5 Tips to Maximize Your Kitchen Space

by Christine DemosAugust 2, 2013

Brought to you by our friend Cassity at Remodelaholic.


We all dream of a large, luxurious kitchen where we can gather our family and entertain guests. It’s stylish, well-stocked… and cleans itself, while we’re dreaming! The reality is that not every kitchen is large, but even a small kitchen can feel a bit more luxurious with a few simple touches. Try one of these space-saving ideas for making the most of a small kitchen.

1. Work smart – and small

When space is limited, you need every available inch to work for you. To keep it functional and not just cluttered, use furniture that does double duty. Swap the traditional table and chairs for other space-smart options that also include storage, such as a small island or compact banquette setup, with cubbies built into the base. Try using a small wheeled cart to give you storage that can easily be moved to where you need it — or out of the way when you don’t.

A small kitchen can be made to feel even smaller if the appliances are over-sized. Rather than getting the largest microwave and refrigerator, opt for smaller models that will fit the scale of your kitchen. It might not feel as deluxe, but a smaller oven will be more comfortable — just think quaint. If fridge space is an issue, consider putting an extra fridge or deep freeze a storage or garage area to help keep your household well-stocked.

In the kitchen below, shallow decorative shelves add interest without taking up valuable space. Using these ledges to display beautiful and useful platters would make them both functional and beautiful. The red stool works as both a bit of storage space to set a grocery bag, extra seating, and a stepping stool to reach the upper cabinets.

2. Make it work for you

If you’re renovating your small kitchen, you have the freedom to adjust what isn’t working for you. Larger sections of continuous counter space are more useful, so avoid breaking the countertop up into too many smaller pieces. Consider the traffic flow of the room — are guests continually stumbling over a doorstop or are you perpetually crossing the kitchen to get to the things you use most often? Opening up a doorway or installing a pocket door can save you space. Restructuring or resizing cabinets, such as building small cubbies between the studs, can give your small kitchen a whole new life.

If you’re not ready to take down walls and move cabinets, you can still make your kitchen work for you. Identify problem areas and obstacles and why they aren’t working for your home. The flow of traffic can often be eased by rearranging the contents of your cabinets so that the most often-used items are more easily accessible. If storage space is taken up with appliances or other space hogs that you seldom use, consider moving them to another room with more storage or getting rid of them altogether.

3. Open it up

Open upper cabinets gives depth to the room, making it feel open and light. These shelves can also hold items that traditionally clutter up precious counter space, such as cookbooks or canisters of pantry basics, and make them decorative instead. Open shelves over the sink can be decorative while clearing up the counter clutter by holding things like dish soap and sponges. A plate rack is a space-effective way to hold dinnerware in an elegant display. Paint the backs of the cabinets a fun, light accent color, or leave them white to help enhance the natural light of the room.

If you have window at your sink, a simple shelf using tension rods or brackets can be hung over the sink to add storage without blocking the light, such as in the photo below. A shelf above the window frame can hold less-used china or serving dishes, while framing the window. Triangle brackets under the shelf provide a space to put a drapery rod for curtains.

4. Add color

Nothing livens up a room like color! Install a lively window shade, invest in colorful kitchen linens, or brighten up your back splash with some patterned tile. Consider painting kitchen stools or other furniture a bright cheerful hue. Use open shelving to your advantage by displaying colorful daily dinnerware, a fruit bowl, or potted herbs. Add texture with woven baskets and interest by using clear glass storage for colorful items that you use often, such as pasta or brown sugar.

Choose fun art that fits the style of the room — vintage posters, bold watercolors, inherited artwork, simple wall decals. A memo board or framed corkboard can add to the decor while also providing necessary family organization. A small narrow shelf can both hold art and serve as a spice rack.

Enhance drama in the room large colorful spaces, like the floor and walls. Whether you opt for a more permanent floor option like a painted or tiled pattern, or a renter-friendly and easily changed rug, a fun floor helps open up the space. An bold accent wall like the one below adds intensity to an otherwise tranquil kitchen.

5. Upgrade where you can

Look on the bright side: a small kitchen might have less counter space, but that also means that it costs less to upgrade or replace the countertops! A smaller space also makes it easier to DIY updates and fun details. You can appreciate smaller costs to paint or update cabinets or install a back splash, simply because you’ll have fewer materials to buy.

Lighting a smaller space often requires fewer or smaller fixtures, so you can splurge a bit and get the ones you love without breaking the bank. If your kitchen lacks natural light (especially in a back corner under the cabinets) install a light colored back splash and under-cabinet lighting to brighten the area and help you see your kitchen prep area clearly. While you’re upgrading, swap the single builder-grade sink to a stylish farmhouse sink with a new faucet. Nothing beats feeling like a celebrity while you’re scrubbing dishes!

6. Details create the look of luxury

Upgrading the countertop and sink definitely enhance the luxury appeal of our inspiration kitchen, but small details make a difference, too. Decorated drawer fronts and coordinating cabinet pulls makes the simple square style feel distinctive. Use, full-length newel posts cut in half to define the sink area and add interest to builder-grade cabinets. Add crown molding to the cabinets or open shelves to really create a custom, luxurious feel.

Sometimes, luxury is as simple as a splurge on a nice dish towel, designer soap and hand lotion, or a rug that makes your feet feel amazing even when you are on the tenth load of dishes that day. Remember, luxury is determined by what you love, so make your small kitchen reflect you and soon your friends will be dreaming of your kitchen instead of an enormous designer kitchen!

Cassity is an interior designer, wife, and mother of two. She and her husband have remodeled three homes from top to bottom and are working on their fourth. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby. For great ideas on how to make your builder grade house a custom home, check out her blog Remodelaholic.

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About The Author
Christine Demos
Christine is the Content Marketing Specialist for Homes.com. She's a small town girl at heart, who currently lives in Norfolk, VA with her husband and their fur baby. When she's not working, she enjoys cooking, decorating, traveling, and binge watching Netflix. As a proud Virginia Tech alum, she also loves cheering on the Hokies!