A spacious kitchen with sky-high ceilings and ample natural light is the absolute dream. In reality, most of us make do with small, oddly shaped kitchens. But it doesn’t have to be so bad! In fact, with the right small-space solutions and stylish design ideas, it really doesn’t matter what size your space is. Ahead, we’ve rounded up tons of clever and chic small kitchen ideas to steal so that you never feel like a claustrophobic cook again. We promise these tricks will help you make the most of your counter space and cabinetry—and make you want to spend even more time in your kitchen.
🏡You love finding new design tricks. So do we. Let us share the best of them.
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Create an Appliance Garage
Don’t have much counter space? Consider adding an appliance garage within your cabinetry as designer Natalie Chong did in her former Toronto townhouse. The cubby held her Nespresso machine. Underneath, a push-to-open wood panel hid a Vitamix.
Make It Double as a Mudroom
For a Georgia kitchen connected to a back door, designer Laura Jenkins turned some cabinets connected to a back door near the built-in refrigerator into a mudroom closet. The seamless construction also hides a coffee station and pantry, making the room feel larger.
Maintain a Neutral Palette
With a neutral-leaning color palette, your kitchen can feel more open and serene. Just take note of this tranquil kitchen by Lauren Nelson Design, which incorporates handmade tile, marble countertops, and cabinetry in Benjamin Moore’s Caldwell Green that subtly reference the outdoors.
Build In Kitchen Necessities
In this kitchen designed by Sarah Robertson, a slide-in cutting board and drying rack flank the range—making cooking a total breeze. Not to mention, you don’t have to worry about fitting them into other drawers or cabinets.
Add a Nook for Bench Seating
Consider maximizing your dining arrangement with a nook for built-in bench seating as designer Nannette Brown did for this moody galley kitchen in a New York apartment.
Opt for a Countersplash
Countersplashes—when the same slab style is used for the countertop and backsplash—offer a smooth look that provides easy cleanup for cooking splatters. Pro designers are embracing the style, including designer Melanie Millner who chose Cielo quartzite for this European-inspired estate in Georgia. Enhance the spacious, cohesive feel with a little display shelf in the same material.
Or if hanging a rod from the ceiling isn’t ideal for you, opt for a short one secured to a small open shelf. In this kitchen by designer Augusta Hoffman, a small rod displays a few go-to tools and cookware for easy access while cooking.
Hide Your Charging Station
If you tend to charge your phone or iPad in your kitchen, move that clutter into a drawer with docking outlets like this sleek setup by designer Sarah Robertson. That way, you’ll have more counter space to cook and flip through recipe books.
Amplify the character in your small kitchen with the look of exposed brick for less. In this San Francisco kitchen, designer Lynn Kloythanomsup chose a classic red brick, but since it was just for looks, went faux. “It’s like a thin brick tile,” she explains.
Work With Smaller Appliances
Save counter space with a built-in electric cooktop. A slim version—like this one with two burners in a working pantry by Rob Klein and Amy Kreutz of Conceptual Kitchens & Millwork—will give you more room to unload groceries and prepare meals.
Add Sleek Open Shelving
Create more storage and decor space with industrial-style open shelving in small columns, as designer Caren Rideau did in this kitchen. It’ll clear up counter space and help you easily see your inventory.
Use a Pull-Out System for Bottles
Anyone who loves wine but doesn’t have the space or budget for a mini wine fridge needs this pull-out system from Thomasville Cabinetry, which is available at The Home Depot. The best part? You can use it for other needs, like water and cans, should you not always have a full wine selection on hand.
If you’re low on cupboard space, add storage with rods secured to the ceiling, as designers Carey Maloney and Hermes Mallea did here. Copper-pipe shelving or a brass rod look super chic and are ideal for hanging mugs or ledges to stack dishes.
Plants make everything feel happier—even small kitchens. Plus, if you get great light, why not make use of it? ETC.etera cleverly put a large plant on top of the fridge to brighten up the space.
You’ll need all the task lighting you can get in a small kitchen. Here, designer Corey Damen Jenkins installed sconces over the countertop and sink area. Not only will they literally brighten the workspace, but they also add some shiny style.
Get Some Statement Lighting
Is anyone actually going to notice how big or small your kitchen is when you’ve got an amazing piece of statement lighting? Definitely not. We’re also loving the mixed metals and olive green paint in this one.
No closed cabinets under the kitchen sink but plenty of unsightly things you need to tuck away? Don’t worry. You can hide items like wastebaskets and cleaning supplies by concealing them with a fabric skirt as Scott Meacham Wood did here.
You might not have room for a breakfast nook, but you can probably make some space for a counter bar, especially if you place it strategically. This one in a glam kitchen designed by Amir Khamnejpur scores double points for a counter-height dining table that moonlights as a kitchen island.
When there’s not much you can do to a cramped space without making it feel even smaller, add a rug. It’ll warm up the room and add color and pattern without overwhelming your kitchen. Interior designer Michelle Nussbaumer also packs plenty of texture-rich materials into the small space.
The smaller, the cozier. Embrace it with cream colors and gold fixtures. In this small cubic kitchen, the retro ship-inspired hardware and design details complement the size of the space.
In this kitchen by Balsamo Antiques and Interior Design, tall interior glass doors create the illusion of a much bigger space, and the black lacquer paint is a testament to embracing darker, cozier spaces instead of forcing them to look big and bright with all-white interiors. Though modern in many ways, the open shelves display antiques from the occupant’s travels for a timeless look.
Do you really need 25 extra bowls? Pare down your kitchen stuff to the bare minimum, and you’ll be surprised how much space you actually have. That way, your textural materials can really pop.
Here’s one more reason to love subway tiling, brought to us by Nicole Hollis Studio. Lay them horizontally to cover every last inch of space, from the backsplash to the ventilation hood, to help the space feel wider. And stick to a neutral, monochromatic palette for a classic touch.
Fun, colorful runners were practically made for long and narrow galley kitchens. In this one by Romanek Design Studio, the mix of materials, like the white marble backsplash and the matte black tiles, create a cool, unexpected contrast.
Repurpose Furniture for Storage
When you run out of cabinet space, just repurpose a dresser or armoire to house all of your plates, glasses, and serveware. Francophile Stephen Schubel gave his modest California cottage the royal treatment with antique gilded pieces and an Edwardian plaster cabinet.
Here’s another show-stopper brought to you by Michelle Nussbaumer. The blush pink and deep aqua lacquered cabinets are reflective, which means they make the space feel larger—like the classic mirror trick, but colorful.
Create a Pull-Out Pantry
If you’re adding shelves for storage, you don’t want them to look cluttered. Enter this pull-out pantry, which makes use of an awkward nook next to the refrigerator and hides unsightly dry goods behind a super-useful chalkboard door.
When using high-gloss paint for a reflective, mirrored effect, don’t forget to include your ceilings. In this small kitchen designed by Kristin Hein and Philip Cozzi, the sleek finish is balanced with English country–style warmth courtesy of rustic wood accents and a whimsical light fixture.
Mirror the walls to make a small kitchen feel larger. In this gorgeous apartment designed by Akin Atelier, the mirrors accentuate the sweeping views. And with a view like that, who cares what size the kitchen is?
Sneak in extra storage every chance you get. Here, Gary McBournie nestled an entire wine storage cabinet within the millwork of his kitchen—no extra floor space required.
To gain counter space, add ato the doorway of your kitchen. When you need to get in and out, you can easily roll it out of the way.
Put Things On Top of Appliances
If you’ve got space between your cabinets and your ceiling, you’ve got storage. Add wicker baskets or ceiling-high shelves and cubbies—it’s the perfect spot to keep lesser-used tools or cookbooks. In this kitchen designed by Kim Dempster and Erin Martin, one cabinet is also covered in chalk paint for notes and reminders.
Skip bulky hardware on your cabinetry and drawers. It’ll help your space look more streamlined and sleek. Going monochrome will also make it feel like a jewel box.
New Yorkers know how awkward those one-wall kitchens can be: They’re tiny yet somehow manage to take up an entire wall in your living room. This chic and simple kitchen designed by The Brooklyn Home Company proves that there are ways to redeem them. A console functions as a kitchen island and a dining spot without breaking up the room’s flow.
You know the drill: whiter=brighter. Keep everything white, then add in pops of color from your servingware or a cool pendant light that doesn’t take up too much space.
Incorporate Special Details
Have fun with cabinet extras, like a fancy ledge or scalloped detail. Designer Gary McBournie used Benjamin Moore’s Covington Blue to evoke the 1930s and ’40s, “something out of an old Bette Davis film,” he says.
Create Flow With Color
Creating visual flow between shared, small spaces will make a world of difference. A pale green paint color blends the small kitchen and dining area of this “jungalow,” by Justina Blakeney, especially when paired with the Moroccan clay tile backsplash and ombré dining bar stools in the living room.
Install a Mini Wine Fridge
If you have a small kitchen but love to collect wine, it may be worth investing in a mini wine fridge. Though it won’t hold as many bottles as a cellar or full-size wine refrigerator, it’ll still chill a few of your favorites. Plus, it’ll be the perfect scale for a smaller kitchen, like this one designed by Catherine Kwong.
Sure, the kitchen might be small, but the windows sure aren’t. If you’re in a similar predicament, open up the windows to get the air flowing, and keep things breezy to make it feel less claustrophobic. The bright accents in this kitchen by Commune Design are a great addition, too.
Squeeze In More Cabinets
To squeeze in extra storage, try adding little cubbies to fill in the space above a window or your range hood. Just make sure you have a step ladder handy. We’re also digging the statement hood in this Hecker Guthrie-designed kitchen. Proof that size doesn’t matter.
Go Graphic in a Galley Kitchen
Sure, galley-style kitchens lack counter space, but you can make up for it by thinking of the space in stations: an area to prep, an area for stovetop cooking, and so on. Then you can make dinner assembly-line style. This one designed by Brady Tolbert for Emily Henderson manages to make room for everything (those ceiling-high cabinets help) while also packing a lot of style punch with monochrome graphic touches.
Have Fun With Wallpaper
You may not have a ton of counter and floor space to play with, so make a statement on your walls. If you don’t want it your wallpaper to feel too overpowering, use it as an accent instead of covering an entire wall. Here, design firm Toledo Geller used a fun gold and white wallpaper behind a smokey mirror backsplash—the perfect combo inn a small kitchen.
Keeping things white will brighten up a small space, but that doesn’t mean you have to swear off wood forever. Reclaimed wood shelving adds contrast—and necessary storage. In this deVol kitchen, the prettiest items are displayed on the exposed wall-to-wall shelves and cubbies so the less attractive essentials can be tucked away in the cabinets.
When your kitchen is minuscule, you’ll have to surrender the dream of a kitchen island (for now, at least). The next best—and most proportionally appropriate—thing? A bar cart! It provides a little more storage and you can also opt for a little rolling cart with a butcherblock top for cooking.
Create Your Own Pantry
If you have zero space in your kitchen, don’t stress. Create your own storage nook on a nearby wall in your house by putting up shelves and placing some stools underneath. You’ll have a place to put your bag, shoes, and hats when you come home, and a place for all those gifted cake stands you’ve accumulated. That’s a thing, right?
Ensure the Breakfast Counter Flows
Connect a kitchen and dining area with a cute pass-through. Not only does it open up both rooms, but the countertop adds a spot for breakfast if you don’t have room for a nook in the kitchen.
Take advantage of literally every little surface, even ones that don’t seem functional. For example, deVol Kitchens added a rod with hooks under the upper shelves to hang mugs and cooking utensils. Strategic and chic.
Disco ball or breakfast counter? This tiny kitchen designed by ETC.etera for L.A.’s Firehouse Hotel is beyond cool. The mirrored tile backsplash contrasts nicely with the casual wicker stools. The key is to keep them low-profile as to not take up too much visual real estate.
If you’re bold, covering an entire tiny kitchen in one bright color will sound exciting—but if you aren’t sure which color you want to commit to, you think you prefer neutral hues, or you’re just a renter who doesn’t want to risk losing their security deposit, just paint an accent wall. Here, interior designer Danielle Colding added a powder blue accent wall and a sculpture but kept everything else glistening and white.
If you have a small kitchen that’s exposed to your living space, make it blend in as much as possible. Here, the silver refrigerator, simple white cabinetry, and marble countertops manage to be both stylish and understated so the dining room can shine under the spotlight. Plus, a farm table can do double-duty as a dinner spot and work surface.
Choose a Moody Color Scheme
Once you decide what color to go with, don’t forget about the finish. Acan help a small space feel larger.
Designed by Matthew Ferrarini, this kitchen is bursting with ingenious small-space solutions. He used folding wood pocket doors to conceal the entire counter and cabinet area against the wall. This would be a major game-changer in a studio apartment in particular.
It’s tiny, so every inch should be both functional and communicate the right style statement. In this deVol kitchen, it’s all about a unique patterned backsplash and bold paint color.
This kitchen designed by Garrow Kedigian is the perfect mix between over-the-top glam and pared back industrial. We didn’t think that was possible until now. Use metallic finishes and statement lighting for a similar effect.
Opt for Backless Stools
Backless stools can slip under a counter to save space. Choose a color that’ll blend in with your island, unifying the room. The industrial stools in this open kitchen designed by Leanne Ford blend right in.
Bulky pans can take up valuable space, so install an industrial pot rack above the kitchen island or on an empty wall. It’s functional and stylish. In this kitchen designed by Leanne Ford Interiors, the copper pots and pans boast a vintage, French country-style character.
Create folding doors to close off the dining room from the kitchen. If space is tight, you’ll benefit from the extra room when guests come over.
Embrace small space by going for black cabinetry. Contrary to popular belief, dark paint colors can actually make a small space feel larger than stark white paint. In this modestly-sized kitchen designed by Heidi Caillier, the inky hue makes for an intimate and soothing atmosphere.
This itty-bitty kitchen designed by Jess Bunge for Emily Henderson Design proves that no space is too small to be functional and pretty. The bold convex mirror brings a sense of fun and personal style and also distracts from the stove (which, in such a small space, could have looked bulky).
Add a Shelf Above the Stove
To expand a tiny kitchen, add extra shelves in places they’ll be most functional, like above the stove. That way, you won’t have to spend a lot of money or take up valuable floor space. This moody farmhouse kitchen designed by deVol Kitchens also takes advantage of the wide windowsill, using it as an extra surface.
Add in as many windows as you can to make a small space feel less claustrophobic. A glossy finish on cabinets also helps—it bounces light back into the room.
Highlight a Bright Color
Opt for a metallic hood and saturated range to make a statement. Then tone things down with a runner and artwork in a muted iteration of the same color, as done here in this pretty kitchen designed by Cameron Ruppert Interiors.
Make Your Island Multi-Purpose
If your kitchen is small, you likely won’t have room for an island and a breakfast nook. Choose an island that’ll do double duty—you can use it as counter space when you’re prepping dinner, and eat at it later.
Open shelves amp up the cool, industrial feel to this kitchen’s exposed pipes. To keep it feeling a bit more polished, go for all white.
You can hardly tell that the cabinets in this kitchen by Maltsev Design stretch all the way up to the ceilings. The color-blocking approach helps disguise them, as does the lack of hardware.
Rolling Kitchen Ladder
Adding extra storage up top is a great idea—but reaching it, on the other hand, is a challenge. Install a rolling ladder to access ceiling-height cabinets.
A tall table works great in a space that’s too small for a dining table and too big to have nothing. It can function as both a nook and an island. In this kitchen designed by Hecker Guthrie, the wooden table overlaps with the modern kitchen island.
To keep countertops clear, tuck the toaster and coffeemaker away in a sleek appliance garage. A stand mixer can pop up fromif you install a spring-loaded shelf.
Singular Kitchen Shelf
No counter space? No problem. A single shelf adds a spot to put the not-so-necessary (but actually, totally necessary) kitchen items like candles, art, and vases.
Instead of keeping your appliances, like a toaster or microwave, out in plain sight, work with your contractor and designer to come up with cool ways to hide them. Here, Mick De Guilio created a sliding quartzite door on the counter to hide a pull out tray for the toaster. It blends in with the rest of the backsplash.
Pump up a color and make it feel even more vibrant by lacquering it. Keep everything, even the fridge, the same color and it’ll feel more uniform.
If the space is small, play around with fun wallpaper. Something with a little sheen will make the room gleam… even if you haven’t gotten to the dishes in, uh, a while.
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