It does not have to be in the middle. You can place it where it‘s convenient. Just make sure that you can also use it as storage. If you are going to change your counters, make sure that you are able to install deeper counters. So you will be able to place in more appliances and you will have more space to work on. Remember the technique with improving your kitchen, no matter how small it is, is being able to create more space.
Interior designers create an illusion of space with lighting under the cabinets and under the counter. The proper lighting can make your kitchen larger and appealing. Lighter color cabinet with glass doors creates the appearance that there is more space. Flooring tiles can be placed diagonally. In a galley, designed kitchen hardware floors can be used and still give the room a large appearance. If doing a modern small kitchen design and an island is desired, it is best to double it up as a work space as well. There are island designs that come already available and can suit your needs and preferences. The islands provide solutions to and space problems in your small kitchen.
Many people are using tumbled materials when making their decision from the endless amount of kitchen tile backsplash ideas. While you may have ruled out glass, steel and ceramic, you still have some big choices to make. The most popular types of tumbled tiles are made from travertine, limestone and marble but ultimately the decision has to be yours. What works for other people may not look the way you want it to in your kitchen.