Design Secrets for a Small Kitchen: The Essential Guide

Small Kitchen

Think about how often you use your kitchen, starting early in the morning with breakfast into the evening for dinner. Think about how you use your dream kitchen, to bake cookies for a baked sale and to entertain your friends.

You may feel like your current kitchen doesn’t have space to fit everything you want. A small kitchen doesn’t mean you have to give up style and function. But it does mean you have to approach the design carefully.

Your dream kitchen is possible even in the smallest spaces. This guide on how to design for a small kitchen will help you create the kitchen you’ve always wanted.

Functionality Above Everything Else

Yes, not having a lot of space can easily be claustrophobic and overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be if you know how to design a small kitchen. When you’re low on space, prioritize function over anything else.

Try Using Zones

Designating certain spaces in your kitchen to certain tasks can help keep your space organized. Create areas for prep and cooking, cleaning, and storage for food, cookware, and dinnerware.

Using the zone method can help prevent your space from getting overwhelmed and cluttered. It also helps to make your kitchen more functional, which should be a priority when you’re low on space.

Create Storage

Small kitchens often lack storage. That can lead to food, pots, pans, and plates stacking up and taking up precious room. Add smart and customized storage into your small kitchen.

First, evaluate how you use your kitchen and what you have to store. This will help guide you to the right storage methods for both your lifestyle and your kitchen.

Free Up the Counters

When you have a small kitchen, counters are prized space. You don’t want to clutter them up with appliances, pots, pans, plates, and food. Try to find a space in cabinets or the pantry for anything that may be lingering on your countertops.

The Most Important Rules

As you’re learning how to design a kitchen for a small space, it’s important to keep these rules in mind to ensure your space is both aesthetically pleasing and functional.

Bring in Natural Light

Small kitchens can often look dark and cramped, especially if they’re not in the best location in your home. Combat this by bringing in as much natural light as you can.

If you’re planning to renovate, consider enlarging windows or adding a skylight. And don’t choose window coverings that block the flow of light.

Choose Bright Colors

If you’re working with a small space, you don’t want to decorate in only dark colors. You’ll want to primarily decorate with brighter colors to help make the space appear larger.

But if an all-white kitchen isn’t for you, you can add some darker accents. But try to stay away from dark cabinets or walls that can make a space feel enclosed.

Keep Clutter at Bay

We’ve already discussed the importance of storage and keeping counters clear. But one of the rules of a small kitchen is to minimize clutter. That means cleaning up and putting away as soon as possible. But that also means choosing decor that doesn’t feel too cluttered or overwhelming.

Small Kitchen Design in Different Styles

A small kitchen can take on any style. Think about these interior design ideas for a small kitchen as you look for inspiration for your own home. What is the best design for a small kitchen? One that represents your style and doesn’t get cluttered. 


Contemporary style often means lighter colors and airy neutrals, which already work well with small kitchen designs. Contemporary kitchens often have flat panel cabinet doors and clean lines. The unfussy design allows for a stylish small kitchen.


More traditional design often features warmer wood tones. When using wood over painted cabinets, it’s essential not to go too dark. Instead, opt for lighter shades. When adding adornments, try not to add too many. Shaker-style cabinets can add that traditional touch without too many ornate details.

Adding Color

You don’t only have to use white and neutrals to help make a small kitchen appear more open. Add a little bit of color to create some visual interest. But don’t go overboard, as it can make a small room look overwhelming.

Consider adding color with your backsplash, fixtures and handles, and even your appliances.

Tips From Experts

Interior designers and contractors have worked in the smallest and largest homes. Use their expert advice to help influence your design ideas for a small kitchen.

Consider the Layout First

How your kitchen is laid out will affect how functional it is. Popular layouts for small kitchens include galley, one-wall, and L-shape. Whichever layout you choose for your kitchen, be sure to keep the kitchen triangle in mind.

Use Your Vertical Space

When you don’t have room to expand outwards, move upwards. Vertical space can be a great way to add storage when you’re lacking it. Run your cabinets up to the ceiling when possible. Use shelves on walls to store spices or mugs.

Evaluate Your Appliances

Consider what appliances are necessary and which ones you can do without. Necessary would be items like refrigerators, kitchen sinks TORVA, ovens, and dishwashers. On the counter, you might have a coffee maker, blender, and toaster.

But your crockpot or other items you don’t use often can be put in storage or given away.

How to Design for a Small Kitchen

You’ve probably seen inspiration images while planning your renovation. And they’re probably all large, airy kitchens with lots of unique features. You may think you can’t use any of those for inspiration because your kitchen is much smaller.

But small doesn’t mean your kitchen has to be cramped or lack style. You just have to get creative with your design to fit everything you need. This guide on how to design for a small kitchen gives you the basics you need to get one step closer to your dream kitchen.

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