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Design a small kitchen and make it look bigger: this is how you stylishly upgrade compact kitchen spaces

There are numerous space-saving design solutions when it comes to creating a small kitchen. Smart layout can easily maximize compact kitchen areas for the sake of optimal space utilization. In addition, minimalism in kitchen design can help create a sense of order and create the illusion of spaciousness. To do so, opt for bright colors, clean lines, similar textures and simple accessories. Below, you can discover some great examples and tips that can help you with your new or remodel.

Find inspiration and design a small kitchen

integrate art deco style in kitchen space and design small kitchen with modern colors like gold and blue

Cooking and cleaning in a tiny space can sometimes feel like an exercise in futility. However, don’t be discouraged as you can find ways to transform narrow kitchens into stylish and efficient spaces. Moreover, there are certain practical and modern kitchen designs that are better suited for this, as well as some methods by which small apartment kitchens can feel bigger. In fact, recently the kitchen has also become the main living area. However, the floor plans of many apartments don’t offer much space for it. So if you’re frustrated with the lack of space in your kitchen area, you should take the right steps to address the problem smartly.

choose trendy earth green color for a partitioned kitchen space and create contemporary small kitchen design

So, the limitations of a small kitchen require an inventive approach. Besides, you can definitely afford to be bolder in a small space than in a huge kitchen space with a kitchen island. Designing small kitchens also means spending less money on cabinets, potentially leaving more budget for lighting and appliances. Logically, kitchen design is the first thing to consider. With a small kitchen, it’s important that the layout is carefully thought out. This way, you ensure that every inch of counter space is utilized. The age-old advice to think of the refrigerator, stove and sink as points on a triangle and make sure the distance between them isn’t too small still applies in small or difficult-to-design kitchen spaces.

Decide on appropriate designs and materials

optimal use of space in limited kitchen area with matching kitchen furniture and colors

Carefully chosen kitchen furniture, colors and materials can help a small kitchen area feel more spacious. Consider using mirrored or light-colored backsplashes with reflective qualities to make your space appear larger. In terms of color scheme, it’s not essential to stick to a bright palette in small kitchens, so don’t be afraid to use your desired color. Here are some thoughtful suggestions that illustrate such ideas.

Choose hidden storage and design minimalist small kitchen

minimalist kitchen design with flush and concealed kitchen shelves in modern style with decoration


One of the emerging trends in small kitchen design is flush-mounted kitchens. This involves, for example, kitchen cabinets that are so stylishly installed that it is easy to forget that they are meant for storage, appliances that disappear before your eyes, and touchable textures. Such kitchen design can make you think you are in the living or dining room. In addition, more and more options are available for people to hide or camouflage parts of the kitchen as they see fit. There’s also another big trend toward creating concealed workspaces. These are characterized by sliding doors that can close and hide an entire kitchen structure.

Freestanding modular kitchen as a modern and functional option.

have functional and space-saving kitchen furniture made to measure

Flexibility in the kitchen used to mean having simple furniture on wheels. However, as the number of tenants increases and apartments become smaller, the demand for modern, multifunctional and flexible kitchens is also on the rise. When you choose a custom option, you get the ideal kitchen design for your small space. Similar to a modular configuration of corner furniture like sofas, you can use one-piece modules and countertops in different shapes and sizes so you can personalize your workspace the way it suits you, while extendable tables let you create fixed or pull-out dining areas just the way you want.

Choose simple color palette for small kitchen spaces

get creative with gray and white according to modern color scheme and design open shelves for small kitchen


In addition to trendy grays, stone tones are also growing in popularity, with the latest neutral choice being a sandstone shade. This hue offers a cooler interpretation of ivory or cream, and is also pale enough to reflect natural light for an airy feel in a room. The whole thing can look even better when combined with glossy kitchen cabinet doors. Moreover, a kitchen design with black cabinets below and a white kitchen backsplash and open shelves above would allow for a classic yet fitting color combination. Such a monochromatic look is traditional and modern at the same time. The black base of the color scheme and the white walls make the kitchen area look fresh and neat.

Combine wood with white according to Scandinavian style in compact kitchens.

achieve scandinavian aesthetics with natural wood and create a cozy small kitchen in a space-saving way

White is a staple for small spaces as it makes them look bright and open, but it can often look too sterile. Natural wood, in this case, offers a great alternative to other color combinations and adds a cozy, rustic feel to the pale hue as well as the whole interior. Moreover, it can be easily combined with many other color palettes, which makes the material a versatile choice for any home.

store kitchen utensils properly and create more space for seating in the kitchen space

So, opt for a Scandinavian-inspired wood and white scheme for a bright and airy feel to the space. Accordingly, large expanses of wood floors and white cabinets also create a calm and uncluttered first impression. You can always incorporate open shelving and add more color with plants or colorful plates and bowls. Warm-toned lighting will keep the space from feeling cold.

Design tiled backsplash for small kitchen

kitchen backsplash tiled with white tiles combined with contrasting black base cabinets

Choose tiles in soothing natural tones to make the cooking area look visually larger and more pleasing. Carefully selected tiles are your secret weapon when designing or updating small kitchen spaces. Matte finishes in light, muted and natural tones or highly reflective glossy tiles are great ways to create a sense of spaciousness. Stay away from small or heavily patterned tiles, however, as they can create a striking wall but will likely overwhelm a small space. Mixed materials, including combinations of ceramic and stone, are becoming increasingly popular to create contemporary-inspired geometric designs that integrate perfectly into modern kitchen spaces.

Less is more with a sustainable kitchen design

create order in the kitchen space according to konmari method and design a trendy small kitchen

Try to remove unnecessary items, respectively clutter in the kitchen by adopting a minimalist approach. Minimalism may be all the rage, but the concept behind living with less is key to not only a stylish kitchen design, but a sustainable one as well. Buying only what you need is the best way to reduce your footprint and save time, stress and money. To that end, first sort out the unwanted items from your drawers, cabinets and pantries. Then, make a rule that new purchases should only replace something that breaks or runs out.

Create smart storage options

make the most of space up to the ceiling and create vertical storage options in small kitchens

To prevent a small space from becoming too crowded, you can try adding half-height units to the design. Such wall cabinets provide extra space for storing important items. At the same time, they only take up half the space of a standard wall unit. They also prevent shadows from being cast on the surface below. This can make the kitchen area brighter. Here are some more clever and space-saving tips you can follow when designing a small kitchen:

inviting and practical kitchen design with fold out table made of natural materials like wood

  • Use your space wisely. Built-in storage maximizes the available space. Wherever possible, try to use spaces for more than one task.
  • Attach shelves to the inside of cabinet doors to hold spice racks or pot lids.
  • Install kitchen shelving in corners and use vertical space for infrequently used items up to the ceiling.
  • On occasion, also use the kitchen island as a breakfast bar and store cups or cutlery in drawers underneath. You can also incorporate a mini peninsula.
  • Opt for narrow and compact, or fold-out kitchen table and slide it completely against the wall. For sitting, combine standard dining chairs with a bench that you can pull out when needed.

Design creative kitchen shelves for small kitchen

narrow kitchen space space saving but stylish with retro design furnishings and small kitchen design

Not everyone with a small kitchen is blessed with built-in storage. If you are also in this category, it is important to make sure that you have ample and effective shelving space. Floating kitchen shelves, for example, provide modern and minimalist storage, while using wall space with creative cabinets can be just as helpful. Also, combine open and closed shelving with kitchen cabinets. So, instead of filling all the available wall space with units, opt for open shelves that give a contemporary look and do not enclose the space.

Store kitchen utensils and work surface according to modern concepts.

store pots and pans in well-designed kitchen cabinets and maximize space in the cooking area

Make your kitchen both stylish and functional by investing in cookware, utensils and appliances that are beautiful enough to display. For example, store knives together in a knife block or on a magnetic wall rack. Look for a matching set of mixing bowls made of commercial stainless steel or colorful ceramics that stack neatly inside each other and look attractive on open shelves. Take inspiration from a professional food preparation room and keep everything close at hand.

biophilic design with plants for small kitchen design and beautify compact spaces with more texture

In addition, famous Japanese tidying expert Marie Kondo advises creating order in the kitchen using your KonMari method. Leave as little as possible on your countertops. Although this may be a bit extreme, too many items can clutter your countertops. Consider clever solutions like wall-mounted rails for hanging utensils, pans, mugs, spice jars and silverware containers. Think about what you need to have on hand every day and how you can store cutting boards, wooden spoons and dishwashing liquid.