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Small-Kitchen Decorating Ideas to Make Your Space Feel Bigger

tartanparty/ Shutterstock
tartanparty/ Shutterstock

Bigger is not always better, especially when we’re talking kitchens. Small kitchens are usually more efficient workspaces than large ones. Space and good design aren’t exclusive to a large kitchen — all you need are some good small kitchen design ideas that keep your small space organized, functional and beautiful.

If you can organize your kitchen, you can organize your life. — Louis Parrish

We’ve put together some modern small kitchen ideas that tackle the following issues with good design solutions. The three most common small-kitchen complaints are clutter, lack of counter space, and a dark kitchen.

MONNKA/ Shutterstock


Clutter is usually a side effect of not having enough storage. Often, more storage isn’t the solution — simplifying and decluttering your kitchen is. Go through your cabinets and drawers (especially the back) and donate or toss anything that you haven’t used for a while. Ask yourself if you really need a cherry-pitting tool or an egg slicer. Once you’ve cleared the cabinets, clear the counters by storing the items that cause visual clutter.

Africa Studio/ Shutterstock

Lack of Counter Space

You’ve reclaimed some counter space, but do you still feel like it’s not enough? That’s a common issue. We have ideas for maximizing (and even adding) more counter space to your small kitchen, including a trick for turning your sink into a cutting board (pictured above).

alexandre zveiger/ Shutterstock

A Dark Kitchen

Dark rooms feel smaller, so brighten up your walls with a fresh coat of paint in a light shade. If you love your rich, dark cabinets, add different types of lighting. Use under-cabinet lighting to brighten the work area and accent your cabinets. Good lighting makes a kitchen look bigger, regardless of color. Try some of the following lighting ideas:

  • Add LED strip lights to shelves and under your cabinets to illuminate your counter space; simply peel, stick and plug in.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with the latest energy-efficient versions.
  • Choose pendant lights that can be clipped onto existing track-lighting systems to layer your room’s lighting.
  • Replace outdated light fixtures.
  • Add a mirror to a kitchen wall or consider adding a mirrored backsplash to reflect light.
  • Brighten the walls: For a quick small kitchen remodel, consider painting your walls in light greens, blues or pale yellows. Then, make the cabinet doors and walls all one color. As our eyes rove over a room, consistent colors can actually make a room look larger than it is, whereas abrupt changes can trick our eyes into thinking the room is smaller.
archideaphoto/ Shutterstock

Small-kitchen decorating ideas that are easy to implement:

  • Pot Racks
  • Cooking Tool Wall Storage
  • Hideaway Furniture
  • More Counter Space
  • Additional Shelving

1. Pot Racks

While most small kitchens don’t have the space required for large, rectangular pot racks, there are options for smaller spaces. Pot racks don’t have to hang from the ceiling; some can be wall-mounted, like the pegboard wall above.

2. Cooking Tool Wall Storage

Get inspiration from some of the busiest restaurant kitchens, which use industrial wall hardware and racks for utensil storage. Some ideas for storing utensils and tools on the wall:

  • Hang racks for utensils. A simple bar with some hooks can hold tools with a loop or hole in them. There are baskets that can be hung on the rack to hold smaller items
  • Paint and hang a pegboard, and use it to hang your tools. Keep the items organized by color or use.
  • Use wall magnets to store knives and spice jars.

3. Hideaway Furniture

Try a creative approach to maximize the functionality of your small kitchen. Find ways to create a multipurpose space with practical furniture items that are useful but can be easily stored out of the way. Some ideas include:

  • Backless bar stools that can tuck away.
  • Roll-out kitchen cabinets or tables.
  • Drop-down, wall-mounted tables or cutting boards.

4. More Counter Space

If your goal is to create a contemporary kitchen space, one of the most important design elements is minimalist, uncluttered kitchen counters. This not only looks modern, but it increases the counter area, making it easier to prep and cook. The first step is to put away all small appliances and countertop items. Some other ideas for increasing counter space include:

  • A low-profile ceramic cooktop. Today’s electric cooktops are sleek and modern. They have the added benefit of being almost flush with the counters, so you can place a cutting board or other items on it when not in use.
  • A cooktop cover. If you have a gas range, you can purchase a cover for it so you can safely work on your stove when it’s not in use. Some covers come as wood butcher block surfaces.
  • A rolling butcher block or cart as additional counter space. Buy one with wheels, or add a set yourself so you can wheel it out of the way when not in use. Add a couple of simple stools to your rolling butcher block for an instant breakfast bar.

5. Additional Shelving

Find places to add shelving for additional storage. A row of narrow shelves, added to a kitchen island, can be perfect for cookbooks. Look for additional places including corners, or over a counter. We hope this post has inspired you to freshen up your small kitchen. What’s your favorite small kitchen decorating idea?

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