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Do you feel boxed in by your kitchen? Like there simply isn’t enough room to cook, bake, and entertain? You’re not alone, especially if your house was built more than five or ten years ago.

Kitchens were not designed for the way many families now use them – as the hub of the house. The good news is that there is plenty you can do to update and maximize your kitchen design for small spaces and make it more functional for you and your family. Check out our tips from small storage hacks to major renovation ideas and get inspired to transform your space.

Quick Fix Kitchen Ideas for Small Spaces

These small changes can make a big difference in the functionality and style of your kitchen, even if you don’t have a lot of time or money to spend.

Prioritize Your Needs

You may not be able to fit all of the same bells and whistles of a spacious kitchen in your space, which means prioritizing is crucial. In any small kitchen design, the cabinets and counters should only house pantry items and small appliances you use daily or weekly.

Consider the main activities in your kitchen and then allocate your space accordingly. You never use your dining table (that seats eight) but could use more space for baking equipment? Trade the dining room table for something smaller and add a sideboard with plenty of hidden storage. Making these swaps will help you personalize your kitchen to your family and get the most out of your space.

Keep it Clean & Organized

Even a spacious kitchen will look small if it’s cluttered and messy. Keeping your space clean and organized is key to making it feel larger and function better.

Start with a seasonal deep cleaning:

  • Throw away expired pantry goods
  • Deep clean your appliances inside and out
  • Wipe out all cabinets
  • Assess your small appliances and donate, sell, or give away anything you don’t use

A kitchen with a custom range hood and spacious island.

Getting your kitchen clean in the first place isn’t easy, but keeping it clean is even more difficult. It helps to create a daily tidying routine that includes:

  • Washing all dishes and putting them away
  • Wiping down counters and cabinet/appliance handles
  • Cleaning off your stove or cooktop
  • Spraying down your sink (especially if you have a garbage disposal)

Improve the Storage You Have

One of the easiest ways to make the most of a small kitchen design is to improve and maximize your storage options. There are endless tricks to organize your kitchen, but here are a few of our favorites:

  • Use the backs of cabinets to house pot lids, measuring spoons, and more
  • Add vertical dividers to store baking sheets, frying pans, and other thin items
  • Purchase risers for cabinets to store plates and bowls more efficiently
  • Use can holders or racks to organize canned goods and drinks
  • Buy an organizer to tidy your plastic meal prep and leftover containers once and for all

Perhaps our favorite kitchen idea for small spaces is to decant pantry items into clear jars or containers with labels. They look great, help you find items quickly, and since they are all the same size and shape, they can eliminate lots of dead space in your cabinets that normal food packaging cannot.

A small bar area added to the side of a kitchen adds space and functionality.

Utilize Storage Outside of Your Kitchen

Our last simple tip for an optimized small kitchen design is to borrow space from other areas in your home. If your kitchen cabinets are getting crowded, consider storing your dishes and serving ware in a sideboard or other piece in your dining room. The same goes for drinks and barware – could they be housed on a cart in the living room? And perhaps seasonal items and special occasion pieces are better stored with other holiday decorations.

These small changes can suddenly open up several cabinets worth of space. By being critical of what you store in your kitchen, you can ensure that there is room for all of the essentials you use regularly.

Small Kitchen Design Ideas That Require Renovation

In addition to making small changes to maximize your storage and create a more organized kitchen, there are more significant updates you can make with the help of a kitchen designer. These changes will take more time and money, but are well worth the investment once you see your transformed kitchen.

Don’t Be Afraid of Color

Many homeowners feel that small spaces have to be bright and neutral. And while it’s definitely an option, it’s not the only option for a functional kitchen design. When used correctly, color can create contrast and actually make a room appear larger. It can separate and define unique spaces or simply add a touch of personality to make your small space feel totally you.

White cabinets with a dark island make this kitchen feel spacious yet cozy.

Remodel With Innovative Cabinets 

Cabinets used to be one size fits all, but over the years they have improved to be completely custom to your needs and space. While there are some cabinet gadgets and organizational systems that can be added to existing cabinetry, some of the most innovative options require a cabinet remodel.

Here are a few of our favorite cabinet modifications for small kitchen design:

  • Shallow toe kick drawers for baking sheets and rarely used items
  • Adjustable cabinet shelves that make room for every pantry staple and appliance
  • Drawers instead of traditional lower cabinets for easier access
  • Toe kick drawers or custom cabinets for pet food and water bowls that can clutter your floor space

Choose the Right Appliances

Appliances take up a large percentage of your kitchen space, so it’s important to choose kitchen appliances carefully. They also seem to get bigger every year, so it can be difficult to find appliances (especially refrigerators) to fit a smaller kitchen. Opting for a counter-depth refrigerator can maximize room to move around in your kitchen. And, if you keep your fridge organized, you’ll never notice the small difference in square footage.

Add a Pantry

Pantries provide tons of hidden storage space for anything that doesn’t fit in a cabinet or that you don’t want sitting out on your counters. While adding a pantry can feel like a huge undertaking, it can make a massive difference in the look and feel of your kitchen, as it provides significantly more storage capacity than a cabinet. And sometimes, it’s as simple as adding a door in your kitchen wall to steal a cabinet from a neighboring room. A professional kitchen designer can help you discover the best solution to get the most bang for your buck.

Rethink Your Layout

Hands down the best way to maximize space in your small kitchen is to remodel and create a more functional kitchen layout for your space. If you have an older kitchen, the designer likely didn’t plan for your air fryer, your drink fridge, or perhaps even your dishwasher. 

Small kitchen design these days is much more intentional, with ideas and innovative ways to make use of every inch of storage and counter space. By reassessing your space with your specific needs in mind, a designer can help you make the most of your space.

Hire an Expert

An accredited kitchen designer with years of experience can help you visualize your space in ways you never imagined. What you saw as a tiny, cramped kitchen can quickly become the space of your dreams with the help of a designer’s eye.

Ready to transform your kitchen into a space that perfectly suits your family’s needs? Kitchens by Eileen can help. Contact us for a free consultation!