Everything You Need for Your Small Kitchen Remodel
Do you frequently find yourself running low on counter space? Coming home from the grocery store only to find the cabinets are full? In areas like Los Angeles, where real estate comes at a premium, more and more families are looking for ways to improve the look and functionality of their small kitchen. Whether you’re living in a tiny home, a studio apartment, or a cozy cabin, there are dozens of small kitchen ideas that could work for you!
Without further ado, here are 60 of our biggest small kitchen remodel tips!
Stylish Studio Space
When you’re living in a studio apartment, particularly units where the kitchen spills into the living spaces, consider adding dividers. In this unit, the tenants created a sense of separation between the kitchen and the rest of the apartment. Their choice of floor to ceiling glass dividers was perfect for their space. These dividers provided the separation they were looking for without making their small kitchen feel even smaller.
As you’re decorating a smaller space, you’ll find that a little bit of flair goes a long way. In fact, it’s easy for certain colors to feel overwhelming. Consider using accent colors, like the green used in this studio, in order to brighten up a clean, minimalist space.
One of the simplest and most cost-effective small kitchen design ideas is to transition to cabinets with no visible handles. Although this look tends to blend well with more modern designs, it’s not just about the aesthetic appeal! When you’re rushing around the kitchen with another person, it’s easy to get caught on cabinet handles or to bump into them without thinking. Handle-free cabinets provide a seamless look, as well as a few more precious inches of clear walking space.
Country Without Clutter
Designing the perfect small kitchen isn’t just about a single room. It’s also about the spaces that surround the kitchen. In this home, they’ve added a twist to a more traditional country-style design. Using blue paint on the walls, as well as similar blue accents on the dining table and in surrounding areas, helps to visually carry a single aesthetic throughout the home.
Don’t like the look of open concept kitchens or simply prefer a more clear separation between rooms? Consider adding a wall cutout. Cutouts allow for more visibility between rooms, which makes spaces feel wider. However, because it’s only a cutout, you’ll be able to maintain the separation between spaces.
We love this next space-saving trick! When you’re running low on cabinet space, installing a rack for hanging utensils can make all the difference. In this case, this utensil rack keeps necessary tools within easy reach without cluttering up the countertops or drawers.
There’s a reason that drawer-organizers are on every list of small kitchen ideas! When space is limited, you have to be careful how you use it. In addition to keeping everything in easy reach, drawer organizers have the added benefit of visually limiting the space. We’ve all had moments where we found ourselves unable to open a drawer because something is jammed inside it. Drawer organizers make it easy to see what you have room for, and a little less tempting to shove in just one more item.
Classic Meets City
Love the look of statement pieces but feel like there’s no room in your small kitchen? When most of your wall space is consumed by cabinets and shelving, it can feel impractical to integrate the grand statement items that many of us love. Fortunately, statement lighting (like this chandelier) offers a big visual impact without taking up valuable, usable space!
Although black countertops may require a big commitment to cleaning, they’re also a great way to elevate the look of your space. Adding a coat of glossy black makes any countertop material feel more modern and often makes cost-conscious materials look more expensive, which can be a great asset during the remodel process.
This small kitchen design is a fantastic example of embracing the available space. The countertops fit neatly into even the more difficult corners of the room. If you’re looking to increase cooking space, consider custom cabinets and countertops. These allow you to work around existing structures, rather than tearing them down.
Retro Diner Flair
While it may not be for everyone, these red cabinets are an inspired decision that brings bright, lively color into a space. This image also illustrates an important small kitchen design principle! When you’re working with a small space, you should feel free to take chances and make daring design designs. This kitchen represents only a small portion of the home, but it’s very visually interesting, and it allowed the family to integrate the diner-style look they loved without committing to a full remodel.
As impactful as the red cabinets are, they wouldn’t be nearly as impressive without the contrasting checkerboard backsplash. Installing a contrasting tile backsplash is a great, cost-effective design trick. Most backsplash tile is not only reasonably priced, but it is also easy to clean!
With a space this small, there’s not much room for big appliances. Fortunately, most kitchens can spare a bit of space for a countertop stove! These stoves are fantastic tools for all kinds of cooking, and they can also be very stylish when matched with the overall design.
Just Hanging Around
With most shelving units, you’re limited to the space on top. However, savvy cooks know that by adding a simple magnetic strip to the bottom of a shelf, you’ll be able to hang things from the bottom as well. This is space that would normally be wasted. In order to preserve the aesthetic appeal, we recommend using matching storage containers for a unified feel.
Rustic Loft Living
In this kitchen, the space between the counter and the wall was too small for a large appliance, like a refrigerator, Fortunately, stacking cabinets can be a great way to add storage and make use of available space. With just a small step ladder and a bit of cabinet customization, a previously unused spot can become vital storage! (Plus, you could always add a few baskets of items on top of the highest cabinet!)
Open shelving requires you to be a bit more space-conscious, but it also means that everything is in easy reach! By storing less frequently used items on the highest shelf, you’ll be able to make the most of every inch of available space.
Kitchen design should be fun, and this kitchen is a great balance of practical function and whimsy. The staggered hanging lights add visual appeal and a beautiful warm glow when turned on. Additionally, the black accent wall is a fun twist on the rest of the kitchen design!
Minimalist Color Pop
Think you’re too messy to maintain an accent color? Consider a colorpop wall! When combined with beautiful, sleek, minimalist design, a colorpop wall is a great way to bring a bit of playful fun into your small kitchen design.
Depending on whether you’re renting or own your home, you may have limited options when it comes to window placement. However, if you have the freedom to add a window, it can become a beautiful focal point for your small kitchen. In addition to bringing in natural light, windows can make small spaces feel less cramped.
Although some small kitchens can benefit from dividers (see: Stylish Studio Space), others benefit from more subtle separations. This open concept kitchen is still fairly small, but it doesn’t feel cramped because of the lack of walls separating it from the hallway. Instead, the division between rooms is established by the flooring. For this space, the owners chose a practical, easy-to-clean tile flooring and a stylish hardwood for the living areas.
Bigger on the Inside
For decades, families have been adding lazy susans to their kitchen cabinetry. When you think about all the benefits, this move makes perfect sense! Clever cabinet solutions that rotate or expand outward are a great way to make use of every inch of space. (Bonus points if you can add cabinets to a previously solid kitchen island!)
Black Tie Statement
If you remember coloring on the walls as a kid, you’ll love this kitchen trend! Blackboard walls are incredibly unique. They draw the eye and provide a lovely backdrop for different kinds of shelving and hanging utensils. (Plus, with a bit of chalk, you can use the board as a handy space to write down a grocery list or a sweet note to your partner!)
Found yourself with a kitchen that just spills right into the hall? Embrace the transition with some color coordinated decor and art. In this case, the black and white photos look classic and elegant on the white brick wall, but they clearly tie into the color scheme of the kitchen.
One of the biggest modern design trends is reclaimed wood. This trend is great for small kitchens because raw materials can be expensive, and they take time to install. When you’re dealing with limited square footage, reclaimed wood is the perfect material to add character and life to your style.
Can’t start the day without your morning caffeine jolt? We know the feeling! Unfortunately, large traditional coffee makers take up precious counter space, and their electrical cord is often bulky, hard to hide, and downright unattractive. If you have a bit of extra space in your bedroom or the living room, consider downsizing to a Keurig, Nespresso or single-serving coffee maker of your choice. These appliances are compact enough to fit on a small table, and they all tend to present a modern aesthetic.
Comfy Cottage Kitchen
Double Duty Stools
We absolutely love the look of these stools! With only a few inches of extra space, you can use low bar stools on one side of your kitchen island to create a seating area. The height of these stools is great because they’re functional but not taller than the island, which makes the room feel bigger.
Sometimes the most impactful remodel isn’t about creating the greatest change. In the case of small kitchens designs, one frequently used strategy is to integrate the materials and design concepts used in other areas of the house. In this case, these cottage owners opted to create a kitchen island out of the same material as other areas of the home. As a result, the kitchen has an updated look without feeling out of place.
Small but Mighty
Blown away by the tiny house trend? You’re probably wondering how this space looks so inviting. Designing a tiny house means paying close attention to visual details. This space looks wider because the wood walls are running horizontally, which guides the eye. Additionally, the space is filled with windows of different shapes and sizes. The windows invite sunlight, create depth in the home, and make the space feel wider.
In larger kitchens, it may be possible to fit everything in drawers and cabinets. In this tiny kitchen, the windowsill has been transformed into a storage ground for spice containers. Even when you need to store things in unconventional places, matching containers like those used here will bring a unified look to things.
Sometimes, owning a tiny kitchen just comes down to prioritization. In this case, the owners replaced some of the cabinetry with a high powered dishwasher. Although this decision reduced storage space, it was the right call for their lifestyle. In a tiny house, clutter becomes immediately obvious. If you’re lacking the space for a major appliance, consider whether it’s worth the loss of storage to have it installed.
Tasty and Tasteful
Running out of space to store your favorite wines? Reimagine your wine bottles as drinkable art with a simple, geometrical interesting wine rack. Not only do you have easy access to your collection, but you’ll also be able to make use of an empty wall and hopefully free up precious kitchen space.
Galley Kitchen Glory
Flora & Fauna Infusion
Whether you’re a lover of plants or you struggle to keep a cactus alive, there’s a flora solution for you! These plants are a mixture of real and artificial, but they’re all equally beautiful. Before adding plant life to your kitchen, consider whether you can commit to keeping them alive and whether they can get enough sunlight.
Embrace Existing Structure
In this galley kitchen, you can see that the owners have chosen to work with the structure rather than against it. Although galley kitchens have fallen out of fashion, they can be functional and beautiful with a little bit of effort. For example, you can see that this family created custom cabinets above the refrigerator to make the most of their space. Additionally, the small dining table can be used as a place to eat or as an additional prep surface when cooking big meals.
Add Some Comfort
While sleek kitchen tile flooring is extremely easy to clean, it can also be cold against your feet in the mornings, and it can make the kitchen space feel sterile. Even a simple change, like adding the small grey rug you see above, can make the space feel more lived in. (Plus, it’s warmer on bare feet!)
Cooking and Collectibles
Many current small kitchen owners remember growing up in sprawling kitchens. Our parents and grandparents likely had personal items and art all around the room. If you’re missing some of that feeling, consider wall inserts. Although they could be used for storage, the owners are using these inserts to display plants, important items, and collectibles. This is a great way to incorporate your personality into a design.
Frosted Glass Install
Noticed those frosted glass doors on the right wall? Believe it or not, those cabinets used to be open shelving! By replacing them with the frosted glass cabinets, the owners were able to maintain the same amount of storage space without detracting from the art they wanted to display. Frosted glass is a great tool for deflecting the eye away from areas that are prone to clutter, like these dish cabinets.
When selecting a color for accent walls or cabinets, consider color cues. If you’re trying to communicate a specific message or tone with your kitchen design, look for a color that complements that intention. For example, people automatically associate the color yellow with sunshine and cheerful interactions. Therefore, if you wanted to design a playful and fun kitchen, you might integrate yellow wherever possible. In this kitchen, the owners chose burgundy for the beautiful, classic coloration and the sense of elegance they felt it conveyed.
Exposed shelves aren’t for everyone, but they certainly pack a stylish punch when they’re done well! In addition to adding storage options for corners and walls that would otherwise be empty, they can make any room look a bit more modern. In order to make the most of open shelving, you’ll need to commit to a unified storage look and to fairly frequently cleaning. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also add small lighting fixtures beneath the shelves, as shown above. (Just remember, the lights will draw attention to the shelves, even when you forget to tidy up!)
Creative and Impactful
If you’re looking for a unique style and you have a limited number of cabinets, consider having them customized. Whether you’re adding your own glossy photo or pattern, customization is a great option for small kitchens. The benefit of limited space is that customization can be cost-effective in the long run.
Many people are adapting subway tile as their backsplash of choice. Before you select a tile, consider something with a smaller pattern. This delicate backsplash is a great accompaniment to the rest of the space, and it creates the impression that the room is larger than it is due to the difference in relative scale.
In addition to custom cabinets, you may also consider investing in customized appliances. This miniature oven is a great tool to have on hand. By selecting a smaller size, the homeowners were able to make the most of their available space without compromising on function.
Colorful, Unconventional Placement
While some people may see the lack of space as a disadvantage, we think small kitchens are a chance to get more creative with your appliance placement. If your kitchen barely has room for the essentials, consider getting colorful, compact versions of major appliances. Although this mint fridge is technically in the living area, it’s actually an efficient use of space when the rest of the kitchen is considered.
Fantasy Forest Living
Although wallpaper briefly fell out of fashion, the product is in the middle of a renaissance. Wallpaper is an inexpensive way to get creative with your space. These owners used a forest pattern to tie into their wood cabinetry and color scheme. As you can see here, wallpaper can also ease the visual transition between rooms, such as between the kitchen and living room.
Adding visual interest to your cabinets can be as simple as transitioning between material. In this kitchen, many of the cabinets were created using a seamless, vertical wood grain material. On the opposite wall, the cabinets are sleek and white. The styles of both cabinets work together to unify the space.
When space is limited, it’s important to be able to move around as freely as possible. If you’re going to introduce dining furniture into your small kitchen, take note of this example! The dining furniture beautifully matches the rest of the kitchen and living room, but it is also lightweight. This table and chairs can easily be moved to make room for multiple cooks, or to add more chairs on the other side of the table. As you’re shopping for furniture for your small kitchen, consider the amount of flexibility you’ll want!
Modern, Understated Style
Kitchen Island Storage
If your kitchen island doesn’t provide storage, it’s probably time for a redesign! In small kitchens, everything should be as functional as possible. Although you’ll mostly use the island for cooking, it’s a good idea to ensure you have more built-in storage, as was done here.
Blush wood has recently come into fashion due to its ability to elevate the look of a space. The soft rosy hue makes this kitchen feel warm and inviting, despite its size. The blush color scheme is particularly effective because the owners integrated it into the lighting fixtures as well. This top to bottom unity of color creates a sense of cohesion.
Noticed the oven in the left corner of the photo? If you prefer a minimalist, understated look, consider matching the paneling of your cabinets to that of the rest of your appliances. This strategy works well in the kitchen pictured here because the paneling preserves the clean lines of the rest of the design.
Look to the Skies
Worried you don’t have room to incorporate style and fun into your small kitchen design? Turn your attention to the ceiling! These geometric plant hangers are visually interesting and can add some greenery to even the tightest space! Whether you fill your hangers with plants, art, lights, or something else – it is completely unique to you!
Final Thoughts on Small Kitchen Design
As you may have noticed, those are only 49 design ideas. We hope that by now you’re already thinking about the changes you’d like to make to your own kitchen. Whether you’re planning a serious remodel or a bit of sprucing up, our final eleven small kitchen remodel tips will help you bring your vision to life!
Do Your Research
Before you commit to any big (or small) kitchen changes, be sure to do some research to discover what you like. Reading this article is a great start! Your process may involve making a list of the tools you use most frequently in the kitchen or a wish list of appliances you’d like to have. During the inspiration stage, you’re free to dream big and bold.
Consider Alternative Inspiration
After a few hours of scrolling through kitchen inspiration photos, you may find that the images start to look the same. If you’re searching for some out-of-the-box ideas, check out international architecture styles! You may find your next great idea in crisp Scandinavian design or in the sophistication of Parisian flats.
Keep Basic Design Principles in Mind
Your kitchen may be small, but it is still governed by basic design principles. Consider reading some articles on interior design to see if there are any tips you can incorporate into the remodel. For example, high gloss paints can make a space feel larger. Using this knowledge, you might add a coat of gloss to existing cabinets and find that it completely transforms the room.
Identify an Aesthetic
If you’re planning to hire professional help for your small kitchen design, it’s especially important that you understand what exactly you’re looking for. We’ve worked with dozens of people who wanted to remodel, but they couldn’t articulate the look they wanted. This makes the process more difficult for everyone. Whether your style is modern, classic or minimalist – the experts will be more useful when you know what you want. Websites like Wayfair can be particularly helpful. They allow you to browse items by style, which can help you envision a unified small kitchen aesthetic.
Evaluate the Space
Once you’ve got an idea in mind, start taking measurements of the space. This information will be extremely helpful at other stages in the process. If you’re planning to make big changes to a space that you’re renting, we also suggest reviewing your lease or consulting with your landlord.
Do Your Spring Cleaning
If you’re like most people, it’s probably been a while since you last cleaned the kitchen. Before beginning your project, set aside some time to do a thorough sweep of the kitchen. This is a great opportunity to sell or donate items you’re not using in order to free up storage space.
Consider Vintage and Upcycled Products
Think a remodel means committing to dozens of expensive new products? Think again! Your remodel can always include older pieces. In fact, you can find some great options at thrift stores and markets. Be on the lookout for pieces like moveable kitchen islands, which you can often grab for a steal.
Create (& Stick to!) Your Budget
During the inspiration stage, anything goes! When it comes to remodel budgeting, it’s time to be realistic. Take the time to honestly evaluate how much you can afford to spend on the project. Depending on the scale of work involved, you may be working with a general contractor. Good contractors will be sure to sit down with you about the available budget to make sure they can complete the project under those parameters.
Be Honest About Time Commitment
It can be difficult to gauge our ability to complete home improvement projects, but it’s important to try to make an estimate. Remodeling, especially of the do-it-yourself variety, can be a significant time investment. If you regularly work 60-hour weeks, you may want to splurge on a professional general contractor.
Start Your Engines
Whether you’re completing the project yourself or working with a contractor, you’ll want to settle on a start date and stick to it. Following through on your plan is the best way to make sure your project is completed on time and on budget.
Enjoy Your New Look
Congratulations on your remodel! After you’ve completed your work, consider sharing pictures of your new space on social media. As you know, many potential remodelers take inspiration from photos online, and your success could inspire others to take a chance on a remodel.
We hope you enjoyed this guide. Did we miss any of your favorite small kitchen design tips? Let us know in the comments!