50 Small Kitchen Ideas That Won't Make You Feel Claustrophobic

Sky-high cabinets and mirrored backsplashes are your friends.

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Courtesy of Sugar & Cloth

When your prep space is no larger than a closet, even one person can feel like too many cooks in the kitchen. These tricks will help you make the most of your counter space and cabinetry. And when you want to plan for your future giant dream kitchen, check out even more inspiration.

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1 Pull Up A Chair
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Courtesy of Tessa Neustadt

You might not have room for a breakfast nook, but you can probably make some space for a counter bar. To make it feel a little cozier, add a patterned rug.

See more at Amber Interiors.

2 Store Things Up High
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Courtesy of Tessa Neustadt for Emily Henderson Designs

If you've got space between your cabinets and your ceiling, you've got storage. Add wicker baskets and it's the perfect spot to keep lesser-used tools.

See more at Emily Henderson.

3 Pare Down
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Courtesy of Veneer Designs

Do you really need 25 extra bowls? Pare down your kitchen stuff to the bare minimum and you'll be surprised how much space you actually have.

See more at Nicole Franzen.

4 Use Your Green Thumb
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Courtesy of Veneer Designs

Plants make everything feel happier—even small kitchens.

See more at Old Brand New.

5 Subway Tile
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Courtesy of Lark & Linen

Here's one more reason to love subway tiling. Use it all around your kitchen and it will help the space feel wider.

See more at Lark & Linen.

6 Organize Strategically
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Courtesy of Zeke Ruelas for Emily Henderson Designs

If you're adding shelves for storage, you don't want them to look cluttered. Arrange bowls and mugs by color so everything feels cohesive.

See more at Emily Henderson.

More: 20 Cool Kitchen Gadgets You Need In Your Home

7 Get Some Statement Lighting
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Courtesy of Veneer Designs

Is anyone actually going to notice your small kitchen when you've got an amaze piece of statement lighting? Definitely not.

See more at Veneer Designs.

8 White on White on White
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Courtesy of Sugar & Cloth

You know the drill: whiter=brighter. Keep everything white, then add in pops of color from your serving ware, or even a SMEG fridge.

See more at Sugar & Cloth.

9 Ditch The Hardware
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Courtesy of Veneer Designs

Skip bulky hardware on your cabinetry and drawers. It'll help your space look more streamlined and sleek.

See more at Veneer Designs.

10 Gloss It Up
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Courtesy of Lark & Linen

You already know white is good—it'll make your space feel larger, but if want a dark backsplash/countertops, it's actually not off-limits in a small space. Opt for something glossy, then it'll help reflect light.

See more at Lark & Linen.

11 Create Your Own Storage Nook
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Courtesy of Sugar and Charm

If you have zero space in your kitchen, don't stress. Create your own storage nook on a nearby wall in your house by putting up shelves and placing some stools underneath. You'll have a place to put your bag, shoes, and hats when you come home, and a place for all those gifted cake stands you've accumulated. That's a thing, right?

See more at Sugar and Charm.

12 DIY a Pantry
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Courtesy of Zeke Ruelas for Emily Henderson Designs

It's not ideal, but shelves are good for more than just plates. If you're lacking a traditional pantry, stack your snacks instead.

See more at Emily Henderson.

More: 20 Pantry Organization Tricks and Solutions

13 Reclaimed Wood Shelving
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Courtesy of Lark & Linen

Keeping things white will brighten up a small space, but that doesn't mean you have to swear off wood forever. Reclaimed wood shelving adds contrast—and necessary storage.

See more at Lark & Linen.

14 Warm It Up With A Rug
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Courtesy of Veneer Designs

When there's not much you can do with a cramped space without making it feel even smaller, add a rug. It'll warm it up, and add color and pattern without overwhelming your kitchen.

See more at Veneer Designs.

15 Go For The Galley
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Courtesy of Lark & Linen

Sure, galley-style kitchens lack counter space, but you can make up for it by thinking of the space in stations: an area to prep, an area for stovetop cooking, and so on. Then you can make dinner assembly-line style.

See more at Lark & Linen.

16 Embrace The Cozy
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Courtesy of Erin Gates Design

The smaller, the cozier. Embrace it with a cushy rug.

See more at Erin Gates Design.

17 Go Modern
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Courtesy of Bethany Nauert for Emily Henderson Designs

If you want your space to look larger, go for an ultra-modern kitchen. The more minimal the decor, the bigger it'll seem.

See more at Emily Henderson.

18 Keep Stools Low
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Courtesy of Elements of Style

Don't choose large or bulky chairs for your island. Instead, opt for low seating that doesn't detract visually from the room.

See more at Elements of Style.

19 Make It Flawless
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Courtesy of Erin Gates Design

It's tiny, so every inch should be perfect. Wallpaper? Check. Patterned backsplash? Check. Art? Check. And obviously, you need fresh flowers, too.

See more at Erin Gates Design.

20 Get A Functional Kitchen Island
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Courtesy of Lark & Linen

If you are going to get an island, make sure it's got as much storage as possible. Towel racks, cabinets, or a storage rack underneath are musts.

See more at Lark & Linen.

21 Industrial Edge
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Amy Neunsinger

Open shelves amp up the cool, industrial feel to this kitchen's exposed pipes. To keep it feeling a bit more polished, go for all white.

22 Appliance Garage
jon de la cruz 2017 kitchen of the year appliance garage
Jonny Valiant

To keep countertops clear, tuck the toaster and coffeemaker away in a sleek appliance garage. A stand mixer can pop up from its own designated cabinet if you install a spring-loaded shelf.

23 Wicker Kitchen Furniture
sarah bartholomew kitchen
Ngoc Minh Ngo

A farm table can do double-duty as a dinner spot and work surface, but make sure to choose wicker chairs. The open design makes a small room feel light and airy, as opposed to overly cramped and crowded.

24 Breakfast Kitchen Counter
justina blakeney jungalow kitchen counter
David Tsay

Connect a kitchen and dining area with a cute pass-through. Not only does it open up both rooms, but the countertop adds a spot for breakfast if you don't have room for a nook in the kitchen.

25 Glossy Lacquer
nick olsen colorful kitchen
Francesco Lagnese

Once you decide what color to go with, don't forget about the finish. A high-gloss coating can help a small space feel larger.

26 Rolling Kitchen Ladder
pale powder kitchen
Eric Piasecki

Adding extra storage up top is a great idea—but reaching it, on the other hand, is a challenge. Install a rolling ladder to access ceiling-height cabinets.

27 Moveable Kitchen Bar
faux malachite galley kitchen
Thomas Loof

To gain counter space, add a movable bar to the doorway of your kitchen. When you need to get in and out, you can easily roll it out of the way.

28 Tiny Kitchen Cabinets
disco ball interiors
Tara Donne

To squeeze in extra storage, try adding little cubbies to fill in the space above a window or your range hood. Just make sure you have a step ladder handy.

29 Singular Kitchen Shelf
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Thomas Kuoh

No counter space? No problem. A single shelf adds a spot to put the not-so-necessary (but actually, totally necessary) kitchen items like candles, art, and vases.

30 Make It A Jewel Box
celerie kemble white kitchen
Christopher Sturman

Embrace the fact that your space is small and turn it into a jewel box. Think brass hardware, marble countertops, and glam statement lighting.

31 Pot Rack
Designer Katie Ridder installed open shelves and Urban Archaeology's Industrial pot rack in the existing kitchen to make everyday items easily accessible. The elegant barstools from Cherner Chair Company are a 1958 design by Norman Cherner and are cushioned in MK Collection's Summer Strié.
Eric Piasecki

Bulky pans can take up valuable space, so install an industrial pot rack. It's functional and stylish.

32 Add Some Wallpaper
rose cumming zebrine wallpaper
Thomas Loof

You may not have a ton of counter/floor space to play with decor, so make a statement on your walls. If you don't want it to feel too overpowering, accent with it instead of covering an entire wall.

33 Copper Shelving
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Courtesy of Kohler

If you're low on cupboard space, add storage on shelves. Copper-pipe shelving has hooks for hanging mugs, shelves to stack dishes, and looks super chic.

34 Folding Doors
hidden kitchen
Simon Watson

Create folding doors to close off the dining room from the kitchen. If space is tight, you'll benefit from the extra room when guests come over.

35 Black Kitchen Cabinetry
black kitchen cabinets
Maura McEvoy

Embrace small space by going for black cabinetry. It'll look sleek and sophisticated.

36 Functional Kitchen Island
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Tara Striano

If your kitchen is small, you likely won't have room for an island and a breakfast nook. Choose an island that'll do double duty—you can use it as counter space when you're prepping dinner, and eat at it later.

37 Mirrored Kitchen Cabinets
mirrored cabinets
Francesco Lagnese

Mirrored glass on cabinet doors instantly enlarges a small kitchen. Fake it til you make it!

38 Stovetop Shelf
scot meacham wood black kitchen
Thayer Allyson Gowdy

To expand a tiny kitchen, add extra shelves in places they'd be most functional, like above the stove. That way, you won't have to spend a lot of money, or take up valuable floor space.

39 Metallic Sheen
torino damask wallpaper
Annie Schlechter

If the space is small, play around with fun wallpaper. Something with a little sheen will make the room gleam...even if you haven't gotten to the dishes in, uh, a while.

40 Lacquered Ceiling
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Brian Doben

We can't all have high ceilings, but we can fake them. Lacquer yours in a color that complements the walls, and it'll look like the walls extend much higher than they actually do. Score!

41 Glass Doors
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Lisa Romerein

In this kitchen, wood floors extend out to an adjacent deck through glass doors, creating the illusion of a much bigger space. It's modern meets farmhouse, and I'm obsessed.

42 Saturated Color
green high gloss kitchen
Thomas Loof

Pump up a color and make it feel even more vibrant by lacquering it. Keep everything, even the fridge, the same color and it'll feel more uniform.

43 Tall Table
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Victoria Pearson

A tall table works great in a space that's too small for a dining table and too big to have nothing. It can function as both a nook and an island.

44 Mirrored Backsplash
summer thornton black kitchen
Miki Duisterhof

Mirrors always make a room look larger, but if you don't want to hang one up in your kitchen, try it on your backsplash. Bonus: Now you can always see when you get food on your face while cooking!

45 Add A Rack
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Eric Piasecki

If you're low on drawer space, hang your utensils on a rack above the stuff. That way, they're super handy to grab when you're cooking.

46 Open Shelving
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Victoria Pearson

Try open shelves instead of upper cabinets for an airy feel. Just make sure you don't clutter them or else it will look too busy.

47 Backless Stools
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Thomas Loof

Backless stools can slip under a counter to save space. Choose a color that'll blend in with your island, unifying the room.

48 Lots of Windows
neff kitchens cabinets
Jason Donnelly

Add in as many windows as you can to make a small space feel less claustrophobic. A glossy finish on cabinets also helps—it bounces light back into the room.

49 Hide Your Microwave
blue kitchen cabinets
TARA STRIANO

Instead of mounting your microwave on the wall, put it down below by your oven. That way, you'll open up wall spaces for shelving.

50 WATCH: New Color, Cabinets and Tile Freshen Up a Tired-Looking Kitchen
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