Tiny Kitchen Inspiration That You'll Want To Pin
Every kitchen comes with a unique challenge. Some have little storage. Some have no workspace. Some have an awkward traffic flow. Some are just plain cramped and uninviting. We’ve seen horror stories of drawers, ovens, and refrigerators that can’t open all the way due to inopportune layouts. So, it’s no wonder one of the most common kitchen woes is that the area is just too small. But in the case of a few special tiny kitchens, the owners and designers got small space design just right.
Over the years we’ve amassed a stockpile of small kitchen ideas—from how to brighten up dark corners to how to put every square inch to work. Kitchen design doesn’t have to be painful—or sacrificial—when it comes to small spaces, it just has to be a hair more clever. Lucky for you, we’ve got a handful of smart approaches right here.
Rethink the Floor Plan
Remember those appliances we mentioned that couldn’t fully open? That was the reality for this 60-square foot kitchen before its renovation. Designer Kiera Kushlan tore down an 8-foot section of the wall, brightened with white, and moved the sink to create an open, airy space previously unimaginable in the cramped quarters.
Expand Into Other Rooms
In the same DC kitchen renovation, Designer Kiera Kushlan carried the flat-paneled Ikea cabinets and butcher-block countertop into the next room to expand storage and connect the two high-traffic areas.
Add Shelving Wherever Necessary
Small-space dwellers need to work every inch. Designer Shannon Crain used these two floating shelves to create more storage and help anchor the upper cabinets in her kitchen.
Create the Illusion of Space
Dark metal kitchen cabinets visually recede into the wall (another way to suggest spaciousness) and highlight designer Nathan Drewes’ simple, elegant kitchen staples. A little blue table pushed against the wall comfortably seats two and doubles as counter space in a pinch, while adding old-world appeal to the petite cooking zone.
Make a Big Statement in a Little Space
This kitchen was originally unorganized, outdated, and badly lit. All of the charm in this 1910 room (like the original brick wall!) was covered up with drywall, laminate cabinets, and vinyl flooring. “I combined timeless materials such as marble and stainless steel, installed new cabinetry, and refinished the old herringbone floors,” says designer Angie Hranowsky. She warns against letting a small square footage hinder statement-making design: “Don’t think small! Aim for originality.”
Add Personality Without Clutter
Decorative touches in this Virginia kitchen—like green soapstone counters and tole fronts on the upper cabinets—add color and style to the white kitchen without taking up space. The marble-and-iron table also doubles as an island work surface.
Play with the Backsplash
Extend your backsplash beyond the standard height for seamless appeal. Tile walls are conducive to kitchens with open shelving (which contributes to an open, airy vibe!) or ones void of upper cabinetry altogether. Bonus: Installing tile in high-traffic spaces, such as kitchens, makes sense because it is durable and easy to clean.
Let Walls Breathe with Open Shelves
Upper cabinets often make a tight kitchen feel even smaller. Consider open shelving for an airy, modern feel, and keep dishware on permanent display. But be sure to include enough concealed space for plastic storage containers and other items best left behind closed doors. This kitchen also cleverly implements a rollaway island with a butcher-block top, which can be pulled out when you need it and tucked away when not in use, making cleanup a cinch.
Create a Moveable Kitchen
Opt for a freestanding furniture hutch and rolling metal shelves in lieu of permanent, wall-mounted cabinetry. Bonus: If you relocate, you can take your kitchen with you.
Brighten with White
For this young family, creating a galley was an efficient use of limited floor space. Plus, an all-white look only helps expand the visual space in the room.
Go for a Galley
Another galley kitchen saves the day (and creates some square footage) in this bright white house. Throughout the kitchen, appliances and pantry storage are concealed behind minimally detailed cabinetry.
Use Only what You Need
A humble, tucked-away kitchen is all this Alabama lakeside retreat needs. A small table, two chairs, and a stool (at right) provide a spot for dining, with views of the fireplace and porch.
Make Furniture Work Double Duty
Shannon Crain on her previous Wilmington, NC, studio apartment: “Demand that your pieces multitask. My chest of drawers is also my vanity, and my desk serves as a sideboard for entertaining. One of my favorite moves was converting a china cabinet into a pantry. It’s perfect for storing groceries and allows me to stash my appliances—blender, grinder, chopper—behind closed doors.”
“I just wanted a basic, clean, white room,” says Lucy Gillis of her Athens, Georgia, kitchen. “It’s funny, because it ended up very similar to my parents’ kitchen.” Lucy chose simple cabinets and pendant lights from IKEA and painted the walls a soft white to get an airy look. The antique rug adds a sense of history to the brand-new room.
Spring for Functional Details
In artist Lulie Wallace’s kitchen, achieving the crisp, clean look she wanted was in the details: freshly stained wood floors, an all-white color scheme, new quartz counters and cabinetry that extended to the door, and an island with shiplap siding to camouflage drawers.