WASHINGTON DC, MARCH 20: Lorena Bow, a retired DC schoolteacher, installed her dream kitchen a few years ago in a dramatic makeover by designer Lantha Carley in Washington DC, March 20, 2014. (Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Washington - Designer Iantha Carley loves a good challenge, and designing a small kitchen puts her problem-solving skills to the test. “You have to be really creative to make the most out of a tight space that is such an important part of a home,” Carley says.

Here are six of her favourite suggestions for making every inch count.

* Plan carefully. Creating the best solution for a limited amount of space takes longer than designing a massive trophy kitchen. Do your homework. Create generous storage by maximising cabinet possibilities, add interest with custom design details and mix materials and textures.

* Create a wish list, but know you can’t have it all. Write down everything you’ve ever dreamed of having, then start eliminating. It’s better to shoot for the moon rather than wish you’d added something when it’s too late. A pull-out trash can that is built in behind a kitchen cabinet is a must; otherwise it will take up too much valuable floor space.

* Splurge on appliances. Even if you can’t have metres of cabinetry or a huge centre island, you can add luxury to your tiny kitchen.

* Heat your floor. You’re going to spending a lot of time standing in this room, so why not feel a cozy warmth from the bottom of your feet? Heated floors can be pricey, but with fewer square metres, it’s a smaller outlay.

* Don’t clutter up counter space. Workspace is the most valuable space in a tiny kitchen.

* Avoid pendant lighting. Although the wow factor of hanging artsy lamps is tempting, avoid this trendy choice. Pendant lights, often used in trios, take up lots of visual space. Recessed lighting and under-cabinet lighting are your best options. – The Washington Post