Helping you plan your home improvement project, from start to finish

11 Small Kitchen Ideas That Make A Big Difference

By on Jan 14, 2016
11 Small Kitchen Ideas That Make A Big Difference

Get up to 4 Free Quotes!

Zip Code

You love cooking shows and you wish you could cook like a top chef. Ideally, your kitchen should be big enough to accommodate a variety of appliances, not to mention, a huge island that allows you to prepare meals with your significant other and children. However, given that the average home size is shrinking, your kitchen is probably more like a cramped nightmare.

Don’t let your small kitchen limit your culinary dreams. There are tons of small kitchen design ideas that can make your tiny kitchen more efficient and look bigger. Check out some of my favorite ideas and learn how to make the most of your small kitchen.

Once you're ready for a change, click here to connect with reliable kichen contractors near you!

Table of Contents

  1. Keep Work Triangle In Mind
  2. Go With White
  3. Brighten It Up
  4. Add The Illusion Of More Space
  5. Install Glass Doors For Upper Cabinets
  6. Put Baskets Above The Cabinets
  7. Choose Compact Appliances
  8. Reduce Visual Weight With Open Shelving
  9. Store On The Wall
  10. Maximize Storage With A Pullout Pantry
  11. Use A Rolling Cart As Your Island

Keep Work Triangle In Mind

The kitchen work triangle may sound like a cliché. Yet, we can’t deny how helpful the concept is when it comes to enhancing the workflow in a small kitchen. The work triangle connects your three main work areas—the sink, stove and refrigerator. The distance between any two should be two easy steps. This layout allows you to keep your major appliances in an efficient work zone, making cooking a much easier task in your small kitchen.

Don’t know how to set up your work triangle? Talk to some local pros.

Go With White

Small Kitchens White

Get up to 4 Free Quotes!

Zip Code

An all-white kitchen can create an illusion of roominess, as it offers a seamless transition from walls to floors. Of course, not everyone appreciates the clean look of white. To add interest to a plain white kitchen, try to mix and match different textures or shades of white within your accessories.

Crave bold colors in your kitchen? Just follow one rule: give your walls, floors and finishes the same color palette to prevent color overload.

Brighten It Up

Small Kitchens Lighting

No matter which color palette you finally go with, your kitchen should get as much light as possible. Sufficient lighting will make a small kitchen feel spacious. If you can, install a large window with simple treatments to make the most of the natural light.

Besides natural lighting, consider adding under-cabinet lights to brighten up your shadowy countertops. This way, your cramped kitchen will become more functional and attractive.

Add The Illusion Of More Space

Small Kitchens Mirror

We all know that mirrors can double a room’s visual size, so why not use mirrors as your backsplashes? Mirrored backsplashes help reflect the light, the view and open up your space. The only downside is that you have to clean it regularly to maintain the clean look.

Sound like a great addition in your kitchen? See the installation cost of mirrored backsplashes in your area.

Install Glass Doors For Upper Cabinets

Small kitchens Glass Cabinet Doors

Another way to make your small kitchen look bigger is to replace your solid cabinet doors with glass ones. Glass cabinet doors not only give your cabinetry a lighter look, but also lead your eyes into the depth of the cabinets. Using this trick will make your small kitchen seem visually airy.

Since you can see everything in your cabinets, make sure you tidy up your glassware or dishware. Clutter makes your tiny space even smaller.

Put Baskets Above The Cabinets

Small Kitchens Baskets

Do you have empty space between the top of your cabinets and the ceiling? While many homeowners hate the awkward space, small kitchen owners should see it as a potential storage space. You can store your seasonal kitchen appliances to free up your counter space. To avoid dusty and cluttered problems, use baskets that can fit in the space.

Choose Compact Appliances

Small Kitchens Appliances

Just because you have a small kitchen doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on essential kitchen appliances. Appliance manufacturers are now offering all sorts of compact appliances to work with any tiny space. Even if a slim refrigerator can't fit in your kitchen, you still have some other options, such as an under-counter fridge.

To add extra workspace, you can install an electric cooktop that can double as a countertop. Or, hang your microwave underneath cabinets to yield more counter space. Both tactics are effective when it comes to streamlining a small kitchen.

Reduce Visual Weight With Open Shelving

Small Kitchens Shelves

If your kitchen is rather small, consider installing open shelves instead of cabinets. Compared to upper cabinets, open shelving is less bulky. Its streamlined look helps provide the illusion of a more expensive space. Moreover, open shelves allow you to show off your favorite collections. This is a great chance to add some pops of color and personalities to your small kitchen.

Store On The Wall

Small Kitchens Rack

Don’t waste any usable wall space. Your counter is a valuable work area in your small kitchen. You should save the space for cooking preparation and avoid storing any kitchen utensils on the surface. Go for a wall-mounted rack to hang your pots. Also, try to install a small curtain rod near your pot rack so you can keep your lids within reach.

Looking for space to store your knifes? A magnetic strip on the wall will come in handy. 

Maximize Storage With A Pullout Pantry

Small kitchens Pullout Pantry

Believe it or not, your small kitchen can store more than you think. Check the side of your refrigerator. In most cases, you will find a four to 10 inch gap between the refrigerator and the wall. Make use of the space by installing a large pullout pantry. It’s a great idea for storing canned goods and spices that usually take up too much cabinet space.

Use A Rolling Cart As Your Island

Small Kitchens Rolling Cart

No room for an island? Go for a rolling cart that can do double duty instead. For example, a rolling cart with a butcher block top will give you additional storage space as well as an extra prep area. You can even use it as a buffet table and move it around your house when hosting a dinner party. Most importantly, when it’s not in use, just put it away to save precious square footage.


Ready to remodel your small kitchen? Whether you’re looking for a kitchen overhaul or just a few easy updates, you can find local kitchen contractors at ImproveNet.

Get up to 4 Free Quotes!

Zip Code
2016 JDR Industry Blogger Award Winner for Best Microblog

You've spent some time with us! How about sharing the love in a Google review? Leave us a review