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Design Advice: Small Kitchen Ideas

Small Kitchen Ideas

There is one benefit to having a small kitchen, everything is close by when you need it. Most of the ideas below will go over storage solutions. That is one of the most pressing issues in a kitchen, you have so much you need to store. But I’ll also go through some overall design tips and small kitchen ideas such as color choice, the need to blend everything for a uniformed look, and using reflective materials.

Overall Design Tips

Color Schemes

To make your kitchen feel larger and more spacious, you want to go with light colors. For your wall paint color, for the cabinet colors, and even for your furniture pieces. Go with white just like in picture (1), off white, or light grey. Or you could go the other way, and embrace the coziness of a small kitchen by using darker colors. For ideas on kitchen color schemes have a look at my post here: A Palette Guide for Kitchen Color Schemes: Decor and Paint Ideas.


See if you can find a way to add a mirror to your kitchen. It can be one large one or a group of small ones hanging up on the wall. What this does is reflect light around the space and adds depth – creating a larger feeling space. This design tip can also apply to your cabinets and countertops. Go with a glossy and reflective finish, as it will help bounce light around.


Try and blend your kitchen together as much as possible. What I mean by this, is that you don’t want anything to stand out. Try and keep to a simple color scheme, with maybe no more than 2 colors. Avoid using patterns.  You want everything from your kitchen table and decor, to your cabinets and countertops to be unified in color and design. When you have a more uniform design, the eye doesn’t fixate on one area. You don’t want to have focal points. By keeping things blended together, you create a larger free flowing space.


One way to blend the design of your kitchen is to use curtains that are a similar color to your wall color. If you have white walls then use white curtains or off white. This helps create a uniformed design in the kitchen, making it feel larger.

Also how you hang your curtains can play a role in how spacious the kitchen feels. The longer your curtains are and the higher up you hang them, the taller your space feels. This might be harder to do in the kitchen, than say in the bedroom or living room. One thing you want to make sure when hanging your curtains, is that you don’t block out any light. You want to bring in as much daylight as possible. So use a long curtain rod, this way you can fully open up your curtains without blocking any of the sides.

Bringing in as much natural lighting as possible, during the day, is one of the best ways of making the kitchen feel bright and spacious. For some people and for some homes, privacy is needed and so opening up the windows isn’t such a great idea. To get around this you can either:

  • Hang a curtain rod half way down the window. Closing off the curtain adds privacy, while light can still shine through the top
  • Use frosted glass window panes, or stick frosted film over your current windows
  • Use shutters

For more kitchen window treatment and curtain ideas, have a look at my mood board here: Decorating The Windows With These Kitchen Curtain Ideas.

Stress Free Living

You can reduce stress in the kitchen by keeping it clutter free. Do this by keeping the countertops clear of items, or group small items together in bowls and trays. Below I go over smart and creative storage and organization ideas to help you make the most of your limited space.

Lighting To Create Space

In the day, you want to use as much natural lighting as possible. Here are some ways lighting can help out in a small kitchen when it gets dark:

  • If you eat and dine in your kitchen, why not put your ceiling lights on a dimmer. This way you can have a bright space when you are preparing food, and create a more relaxing mood by turning down the lights down when you are eating.
  • If you plan on doing any remodeling, see where you can add lights in your kitchen to make things more convenient. Under cabinet lighting helps light up the countertops – for when you are preparing food. Inside cabinet lighting helps in making finding things easier.

For more kitchen lighting ideas have a look at my mood board here: Kitchen Lighting Ideas Mood Board and Inspiration.

The Eating Area

If you have a kitchen table where you eat, this can take up a lot of space. Some ideas on making the most of your space include:

  • Using round kitchen tables vs a square/rectangle one as it makes better use of floor space – check out the kitchen in picture (2) for an example.
  • An extendable table is great for adding space while dining, and can be shrunk down when it is not in use.
  • A transparent kitchen table will help make the room feel spacious. Even though it takes up the same amount of physical space than a normal, say wooden, table, it takes up less visual space – because you can see through it.
  • One way to save space with the seats is to use a bench. This bench can have a flip top so you can store items underneath.
  • A built in nook is a way to take advantage of the corner space in a kitchen.

Creative Small Kitchen Storage Ideas

Modifying Cabinets and Draws

A lot of kitchens don’t make the most of their closet or draw space. Everyone is different, and has different storage needs. So to make the most your your cabinets and draws you are going to want to modify them to your own needs.

Inside cabinets you can add shelving, railings to hang things up, or tension rods to store things sideways. You can even add utensil containers, food baskets, spice racks, and sealed containers into draws. This also helps keeps items off of the countertops.

The bottom of your cabinets has potential for storage. Here you can add toe kick draws. Ideal for non essential kitchen items or for a pet feeding station.

Behind The Doors

The inside of cabinet doors can also be modified to add storage – just like in picture (3). Hooks and railings can be used to hang things up. A bracket can be fitted to hold up chopping boards or kitchen rolls (trash bags, cling film, aluminium foil). You can also find over the door brackets so you can hang towels or kitchen rolls on the outside of the cabinets

Your kitchen door can also be used to add storage. Once again hooks, railings, brackets and shelves can be fitted – all depending on what you need storing. You can also get over the door organization hangers.

On the Walls and Up High

In a small kitchen design, make the most of the height space you have. Hang up as many floating shelves or wall railings as possible. Built in cabinets are great for making the most of a kitchen layout, plus they are designed to blend in with the design of the kitchen.

You’ve got space above the kitchen cabinets that can also be used. Or how about hanging up a beam overhead that you can hang items from. You can hang things by using a pole and hook, or by putting the beam on a pulley system that you can lower.

A Flexible Layout

A handy item to have would be a little cart on wheels (4). This can be wheeled over to where you need to cook with all the general items you use daily. Then when it is not in use it can be stored away – maybe under the kitchen table.

For pictures of the clever and creative storage ideas mentioned above, have a look at my mood board here: Kitchen Storage Ideas and Organization Tips. For ideas on how to easily store your pots, pans and lids, have a look at this mood board post: Kitchen Storage and Organization | Part 2 Pot and Pot Lid Storage Ideas1/2/3/4

More kitchen design mood boards:

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March 28, 2014 in Kitchen, Small

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