careful planning for you small space kitchen remodel can make it functional and stylish

20 Ideas for Small Kitchen Design

Looking for ideas for small kitchen design? You’re not alone. We’re living smaller these days. The “tiny house” has its own tv show – “Tiny House Hunters” on HGTV. There’s hundreds of boards for tiny houses on Pinterest, and has thousands of photos and hundreds of Ideabooks devoted to the subject of making the most of small kitchen design.

Even if your kitchen has more space than a tiny house kitchen, but you still don’t have the square footage you would like for your kitchen remodel project, fear not. Just because your space is small doesn’t mean you have to work cramped and inefficiently.

Small kitchen design and remodeling can be equally as complicated and complex as creating a design for a large kitchen. Fitting everything into the space to make it efficient and stylish can be difficult. Yet an experienced and knowledgeable kitchen designer can make the most of a small footprint when designing any new kitchen, large or small.

Living Small

If moving up to a full chef’s kitchen with two islands and lots of counter space isn’t an option for you right now, how about upgrading your small kitchen design to make it seem more spacious and improve efficiencies? Here’s 20 ideas to get your creativity flowing.

1.) Use Every Available Inch

Don’t let any available area go unused. If there’s space between your cabinets and the ceiling, you’ve got storage that be used to get clutter off the countertops. Add wicker baskets, and it’s the perfect spot to keep items you don’t use every day. A magnetic strip on the wall can hold knives. A wire grid with u-hooks can be used either vertically or horizontally to hang spatulas, cooking spoons, ladles, even frying pans.

2.) White on White 

You know what they say: white = bright. Keep everything white, then add in color from art, dishes, placemats, etc.  White makes a room feel twice as big.

Even though white walls will make the room appear bigger, white can be quite stark. Maybe you’re tired of white. There are many off-white alternatives available to pick from, like soft gray or warm cream, even pale green.

3.) Go Modern

To make your space look larger, go for a modern or contemporary style. The minimal design will make the room seem bigger when there are no moldings, carvings or onlays or other decorative elements.

4.)  Functional Kitchen Island

A small kitchen can seem bigger with an island that is sized correctly for the space. A small but efficient and functional island provides additional workspace and storage. It can be used as counter space when preparing dinner, and you can sit down to eat there later. A movable cart can substitute as an island, and it takes up less space than a standard island. And it can be rolled out of the way when necessary. 

5.) Appliance Garage

To keep countertops clear and accessible for food prep, the toaster, blender, and coffeemaker and other small appliances can be parked in an appliance garage. This is an item your kitchen designer can help you incorporate into your new kitchen, no matter its size.

6.)  Kitchen Cubbies

To squeeze in extra storage, add little cubbies to fill in the space above a window or anywhere you can.

7.) Vertical Storage

Going vertical with a storage system can take advantage of every inch of space available. Ask your kitchen designer for suggestions. Many of the suppliers they work with have interesting and unusual vertical storage options. 

8.) Hang Pots and Pans

A pot rack mounted on the ceiling can be used to hang pots and pans. It’s functional and stylish, and your pots and pans are within reach when you’re cooking and need them. 

9.) Sliding Barn Doors

If there’s no space to open doors into a small room, sliding barn doors not only look great, but they save space and create privacy between rooms. They are available in many materials and can fit into any décor, from farmhouse style to Manhattan high rise. They’re even available in glass. 

10.) Mirrored Backsplash

Mirrors always make a room look larger. Mirrored backsplashes help reflect the light and open up the space. The only downside is that they have to be cleaned regularly.

11.) Lots of Windows

Add in as many windows as possible to make a small space feel less closed in. A high-gloss finish on cabinets also helps — it bounces light back into the room. 

12.) Pull-out Work Spaces

Countertop space is usually at a premium in small kitchens. A pull-out cutting board comes in handy when you need extra chopping surface. And a pull-out kitchen table is perfect for adding to your work space. Bonus: it can also be your dining table. And it’s easily stowed out of the way when not in use.

13.) Drawer Organizers

Keeping your kitchen neat and uncluttered is half the battle to making it appear bigger. Drawer organizers will keep all your utensils and cutlery in place, out of sight yet within easy reach when you need something.

14.) Storage Space-Savers

Cabinet storage should use every inch of space. Vertical tray dividers, shelves or spice racks on the backs of doors and roll-out shelves help organize items, so everything is within reach and space is maximized.

15.) Open Shelves

Open shelves offer flexible storage and organizing options. They do away with the closed-in look of standard cabinetry and lighten up small spaces. 

16.)  Use Corner Space

Corner space is almost always going to waste. And it’s hard to get to things. Corner cabinet shelves, a lazy susan or a clever European-designed multi-level pull-out/swing-out that provides access without straining to reach and put back the items are all great options for making the use of unused space. Your kitchen designer knows how to make this happen.

17.) Window Seat Storage

Not only does a built-in bench seat take up less precious space than chairs, it also has storage hidden underneath the seat cushions. A bench seat can even incorporate drawers at floor level.

18.) Incorporate Lots of Light

Add under-cabinet lights to brighten up a small space and make it seem larger and more attractive. Today’s LED lights are perfect for lighting cabinet and drawer interiors. They can even illuminate the toe space. 

19.) Choose Compact Appliances

Appliance manufacturers now offer all sorts of compact appliances to work with any small space kitchen design. Even if a slim refrigerator can’t fit, there are other options, such as an under-counter fridge or refrigerator drawers. Dishwasher drawers are also an option.

20.) Use the Toe Kick

Drawers installed in the toe kick can be very handy for storing things like place mats and other flat items. 


Just because your kitchen is small doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice efficiency and style. Let your kitchen designer help you make the most of the space you have and get you the kitchen you’ve always wanted. 

Sources used in this article and resources for further ideas on small kitchen design

KDP exists to offer insight and advice about all things related to kitchen remodeling. Our goal is to connect homeowners with talented, experienced kitchen designers who live and work in their communities. We are a serious resource for anyone preparing to remodel their kitchen so they can make the best possible choices about designers, contractors and products.