12 Genius Decorating Ideas for Small Kitchens
Work with the existing architecture.
Rather than force traditional upper cabinetry in this centuries-old Spanish kitchen (the entire home is only 460 square feet!), the owners left the stone archway untouched. They implemented small modular furniture and appliances down each side of the narrow cook space, resulting in an earthy kitchen with character and efficiency.
Get it white.
Let a small space gleam by incorporating buckets and buckets of white paint. Here, white walls, rafters, cabinetry, backsplash, and countertops come together in an airy kitchen that belies its small square-footage. A few wooden and wicker elements, such as the pendant lights, cutting board, and oak floating, keep the look from going sterile.
Look to Lucite.
This simple kitchen is a clear winner when it comes to small space smarts. The trio of Lucite barstools streamline the space by eliminating visual clutter. And don’t stop at barstools: Lucite drawer pulls, trays, and, even, paper towel holders can have the same effect.
Play-up the view.
This tiny Cape Cod kitchen (it’s barely five-feet wide!) doesn’t sweat the small stuff. Instead it keeps the décor simple with knotty pine paneling, open shelving, and rope drawer pulls. That simplicity lets the eye focus on the wide-open coastal scenery just beyond the windowsill.
Skirt the situation.
Want to maximize space and add a heaping helping of cottage charm? Consider replacing lower cabinet doors with a skirted covering like the graphic red-and-white stripe shown here. The design trick adds a no-fuss vibe and, more importantly, alleviates the aggravation that can come with opening cabinet doors in a cramped kitchen.
Let the kitchen do double duty.
Merging a kitchen and laundry may be unconventional, but it’s exactly the savvy sort of problem solving that makes small space living work. Here, a washer and dryer are happily situated across from a refrigerator and range. Inky blue paint on the cabinetry and millwork unifies the utilitarian space.
Take the backsplash to the ceiling.
This cute-as-can-be kitchen features graphic coral-and-white tile that goes from the countertop to ceiling’s edge. The enveloping effect creates both height and depth—much needed in the petite cook space.
Opt for miniature appliances.
Appliances are a non-negotiable kitchen feature. To save some precious floor space, consider incorporating a European model, such as the light blue Smeg fridge shown here, which tend to have more compact models.
Say it with accents.
A small kitchen can still have a big personality. Enter this sunny Sullivan’s Island cook space, which, while diminutive, packs a graphic punch with a bevy of blue accents including the speckled quartzite countertop.
Bring on the built-ins.
Look beyond this stylish kitchen’s chic grass cloth wallpaper and brass accents (we know, it’s hard) and you’ll spot an abundance of brilliant built-ins. Taking advantage of every last nook and cranny—the alcoves to the left and right on the bar top, the floor-to-ceiling cabinet to the left of the range, and the over-the-fridge cupboard—make this space pretty and practical.
Carve out a bar—no matter how tiny.
The kitchen is the heart of the home—even if said kitchen is impossibly small. The owners of this cottage kitchen accommodate the inevitable gathering of guests with a unique L-shaped countertop that makes space for two barstools and a serve-yourself drink station.
Anchor with a bold color on lower cabinets.
Yes, all-white spaces appear to live larger than they are. But if you want a dash of color in your small kitchen, consider coating the lower cabinets in a daring (or just plain pretty) shade—a sly way to infuse color without overwhelming. Not quite brave enough to take a paint brush to your cabinetry? You can achieve a similar effect with a rug in vivid-hues.