When I'm entertaining, I probably waste half an hour at the beginning and end of the meal trying to squeeze prepared food and then leftovers into our small fridge freezer. Although I find this challenge strangely therapeutic, there are always other things I could be doing, which is why Gorenje's new NRC6192TX fridge freezer with its revolutionary-sounding ConvertActive technology that switches the freezer section into refrigerator mode, sounds rather appealing.
The A++ model takes two hours to switch modes from freezer to fridge and then you're already to party. It costs around £619. I haven't tested it, but if you need to invest in a new fridge freezer for a small kitchen this is one worth taking a look at. Visit Gorenje for further details.
Small homes rarely have space for a utility room. Our washing machines and tumble driers live right beside us. Maybe the washer drier is in the kitchen, the bathroom or right in the middle of it all, in the open-plan living space. Which is why we should be very interested in appliance decibel levels.
Now, I've never heard them in action, but Whirlpool’s latest Supreme Care range of washing machines and tumble dryers claim to have the quietest spin cycle on the market. They work away at 67 dB(A).
It surprised me, but you can actually do a quick techie search and find out that that is the equivalent to the level of a normal conversation. Not a whisper, but there are some machines out there that are spinning around near 80dB, which, with my new found knowledge, I can tell you is about the equivalent to a passenger car going at 65 mph, twenty five feet away from you. Food for thought when appliance shopping.
No mention of a quiet integrated model yet, which is a shame, because we don't want to have to see these things in our open-plan areas either.
Talking of open-plan, discover why wall units aren't good for open-plan spaces here
If you need maximum kitchen storage this feature isn't for you. But if you want to make your kitchen feel larger, then doing away with kitchen wall units is key. When you clutter up the walls at eye level with built in furniture you draw everything in and your room will feel smaller.
Wall units don't work well in open plan spaces
Where your kitchen is part of a larger open-plan living space, it's best not to draw attention to it. Wall units make a kitchen feel more like a traditional kitchen, if you opt largely for sleek handleless base units, this area of the room will look more like its harbouring a smart sideboard when not in use.
And, by avoiding wall units around windows you will bring much more light in.
Read on here for more tips on how to make a small home feel more spacious
Another brilliantly big idea for a tiny space - a height adjustable kitchen island. At the press of a button, the Team7's K7 unit from Wharfside can go from a standard kitchen worktop to a sideboard, bar or dining table. Perfect for open-plan living spaces.
The island can be endlessly raised and dropped from 74cms high to 114cms high. It's said to make the move so seamlessly that you don't even need to clear the plates first and as the sink can be covered up and the taps retracted, you'd hardly know it was a functional piece of kitchen furniture when in table mode.
The unit is available in a variety of finishes and doesn't come cheap. To give you some idea, the island including the motor-raising surface, quartz work surface and solid walnut drawers and cupboards costs in the region of £33,000. It is, however, one of those rare pieces of fitted furniture that will actually add value to your home, as well as wow factor.
Discover more clever ideas for compact kitchens here
There is no getting away from it. There really isn't. When you live in a compact home the smell of cooking follows you around. When someone's cooking there is no need to ask 'what is for dinner?' You can smell it wherever you might be. Unless you have a good extractor fan that is.
And, you want one that not only takes away the smells, but also removes the steam and smoke from the air too, so that it doesn't leave its mark on your walls and units.
Extractor fans can even double up as lights. Some are cleverly designed to look like pendant lights, which work really well over an island or peninsular unit that doubles up as the cooking and eating space.
Or, if you want to keep the walls and ceiling clear for much needed storage units, you can get an extractor that pops up out of the worktop and slides away again to fit flush with it when not in use. These are called downdraft extractors, in case you wondered.
Want to know what extraction rate your kitchen will require?
You need to work out the volume of the room - length x width x height of your kitchen. Then you times this volume by ten, as an efficient extractor should be able to change the air in the room ten times an hour. If, for example, this figure is 180 you need to look for an extractor that can remove at least 180m3/h.
If you're really short of cupboard and drawer space in your kitchen and are running out of places to keep mugs and cooking utensils, it's time to make your kitchen walls have more than a supporting role in your home. Copper is bang on trend at the moment and this funky rack would sit nicely in that space between the base and wall units.
And, why not take plates off your unit shelves to be stored instead in a wall-hung rack? Just make sure that everyone who needs to, can reach where you've placed them. Look for one that offers hooks for mugs too; and, perhaps, a shelf for cookbooks.
Then there are all those dried goods that clutter up the cupboards and require you to take everything out to get to the one thing that you need. Which is why we love Ella's Kitchen Company's Scandinavian-style wall storage. This one has pull out scoops for sugar, pulses etc. and little bottles at the bottom for spices.
Don't forget to look up either. Those ceilings can be worked hard too. You could free a whole drawer or unit by hanging your saucepans above you. We bring this lovely one to you from down-under as we continue to search the world to make your little home function better.
This might seem rather sad and pathetic, but you are on this website because you inhabit a little home and you're desperate to grab every inch of space that you can. We have to help you do that every way we know how, so here is another one of our little tips: to maximise the amount of stuff that you can fit into your kitchen cupboards, you have to go square.
Think about it, circular storage jars just won't slot neatly into those corners and they leave gaps between each other. The taller the better too. No point wasting that 'head height' in the kitchen cupboards either.
Talking about making the most of that cupboard shelf height, stackable is useful too.
It's also worth losing those handles to get more into your home, see why here
At last, a high-street kitchen brand has realised that there is a market for clever compact kitchens. Magnet has just launched two new space-saving innovations: Table Plus and Worktop Plus.
Table Plus folds out from a wall unit to create an instant kitchen table. And, the unit itself opens up to reveal an attractive display area. It even has pocket storage in what becomes the table support. Worktop Plus, meanwhile, provides additional worktop space that pulls out from within a base unit. For more on these new products visit www.magnet.co.uk
Like this, this innovative storage dining table will probably be of interest to you too. Read on
If you live in a studio flat or have a small open-plan living space, you don't want your kitchen to encroach too much into the room. So, this standalone system from Rational, Vision, is ideal. It measures just 1.836m widen and 0.76m deep and even comes with a pull-out breakfast bar.
Open it up to find storage shelves, two deep-pan drawers, a sink unit, hob, extractor, microwave, dishwasher, fridge, and a pull out breakfast bar.
Discover more fab multi-purpose kitchen furniture here
Living somewhere small shouldn't stop you from entertaining. But you will need to choose your servingware carefully to ensure that you can really lay on a feast. This is where raised and tiered dishes come into their own. You can cram much more on the table when dishes are perched up on pedestals of different heights or are stacked over a series of levels. It will also look more impressive too.
Don't limit your dishes to particular uses either. Cake stands can just as easily display crudités, canapés and savoury tarts as they can patisserie.
And the same rule applies as with furniture, if bowls are raised up on pedestals and you can see underneath them and through the sides of them further into the room, they will do their bit to make your room feel that bit larger too.
Find out why pedestal tables are perfect for little rooms here