10 Smart Small Kitchen Ideas

Small kitchens can be challenging. Especially when you love to cook and entertain. It’s easy to feel the walls caving in when you have a few cabinets open and the pot is about to boil over and your kids are asking when dinner will be ready.

Before you do something rash — like throw a spatula across the room — consider some of our small kitchen ideas to turn that chaotic space into a peaceful, feng shui culinary oasis.

1. Let The Sun Shine In

Natural light has a way of opening a space up. If you’re lucky enough to have a variety of windows in your kitchen, take advantage of it! If you don’t, consider adding in some kitchen lighting with bright LED lights to mimic mother nature.

2. Go With A Small Kitchen Table

If you simply can’t go without a kitchen table, at least opt for one that is a bit more compact. You can still read the paper with your morning cup of joe without taking up a bunch of space. Here are some of our favorite small kitchen tables:

Farmhouse Breakfast Table

farmhouse breakfast table

Contemporary Small Kitchen Table

contemporary small kitchen table

Small Farmhouse-Style Kitchen Table

Small Farmhouse-Style Kitchen Table

Wood And Metal Drop-Leaf Table

Wood And Metal Drop-Leaf Table

Small Table With Hideaway Benches

Small Table With Hideaway Benches

3. Take Advantage Of Wall Space

kitchen wall
Ellen Auer / Unsplash

As with small bathrooms and small laundry rooms, the key to optimizing your space is taking advantage of wall space. In the kitchen, you can add floating shelves to store spices and cookbooks. Hooks are handy for hanging tools, pots, and pans.

4. Consider A Roll Away Island

In a larger kitchen, islands can add additional counter space and offer a place for your guests to sit while you cook. On the other hand, in smaller kitchens, an island can get in the way and take up floor space you need to, well, move around.

Get the best of both worlds with a roll-away island. Roll it into the kitchen when you need a bit more prep space, and move it back into the dining room when it’s not in use. Here are some of our favorite roll-away kitchen islands.

Foldable Kitchen Island

Small Kitchen Cart

Black Kitchen Cart

black kitchen cart

Natural Wood Kitchen Cart

natural wood kitchen cart

Granite Top Kitchen Cart

granite top kitchen cart

5. Functional, Not Frivolous Cabinets

Do you ever walk into a kitchen and think about how silly that corner cabinet is? And how you’d never find the right things to put in it? When you’re working in a small kitchen, you can use all the space you can get. But why add a cabinet that isn’t functional?

If you’re doing a whole kitchen reno, consider adding cabinets that you’ll actually use rather than small, awkward shaped ones that’ll stay empty. They’re a waste of space!

5. Add A Pop Of Color

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Compact but character-filled, this tiny u-shaped @finchlondon kitchen stands out from the crowd with scallop tiles, pastel coloured cabinets and open shelving 💥

A post shared by Houzz UK and Ireland (@houzzuk) on

Whether you choose to add a wallpaper accent wall or an eye-catching backsplash, a pop of color will make your space feel brighter and bigger.

6. Store Small Appliances

Small appliances are the enemy in the war of open counter space. Stand mixers, toaster ovens, instant pots, air fryers, the list is endless! But if you aren’t using these appliances regularly, then why let them take up precious countertop real estate?

Find a dedicated place to store them (other than your countertop) such as at the bottom of the pantry, on a roll-away island, or in an upper cupboard that you aren’t using.

7. Relieve Your Kitchen Of Clutter With A Baker’s Rack

Perhaps you have space in your dining room that could alleviate some of the clutter in your small kitchen. A baker’s rack provides additional storage outside of your small kitchen. Baker’s racks can be simple and functional or elaborate. Pick what will suit your space best. Check out some of our favorite baker’s racks below.

Barnhouse Style Baker’s Rack

Barnhouse Style Baker’s Rack

Basic Wood and Chrome Baker’s Rack

Basic Wood and Chrome Baker’s Rack

Sleek Baker’s Rack

Sleek Baker’s Rack

Baker’s Rack With Storage

bakers rack with storage

Dome Style Baker’s Rack With Wine Storage

Dome Style Baker’s Rack With Wine Storage

8. Go Light And Bright

Mikael Cho / Unsplash

Dark paint, cabinetry, and accessories only make your small kitchen feel smaller. Consider adding a fresh coat of light paint to your walls to open up your space. Plus, sleek, all-white kitchens are definitely in right now.

9. Declutter and Downsize

It’s time to face the facts: You have a small kitchen, and you probably don’t need all the kitchen gear that you have. Take a note from the ever-charming Marie Kondo of Netflix’ Tidying Up and keep only those kitchen items that you need. Trust us, you don’t need 20 bowls.

10. Hang Up Pots and Pans

pots and pans

Pots and pans can take up a ton of space in your cabinets. They’re large, don’t always nest together well, and their long handles make storing things around them a pain. If you have an excess of vertical space, consider installing a good old-fashioned hanging pots and pans rack.

Written by Leigha Staffenhagen

Leigha Staffenhagen is our managing editor. When she isn’t writing and editing for Insteading, she’s reading, going to Mariners games, practicing yoga, tap dancing, weeding in her grandma's garden beds, and attempting to grow her own apartment garden.

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