Essential Design Tricks for Small Kitchens

Within a small kitchen, space is tight. So the priority is organizing your kitchen to make the most of what you have.

Designing a small kitchen doesn’t have to mean suffering from cramped quarters. With some clever design tricks, you can maximize space and make your kitchen feel larger than it actually is. As a result, the desire to spend money on upgrading and remodeling has increased, with Americans spending 15% more in 2020 to create their dream homes.

Follow these tips for designing a small kitchen you’ll fall in love with.


Focus on the Shelving

Shelving is the most important aspect of small kitchens. Space comes at a premium, so anything that can increase that immediate space will enhance your kitchen.

Moreover, shelving can also act as a fun display space. So start filling in those dead spaces with open shelving. Unlike closed shelving, open shelving will not block the light or create unnecessary shadows.

Shelving can go literally anywhere, so get creative. For example, consider building up toward the ceiling or opting for non-standard shelf sizes to fill those little spaces behind the door.

Magnetic shelving is another great option for removing that clunky knife block. It can also be used inside and outside the refrigerator door for those smaller spices and herbs.

Hooks for hanging utensils and perforated shelving for serving dishes are also options you might want to consider. Think about what you want to hang/store and consider how it’ll make your kitchen look. Added shelving makes a terrific aesthetic for smaller kitchens.

Improve the Lighting Quality

Lighting quality is another essential aspect of any good kitchen. Everyone knows that the brighter a room is, the bigger it feels. However, there’s a reason why small, historical kitchens feel so small. They were often deprived of adequate lighting, thus creating an oppressive feel.

It’s one of the reasons why so many modern kitchens are painted white or in other lighter colors. Unfortunately, fitting lighting within a small kitchen means you’re limited in your choices.

If you have the budget, think about creating a skylight or two to let the sunshine in. If that’s outside your budget, opt for some spotlights and task lights on the counter.

One of the trendiest ways to use light is to use lighting pendants—pair two over your primary food prep area and two over the sink for a stylish look. You can find these lights from any home accessory store.

Some cabinets will even have lighting that fits underneath them to create a glow over your countertops.

Hidden Appliances and Utensils

Another of the top trends influencing kitchen designs is the concept of hiding appliances and utensils. Some of the state-of-the-art kitchen suites will have these features built-in with hidden compartments that reveal appliances at the press of a button or the pull of a lever.

For most people, the best option is to get miniature appliances that can be more easily stored away. Appliances that sit out in the open make the space feel smaller. Plus, hiding them away will give your kitchen cleaner lines and a sense of order.

There are plenty of nifty tricks you can employ. For example, opting for pull-out shelves in El Dorado Hills, CA, can dramatically expand your cupboard space.

Avoid the clutter of white goods, and you’ll be surprised at how much more freedom you have in your kitchen.

Open Up Your Kitchen

One of the simplest design tricks for smaller kitchens is to remove the door. Creating an open kitchen that flows into the dining room or living room instantly gives off the illusion of more space.

If you have small children or pets, the idea of an open kitchen may not appeal to you. In this case, consider installing a sliding door instead, so you can open and close your kitchen at will.

A sliding door’s big advantage is instantly gaining more space behind where your previous door was. These areas are perfect for things like the trashcan, the dishwasher, or the refrigerator.

Designer Faucets

In the smaller kitchen, it’s the details that really matter. Choose a designer faucet with great shape, styling, and minimal lines. Enhancing your faucets gives you a focal point that people with larger kitchens may be unable to afford.

Designer faucets are not just designed to look great. Many of them have additional functions like rotating heads, instant hot water, and even spray nozzles.

Configure a Breakfast Bar

Smaller kitchens can rarely accommodate a dining table. During the kitchen designing process, make an effort to put in a small breakfast bar. Stools can be placed underneath the central island when not in use, and if you have a really small kitchen, you can even find breakfast bars that fold up against the wall.

Moreover, breakfast bars don’t need to take away from your available storage space. Many breakfast bars come with in-build cabinets and shelving that can be used for those seldom-used kitchen appliances and utensils.

Utilize Your Vertical Space

Small kitchens may not have much space to spread out in, but they do have plenty of vertical space.

Creating cabinets that go all the way up to the ceiling instantly provides you with more storage. Of course, you can also put things like your dishrack on the wall. Or why not hang your stemware underneath a cabinet just like a bartender?

While you may think that high shelves will make it difficult to access what you need, the key is to put the items you use daily lower down and those occasional utensils up top. It helps to keep what you don’t need out of the way of your daily meal prep.


Designing a small kitchen means you have to think outside the box. Many of the luxury kitchen features you see in magazines won’t be accessible to you. As upsetting as this might be, smaller spaces don’t have to exclude you from having a kitchen space people will envy.

Get some expert advice from an interior designer, or browse the web for some inspirational kitchen ideas.

What are your must-haves in the kitchen?

Image Source: PEXEL

Erin Emanuel