Small Kitchen Ideas – Tiny yet Functional and Stylish Kitchen Designs


Having a small kitchen can seem limiting, but it doesn’t have to be! With some clever design ideas and space-saving solutions, tiny kitchens can be just as functional, beautiful and enjoyable as larger ones. This article will provide tips and inspiration for making the most of a small kitchen space. We’ll cover layout ideas, storage solutions, downsizing appliances, maximizing every inch, choosing the right materials and colors, and adding style with decor. With a bit of creativity and strategic thinking, your petite kitchen can have everything you need in a layout that works for you. A small space doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort or beauty. Read on for plenty of tiny yet terrific small kitchen ideas!

Space Planning and Layouts

Careful planning is key to making a small kitchen efficient and user-friendly. Here are some layout ideas to consider:

Optimize Traffic Flow

Make sure the layout allows for smooth workflow from one task to another. Avoid awkwards spaces that impede movement or require excessive stepping around each other. Keep frequently used items within easy reach.

Single Wall Galley

Arranging cabinets and appliances along one wall streamlines the work area in a small galley kitchen. This layout works well for narrow kitchens.

Peninsula Layout

Adding a peninsula can increase counter space and storage without eating up floor area. Include seating space for casual dining.

Island Layout

Islands maximize work surface and can house appliances. Just be sure to allow for traffic flow around it. Movable or small islands provide flexibility.

L-Shaped Layout

An L-shaped kitchen efficiently positions the sink, fridge and stove along adjoining walls with a continuous counter connecting them.

U-Shaped Layout

A U-shaped layout provides ample counter space by lining three walls with cabinetry and appliances. The open side can accommodate a table.

Storage Solutions

Lack of storage is one of the biggest complaints in petite kitchens. Use these clever ideas to tuck away cooking equipment, pantry items and other supplies.


  • Install shelves right up to the ceiling to utilize vertical storage space.
  • Try open shelving or glass-front cabinets to prevent a cluttered look. Keep things organized!
  • Use shelves in blind corner spaces or on walls beside appliances.
  • Floating shelves provide display space without taking up floor area.


  • Maximize base cabinets with full extension drawers that come all the way out for easy access.
  • Use drawer organizers and dividers to neatly arrange contents.
  • Install extra deep drawers to hold bulky items like pots and mixer.
  • Add pull-out “hidden” drawers between cabinets.


  • Install pull-out shelves in corner cabinets and other hard to reach spots.
  • Use spinning “lazy Susan” shelves to bring items in back corners forward.
  • Pull-out vertical tray dividers keep canned goods and jars organized.
  • Pull-out towel and cutting board racks conserve space near the sink.

Multi-Purpose Furniture

  • A rolling cart can provide extra storage and be moved wherever you need it.
  • Kitchen islands on casters allow you to roll them against a wall when not in use.
  • Tables or chairs with built-in storage hide items and save space.

Other Clever Ideas

  • Mount a rail system with hooks below upper cabinets to hang cooking tools.
  • Use cabinet door racks to store cutting boards, cookie sheets or other flat items vertically.
  • Install hooks on the sides or interior of cabinet doors to hold measuring cups, pot lids and more.
  • Store less used items in baskets or bins that can slide under counters or be stored elsewhere.

Downsized Appliances

Standard sized appliances may simply be too bulky for a pint-sized kitchen. Luckily there are now many options for compact cooking essentials without sacrificing function.

Smaller Refrigerators

Compact Stoves and Ranges

Microwave/Convection Ovens

These multitasking appliances combine a microwave with convection cooking modes, baking and broiling all in one small unit. They save tons of space! This model by Samsung even has an air fryer function!

Compact Dishwashers

Slim 18” dishwashers will fit most small spaces. Look for models with adjustable racks to fit larger dishes. This Bosch model has a great reputation.

Small Sinks

Bar or vessel sinks conserve precious counter real estate. Just be sure to measure dishes and pots to ensure they’ll fit. Here is a nice 16” option.

Maximizing Every Inch

It’s incredible how much you can fit into a small kitchen with some efficient use of space. Be sure to optimize every bit of real estate you have available.

Multi-Tasking Furniture

Items that serve more than one function maximize space.

  • An island can provide a work surface, informal dining, storage and conceal appliances all in one.
  • Bench seating at a table can store items underneath.
  • A kitchen cart adds work space and storage on wheels.

Double Duty Walls

Take advantage of vertical storage space.

  • Hang commonly used tools from pegboard or rail systems on walls.
  • Install hanging pots racks for easy access to pans.
  • Mount shelves very close together for small items.

Hidden Storage

Tuck away items creatively.

  • Conceal small appliances inside upper cabinets when not in use.
  • Store lesser used items under toe kicks or behind false drawer fronts.
  • Create a pantry closet in an unused niche.

Dual-Purpose Furnishings

Opt for furnishings that multitask.

  • An ottoman or bench with lidded storage also provides extra seating.
  • Nesting tables stow away easily when not serving meals.
  • A drop-leaf table folds down for a more compact footprint.

Elevate Appliances

Raise appliances off the floor to gain storage space underneath.

  • Set a refrigerator on a platform to stash items below or add a toe kick drawer.
  • Install a wall oven at counter height to allow room for cabinets underneath.
  • Raise a dishwasher on a platform to create a pull-out pantry.

Materials and Finishes

Choosing the right materials for surfaces and finishes is key in making small kitchens feel open, bright and spacious instead of closed in and cluttered.

Light Colors

Pale hues of white, off-white and light neutrals visually expand the space instead of dark colors which make small rooms feel smaller. Go for light granite, solid surface or laminate countertops.

Glossy Surfaces

Polished materials like glass tile backsplashes or shiny quartz countertops reflect light around and make the room feel airier. Stainless steel appliances also have a nice bright look.

Mirrored Backsplashes

Mirror tiles amplify light and the illusion of spaciousness better than any material. Like these from Wayfair.

Glass Cabinet Doors

Glass front cabinet doors maintain an open sightline so the kitchen feels less boxed in. LED lighting illuminates contents.

Mini Subway Tile

Classic white 3 x 6” subway tiles make kitchen walls look clean and bright. Smaller sizes like 3 x 4” expand the perception of space.

Penny Rounds

Dotting copper penny tile in backsplashes or small accents adds lively reflective sparkle and visual interest, drawing the eye.

Style and Decor

A cramped, cluttered appearance can make small kitchens seem even smaller. Use these tips to infuse stylish decor with purpose and function.

Limit Visual Clutter

Avoid overloading the space with freestanding decor items that make things feel chaotic. Carefully curate accent pieces.

Multipurpose Accents

Choose accents that serve functional purposes like a pretty magnetic knife holder, herb garden planters or a chalkboard menu/grocery list.

Clever Wall Decor

  • Floating wood shelves display pretty cookbooks, plants and serveware while storing items.
  • Rail systems with S-hooks allow you to hang mugs, utensils or towels.
  • Framed art or a decorative wall mirror visually expands the room.

Personalize with Color

Inject your personality with pops of color and pattern through accessories like dishtowels, potholders and coffee mugs. Vivid colors feel energizing in small spaces.

Stylish Stools

Lemons or other printed upholstered stools provide extra seating without taking up much room. They can be stashed under counters when not in use.

Hidden Small Appliances

Keep clutter off counters by storing small appliances inside cabinets. Bring them out when needed. Install electrical outlets inside cabinets.


Strip lighting installed on top edges of cabinets casts a soft glow upward to make ceilings appear higher than they are.

Window Treatments

Floor length curtains with a narrow rod near the ceiling draw eyes up and make ceilings feel loftier. Keep windows uncovered to allow in light.

Making the Most of Small Kitchens: Key Takeaways

While small kitchens do present some challenges, there are many creative ways to make them highly functional and beautiful spaces. A few key tips:

  • Optimize traffic flow in the layout and have essential work zones within easy reach. Islands and peninsulas maximize work space.
  • Strategically incorporate storage solutions like pull-outs, drawer organizers and vertical shelving to tuck everything away neatly.
  • Downsize and elevate appliances to open up floor space underneath for storage or toe kicks.
  • Multitask furnishings serve as storage, work space, seating and display areas all in one.
  • Use light, reflective materials that brighten up the space and make it feel more open.
  • Carefully curate accents that serve functional purposes while adding personalized style.
  • Take advantage of vertical storage on walls and high mounted cabinets.

With some strategic planning and creative use of every inch, even the tiniest kitchen can be upgraded into a highly efficient and stylish space you’ll love spending time in!

Frequently Asked Questions About Small Kitchens

What are some good layouts for a small kitchen?

Some of the most effective small kitchen layouts include galley (single wall), L-shaped, U-shaped and peninsula designs. Optimize workflow and maximize counter space. Islands are great but allow room to move around them.

How can I add more storage to my small kitchen?

Use pull-outs, organizers, tiered shelving, and racks to fully optimize cabinet space. Hang commonly used items from rails or pegboard. Store lesser used items elsewhere. Add movable carts or furniture with storage built in.

What are some space-saving appliance options for small kitchens?

Compact and apartment-sized refrigerator/freezer combos, 20-24 inch ranges and cooktops, microwave-convection oven combos, 18 inch dishwashers and small sinks provide full function while taking up less space.

Should I use light or dark colors in a small kitchen?

Lighter color palettes visually expand the space and allow more light to bounce around. Darker colors tend to make small rooms feel closed in and cluttered. Go for soft whites, light granite, glass tiles and reflective finishes.

How can I make a tiny kitchen still feel stylish?

Limit freestanding decor and carefully choose accents that serve practical purposes like mounted shelves, magnetic knife holders, herbs gardens, etc. Inject color and pattern through removable items like dishtowels and pops of accessories.


Small kitchens may present some unique challenges but they can definitely be just as beautiful, organized and functional as larger cooking spaces. Getting creative with layouts, storage solutions, downsized appliances and compact multi-tasking furnishings allows you to make the absolute most of every square inch. Clever use of light, reflective materials and thoughtfully chosen accents enhances the feeling of openness and style. With some strategic planning and innovative use of space, tiny kitchens can be upgraded into highly efficient rooms tailored perfectly to your needs that you’ll love spending time in.