Maximising worktop space is always a priority when you are designing a kitchen for a small space. You need to make room for prepping food and dishing up food, plus drying dishes and tabletop appliances and, in some cases, eating too. Here are five top tips for freeing up space on kitchen worktops.
Make use of that space between wall units and the worktop by securing a mix of kitchen wall-hanging storage - knives, cooking utensils, mugs spices and even pots of herbs can be stored here. Hooks can be placed under wall-hung kitchen units too, which can be used to hang mugs and wooden spoons, etc.
Providing your floor-to-ceiling kitchen unit is suitably ventilated and fitted with plug sockets, you can create an internal kitchen worktop inside it, where you can keep and use small kitchen appliances, such as a coffee maker, or chop food. This area can also be made with a shelf that pulls out to create a breakfast bar or deeper prep space.
Opt for a conventional oven that also doubles up as a microwave, so you don't need to have a chunky microwave cluttering up your worktop, or sacrifice the microwave altogether. Think about it, you can probably do everything you use it for either on your hob or in your standard oven.
This solution requires sacrificing space in the unit under your kitchen sink to free up the space that would be taken up by a kettle on your kitchen counter, but every inch helps when worktop space is tight. A system that provides instant boiling water can be fitted under your kitchen units and this feeds a boiling water tap that is fitted alongside your standard kitchen sink taps.
The inside of kitchen unit doors can often be used for storing items that are often left out on display on kitchen worktops: spice racks, kitchen paper, aluminium foil and clingfilm, for example. Build these additional storage areas into your small kitchen space to free up even more space on your kitchen worktops.
Read on – The best hob design for a small kitchen
It may seem petty, but every little detail matters when you are trying to make a small home look larger and function at its best. So, if you're in the market for a new hob, go for one that is inset into your worktop and lies completely flat. This Whirlpool SmartCook induction hob (SMP 778/C/NE/IXL) includes 6TH SENSE® technology that provides 63 cooking combinations and its FlexiFull surface means that you can cook anywhere on the hob's surface.
Gas hobs that are raised above the worktop will make your kitchen feel that little bit more crowded.
And, how cool is this hob? New to the UK, this Caple C950i frameless induction hob, features four separate induction plates and a control panel, which can be fitted in flush to your worktop. It gives you more worktop space and, as a result, will make your kitchen feel larger too. Win win.
One day you may dream of having a home large enough for a range, but if you live in a studio flat, this little mini oven, with the clean lines and functionality that Dualit is known for, has everything that you need. It offers defrost, grill, bake and convection cooking options and it has a 18L internal capacity and curved back to take large circular dishes.
It's a useful stand in for people about to rip out and replace a kitchen too, allowing you to cook full meals when your kitchen is out of order.
When you need to maximise the number of people you can get around your kitchen or dining table, a bench works much better than individual chairs.
And, a bench is particularly useful if children are on the guest list as they don't mind squishing up. Opt for upholstered for additional comfort and a bench with a back for more support.
There are certain kitchen items that need to be left out on display either because you use them constantly; they would start to smell if you hid them away; or you simply don't have room for them within your cupboards. That's fine, just try to make sure that these items look good. You don't want an ugly bottle of washing up liquid by your sink, for example, you want a subtly stylish container, such as this L.A Bruket, pump-action dispenser. What's more this natural liquid is made with organic essential oils of rosemary and lemongrass and will not damage your hands or the environment.
Same goes for the washing up brush. Avoid those lurid coloured ones you see on supermarket shelves. Opt for something with a designer feel instead. This Brabantia washing up brush comes with a suction cup that sticks to the inside of the kitchen sink, so that it is largely hidden from view.
And, when it comes to tea towels avoid anything white or light coloured. Tea towels are often not only used for drying dishes, but for wiping oily and greasy hands on whilst cooking. Those light-coloured ones quickly lose their glistening brightness. Go for darker colour tea towels and the same goes for oven gloves and other kitchen linens too.
Many small appliances, from toasters to food processors, are ugly little things. When you use these items regularly and you have no choice, but to keep them on show on your worktop, try to look for models that both function well and look good. Smeg's latest range of small electrical appliances have the looks and the brains.
With its discreet base, this stylish jug kettle will look at home on any worktop.
And who wouldn't want this retro-style KitchenAid blender out on display? And tomato red is not the only colour option.
Or this sleek toaster?
Let your kitchen utensils stand up for themselves. This frees up space in the drawers and avoids the need for wall hooks and pot holders. This ladle, pasta server and skimmer look rather cute too. Use them to inject some personality into a bland rental kitchen or the mess in your uni halls.
If you've always fancied a KitchenAid Mixer, but didn't think you could sacrifice what worktop space that you have in your kitchen for it, it could be time for a rethink. John Lewis showed off a mini version of the iconic mixer at its 2016 Autumn Winter press show this week. The 4.8l mixer now comes in this on trend bronze, or what the brand likes to call Apple Cider.
Why give up a whole room to a kitchen? Now you can have everything you need to store, prepare, cook, serve and eat food within a table. The Kitch't by dsigndby features a dishwasher, oven, fridge and storage space beneath the table top. Whilst on top there is a hob and sink.
The designers claim that three people can be comfortably seated at the end of the Corian® DuPont™-topped table, but I reckon I could squeeze at least half a dozen people around it. It costs from E13,000. For more information visit Dsignedby.
Drawers are useful things and tables are a perfect place for them, tucked away in an otherwise redundant space below your plate. It's not easy to find a dining table with a drawer in it, however. Manufacturers would much rather you bought a table and an extra piece of furniture for drawer space. Nevertheless, seek and you shall find.
This dining table comes with the option of adding cutlery drawers at both ends. After all, the dining table is the ideal place for keeping your cutlery.
These table drawers can also be used for storing placemats and napkins. Or it could be a place for keeping the paperwork and the kids' homework.
Whilst this gate leg kitchen table has three deep drawers within it and folds away into a slim column shape.