen to respect the history of the property when planning its renovation, so used materials in the small kitchen area that would replicate the originals, including Cornish slate floor tiles. Despite the space being small, she carefully positioned prominent features to make an impact, such as the Belfast sink, and Smeg fridge that adds a pop of colour to the otherwise neutral space.

small constantine kitchen with white counters and bright blue fridge

2. Swedish cottage kitchen

The white scheme chosen for this timeless Swedish cottage kitchen instantly creates the impression of more space, while wreaths, plant life and silver accessories add elements of interest. The corner cupboard maximises storage in a potentially awkward space.

(Image: © Sofi Sykfont/House of Pictures)

3. Shaker-style small kitchen

Opting to manage the renovation of their home themselves, the Dickinson family decided to start with the kitchen – which was one of the greatest challenges they faced. With the assistance of local firm, they opted for a shaker style kitchen that would optimise the space. The duck-egg blue finish, combined with large windows offering garden views, makes the space light and airy.

4. Working with the space

This galley kitchen offered a fresh challenge to the homeowner Louise Lingwood, who sourced appliances individually to ensure they would fit. She was successful in proving that small kitchens can be fully equipped and fully functioning – she even made space for an American style fridge freezer.

(Image: © Alison Hammond)

5. A small kitchen nook

This traditional kitchen has been designed to make the most of all available space and create a feature out of a tiny alcove. On entering the room, the eye is immediately drawn to this area of the kitchen diner.

small kitchen built into alcove

6. Mixed materials

Occupying a small corner of an open plan space, this Irish cottage kitchen has been stripped back to the basics. The eclectic combination of kitchen cabinets and appliances made from different materials complements the rustic feel of the stone cottage.

7. Small family kitchen

During the design process, this small kitchen of a cob longhouse was planned with storage space in mind. The bright blue finish adds a cheery feel to the space, preventing it from feeling small or boxy and, combined with the original wooden beams, enhances its country feel.

8. Displaying unique pieces

Opting for slimline open shelving, as opposed to large enclosed cabinets, instantly makes this kitchen feel more spacious. With a passion for upcycling and vintage pieces, it also gives homeowner Annie Clark the opportunity to display some of her favourite kitchen finds.

9. Multi-purpose furniture

Breakfast bars or island units are a great way to make the most of a smaller space and create a more sociable space for food preparation. The island in this kitchen is also a great place for homeowners Sophie and Rob Swift to display their vintage coffee grinder.

10. Mixing old and new

Transparent chairs are a clever addition to small kitchen spaces as they give to illusion of taking up less space. Juxtaposing these modern pieces with an aged wooden table enhances the individual design of the space.

11. Fitted and freestanding

Lottie and Yang Wern-Ooi make a feature out of their vast collection of crockery, displaying it proudly on a traditional dresser in their kitchen, which combines fitted and freestanding furniture. A round table reduces the amount of space taken up in this small kitchen, as well as adding a family feel.

12. Feature window

This gothic feature window adds exceptional character to this cottage kitchen. Vintage bread and flour containers displayed on the worksurfaces suit the cosy feel of this small kitchen, and are a practical way to store produce when you’re short on storage space.

small kitchen complete with gothic style window