Narrow kitchen ideas: how to make your kitchen appear wider

a wooden and white narrow kitchen design with a white splashback and chrome tap

If your kitchen feels poky widthwise, you’re in luck. We have five ideas for you which will make it seem a lot wider. So get ready to read about how to create more space.

Kitchen not blessed with wideness? Then you’ll find these narrow kitchen ideas helpful. From going handleless to buying bespoke, here are five ideas to make your kitchen seem wider. Get ready for the illusion of more space…

1. Narrow kitchen ideas: Go handleless

Firstly: if you want to streamline your space, then handles jutting out of units are the last thing you need. Go for modern handleless cabinetry and watch your kitchen open up. There are lots of different styles of handleless cabinetry, from the common J-pull to push-to-open. You’ll be sure to find one that’s right for you.

a narrow kitchen in textured anthracite with handleless cabinetry and orange bar stools next to a living wall
Narrow kitchen ideas: Handleless Slab Textured Anthracite and Blanco Kitchen, £13365, Mereway Kitchens.

2. Build upwards, not outwards

Secondly: if you don’t have much floor area, look upwards for inspiration. Build your units high and use every inch of wall space so you can keep your floor space clear. High cabinetry will also draw the eye upwards, making guests forget about the lack of width. You could even make your wall units more eye-catching by using a different colour for them.

a neutral and minimalist narrow kitchen with a large spiky pendant light and four grey dining chairs around a round table above wooden herringbone flooring
Narrow kitchen ideas: Neutral and Minimal Kitchen in London, Caffe Latte.

3. Narrow kitchen ideas: Buy bespoke

Thirdly: kitchen designers and manufacturers are experts in maximising space. This is because they know how to use every last inch of your kitchen and make it work harder. A bespoke design may come at a premium, but you’ll be very glad of it in the long run. And your kitchen may look far less poky as a result.

a rounded bespoke kitchen with Shaker cabinetry with silver handles and a wooden and white dining area featuring banquette seating and wooden chairs
Narrow kitchen ideas: Signature Bespoke In Frame Shaker Kitchen in a Listed Farmhouse, Searle & Taylor.

4. Use glass or clear acrylic to open up your space

Glass and other transparent materials such as acrylic create the illusion of space, because you can see through them. Think about how you could incorporate them into your kitchen: a glass dining table and transparent chairs, for example? Or replacing your solid cupboard doors with glass ones? (Fluted glass is so on-trend right now.)

a round glass dining table with a wooden base against a background of teal and orange floral wallpaper
Narrow kitchen ideas: Bonaldo Greeny Round Dining Table, £3390, Go Modern Furniture.

5: Tidy clutter away

Broadly speaking, the less stuff there is in your kitchen, the bigger and wider it will look. Streamline your work surfaces by clearing all clutter away inside units – this may include your toaster and kettle. Alternatively, you could replace the latter with a 4-in-1 boiling water tap. If you have too many items, you may need to declutter first.

a narrow white kitchen featuring white cabinetry and banquette seating
Clive Tyldesley Kitchen by LochAnna Kitchens. Photography: Paul Craig.

Ideas from Tom Howley

Tom Howley, Design Director at Tom Howley Kitchens, gave his thoughts: “Firstly, walkway space and the working triangle should be considerations when designing your layout. Having your hob, sink and refrigerator located equidistant from each other – because optimising your workspace means everything is at arm’s reach. If you have a galley kitchen, then placing your sink on the opposite side of the cooker will help to avoid conflicts within the space. If you have a small U-shaped kitchen, avoid cramming in too much cabinetry. Although you may feel like storage is crucial, entire runs of closed cabinets can enclose the space even more. Utilise corners by including clever pull-out solutions and only use wall cabinets on one side for a spacious feel.”

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a narrow shaker kitchen in sage green with silver handles, a kitchen island and a large American-style fridge-freezer
Narrow kitchen ideas: Hartford kitchen in Chicory, from £20000, Tom Howley.

Thoughts from Alex Main at The Main Company

How to maximise the size of a narrow kitchen

“With a narrow kitchen, it’s important to ensure the space is used to its full capacity. Start by considering how you can optimise wall space for storage. Incorporating shallow upper cabinets is a great way to store and hide everyday items like mugs and glassware, resulting in a striking, streamlined space. 

“Alternatively, open shelves are a good option for displaying cookery, vases and other possessions and further help with the feeling of space if you’d prefer not to have closed cabinets. Utilising every part of the room is key, so to save cupboard and drawer space, adding metal rails with hooks are an easy way to access and display everyday items. 

“Perfect for hanging utensils, pans and other kitchen accessories, a rail can be positioned above a cooker or under an open shelf for a convenient storage solution.”

a narrow navy Shaker kitchen with two brass pendant lights over a wooden island
Narrow kitchen ideas: a design by The Main Company.

Narrow kitchen ideas from H. Miller Bros

“When we’re designing kitchens at H Miller Bros, there’s always a question about whether or not to introduce cabinets above the worktop. In some of our designs, like in our Furniture Maker’s Kitchen, we installed three tiers of cabinets all the way to the ceiling. This was an important design move, as it accentuated the high Victorian proportions of the space, and created much needed storage.

“The high-level cabinets were made more easy to use and access by means of a moveable library-type ladder. However, in many designs, upper wall and ceiling cabinets can tricky things to integrate. They often make the cabinetry appear monolithic and heavy. Additionally, the storage they create tends to be less flexible, less useful and less efficient than, say, drawers below worktop level.” Hugh Miller, H. Miller Bros.

Narrow kitchen ideas: Furniture Maker’s Kitchen Design from H. Miller Bros.

“With small kitchens, corner cabinets are a waste of space – I much prefer a galley with two straight runs facing each other. Don’t be tempted to turn this into a U, all you’re doing is creating two awkward corner cabinets and cutting out floor space. Very often, small kitchens are in Victorian era houses and these tend to have taller than average ceiling heights. So you can compensate for lack of area by having more high level storage.

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“Consider a peninsula in a layout rather than trying to squeeze in an island. It will provide all the benefits of an island such as an extra-long worktop, a place to host, sit and socialise and essential storage. But it’s connected to a wall and can fit into any size of kitchen.”  Howard Miller, H. Miller Bros.

Furniture Maker’s Kitchen Design from H. Miller Bros.

Thoughts on narrow kitchens from The Myers Touch

Helena Myers, Director of The Myers Touch, says, “Clients often say they ‘want their kitchen to feel bigger’. This, unlike any other room in the house, requires an abundance of different decisions. From style, colour and layout, to appliances, worktops and seating. These decisions are based on our Life + Design holistic approach where we work closely with the client to fulfil their dream space, paying consideration to their bespoke requirements.

“If the property allows, we might suggest reconfiguring their existing architecture to make a kitchen bigger. Or if we undertake a design within an existing small kitchen space, it’s essential to consider cabinetry styles, multi-purpose appliances, maximising worktop space and clever storage systems to make the most of every inch. For example, innovative technology is an important consideration in small kitchen planning. We are increasingly including built-in steam combo-ovens to increase worktop space. Clients can then choose a smaller hob for frying and wok cooking.”

a kitchen island with an open pantry at the end featuring white shelves stocked with food
Kitchen design by The Myers Touch.

More ideas from Helena Myers

“The inclusion of a mid-height mirror will also cleverly make a kitchen feel bigger, adding interactivity and connectivity to the wider area. Considering multi-use appliances to increase functionality also saves space, such as hobs with a downdraft extraction and ovens with steam-pulse and microwave technology.  Clutter can also be reduced by including a boiling water tap, so there is no need for a kettle on a worktop, as will the inclusion of a rail system to hold everyday cooking utensils. Mobile kitchen essentials are also important to consider – for example, mobile bins can be hidden behind cabinetry door fronts and sink drainers are also a good idea as they can be moved around and stored.

“We always look at the height of the space and maximise cabinetry and shelving to the ceiling which releases more worktop. Space-permitting, a slim drop-down table is also a great addition, or the inclusion of a peninsula will effectively maximise a worktop area.”

Featured image: Löfte Kitchen from Smile Kitchens.

So, did you enjoy this feature on narrow kitchen ideas? Then you’ll love Stef’s piece on how to start renovating your kitchen.

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