Small Kitchen Layouts: Save Space and Stand Out

15 Ideas to Save Space and Bring Your Small Kitchen to Life
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Your kitchen may be small but that doesn’t have to mean you can’t create a stunning, individual design that expresses your personality and enhances your home. With careful planning and the benefit of modern space-saving ideas you can have a kitchen that really stands out from the crowd while fulfilling all your needs.

What is the best layout for a small kitchen?

Choose the best layout for the shape of your small kitchen to make the best use of available space. If your kitchen is long and narrow a galley layout with parallel rows of units along opposite walls or even a single row of units along one wall is ideal. A U-shaped layout is better if you have enough space at the end of the room or an L-shaped layout might give you enough room for a small dining area. Just be careful not to overcrowd it with cabinets, as this can make the space feel cramped.


How do I plan a small kitchen layout?

Start with the major appliances and where they’ll go. Most people move between the sink, stovetop, refrigerator, and countertop when cooking, so keep that in mind. If your refrigerator is at the opposite end of a galley-style kitchen layout, you may find other family members have to cut through to get a drink when you’d rather they didn’t, so keep this in mind.

You should also think about what you need your kitchen to provide. Do you need to incorporate a dining area, or do you have a separate space for that? Do you need a convenient space for pet bowls where they won’t constantly be tripped over? It seems like a minor thing, but just ensuring you’ve got enough space for your trash can, seating, small appliances and pets can make the world of difference.


How do you maximize a small kitchen layout?

You’ll need to plan carefully and make good use of every inch of space in your kitchen layout. You’ll need to make the most of your storage space, so think about smart storage solutions such as pull-out shelving. If you’re short on storage space, go through your utensils and cooking equipment to keep only the things you really make use of. Make use of clever cupboard and drawer organizers to neatly store your cutlery, cooking trays, pots, and lids. It’ll make it easier to find the things you need too.

Use above-counter storage for things like knives, glasses, and saucepans. Think about maximizing space in your cupboards with risers to give you double the shelf space and make use of the backs of cupboard doors with a door organizer that hangs from the back of the door.

Make use of those little spaces in your kitchen that are often underused, such as above your refrigerator on above your cabinets. Getting up to reach that space may require a step, but it can be an ideal place to put the items you rarely use.


What colors make a small kitchen look bigger?

Light colors always make a small space seem bigger, and will reflect light around the room. Use light paint colors on your walls but also think about a light palette for flooring, countertops, and backsplashes. White is a popular modern color for kitchens and you can easily liven it up with pops of color in your accessories, some artwork, and rugs to make it more individual. Plants are another great way of adding color with a sense of space and airiness.


Should you put an island in a small kitchen?

That really depends on the size and shape of your kitchen. A galley-style kitchen won’t lend itself well to an island, but a square or L-shaped kitchen might. A kitchen island should be at least 4x2’ in size, and you need sufficient space to move around it, so do your measurements and think about it carefully.

If you need the extra counterspace but don’t have the room for a permanent island, consider a mobile island. These trolley-style islands are relatively affordable and can provide much-needed worktop space and storage for small kitchens, and be simply rolled to the side when not in use.


How do you fit everything in a small kitchen?

With careful planning! There are plenty of New York apartments with incredible kitchens with a tiny footprint. It just takes a smart use of space. We’ll cover some great ideas for space-saving in your kitchen shortly, but if you’re not confident planning your own small kitchen layout, it is seriously worth working with a kitchen designer.

Kitchen designers know all the tips and tricks to help your space offer you all the storage you need without making it feel small and crowded. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, we can help. We can take accurate 3D measurements of your kitchen and generate hundreds of suggested layouts and narrow your selection down based on your needs and budget. If you’re interested in seeing our suggestions, click here.


15 Ideas to Save Space and Bring Your Small Kitchen to Life

  1. Keep only the essential appliances and surfaces – this is key in helping your kitchen feel bigger than it is and in giving you essential storage and living space. It’s very easy to fill cupboards, even if we don’t really need what’s in them. Take a hard look at what you’ve got – could you let go of some of your items so you can create a dining area?
  2. Store less-used items in cabinets – if you only use your toaster once a week, you could likely put it away in a cabinet to free up counterspace.
  3. Add mirrors to some sections of the wall – mirrors reflect light and naturally give the appearance of more space than there is. If you’ve got space on the wall, try adding a mirror. The mirror could be decorative in style, or back shelving if you don’t simply want a mirror on the wall.
  4. Get rid of hardware on cabinet exteriors – ever got a belt loop caught on a cabinet handle? If you’re working in a tight space, getting your clothes caught or even hitting your hip on a handle is pretty common. To eliminate that risk, opt for cabinets with a built-in handle.
  5. Rethink the entire layout to increase open space – Open space is at a premium in small kitchens, so don’t underestimate it’s importance. If you want an island, consider a mobile island so you can wheel it out when you need it. Could you nock a wall through so you can look into the next room? A 70s-style dinner hatch isn’t particularly fashionable, but if you can open up the space more it will help create more distance.
  6. Use colors in blocks to set apart different sections – if you have an unconventionally shaped kitchen, using different color blocks can be a creative way to set apart different sections.
  7. Make use of vertical space instead of horizontal – this not only creates more floor and storage space, but can even help your room look larger by drawing the eye higher toward the ceiling. Keep the colors light if you have little natural light, though tall dark cabinets can be a bold statement that creates a truly luxurious feel.
  8. Install lights inside and underneath cabinetry – this not only helps your kitchen look more expensive, but it’s also super practical. LED lighting is affordable and it can make all the difference when using your kitchen when it’s dark outside or when looking in difficult-to-reach cabinets.
  9. Downsize space-consuming appliances – as Americans, we’re used to having a huge refrigerator, but it’s not often necessary. If you have a small kitchen, a smaller refrigerator will likely do the job. Similarly, you can get half-sized dishwashers which are about the size of half a cabinet. All you need to do is do the dishes more frequently!
  10. Get a sink with a cover for use as a prep area – this is an idea you can steal from RVs and campervans. If you’re really squeezed for prep space, consider getting a sink with a cover or a sink with edges so you can place a chopping board across it.
  11. Alternatively, install a deep sink for more dishes – if you don’t mind doing the dishes, then give up the dishwasher and simply get a deeper sink to make it easier to wash your dishes.
  12. Use a patterned floor or wall (but not both!) – Adding a patterned wall or floor can give your small kitchen personality and show that it’s a space that’s been well thought-out and styled. Just don’t go overboard!
  13. Add warm accents like a kitchen rug – small kitchens, especially those with a minimalist design, can feel a little cold when everything is put away. You can easily add some life by using a kitchen rug, kitchen towels, adding art, and plants.
  14. Use neutral colors except for one accent wall – neutral colors help make your space feel bigger, but a splash of color can give your kitchen personality and a pop of luxury. Think carefully about which wall you choose, especially if you can see into your kitchen from another room.
  15. Go for concealed storage – the benefits of concealed storage really can’t be overstated. You can fit more into your space and keep your kitchen clear of clutter. Pull-out shelving and drawers will really help you here!


Getting a small kitchen right can make all the difference, but designing a small kitchen can be more difficult than a large kitchen. If you feel unsure about designing your small kitchen layout, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help! In just four steps, we can take you from your current kitchen to the one of your dreams. We generate hundreds of layouts and personalize it down to the finest detail. If you’d like to find out more, click here!


Picture from Skipp's Instagram
Picture from Skipp's Instagram
Picture from Skipp's Instagram
Picture from Skipp's Instagram
Picture from Skipp's Instagram