Kitchens that Maximize Small Footprints

Gather inspiration and do-it-yourself ideas from these small kitchens that make the most of what they've got.

  • view all thumbnails
Modern kitchen with orange accents
Kitchen 1: A Mod Eat-In

    Space-extending moves and budget-stretching materials turn a tiny 1960s kitchen into a vibrant family hub. Orange countertops and accents pop against clean white cabinetry in this cheerful kitchen.

Savvy Shelving

    To the right of the range is a stack of drawers for handy storage. The backsplash gets some zip from a mosaic tile with a subtle shimmer.

Built-in Buffet

    A bank of drawers provides handy storage; oversize pulls add to the room's contemporary aesthetic.

Sinking In

    A stainless-steel sink with a sleek faucet suits the kitchen's contemporary vibe.

Backsplash Beauty

    The tones in the mosaic tile backsplash provide a band of subtle texture amid the smoothness of flat-panel cabinetry and quartz-surfacing counters.

Cool Cabinets

    Upper cabinets with frosted-glass doors hinge at the top, providing easy access to dinnerware.

Kitchen 2: $500 Surface Makeover

    The floor plan of this 10x9-foot galley kitchen was workable, so the homeowners focused on the surfaces. A new black laminate countertop with a more contemporary edge replaced the beige rounded-edge countertops.

Working It

    Updating surfaces and bringing in subtle color gave this small kitchen big style without breaking the bank. The appliances, cabinets, floors, and lights were in good working condition, so they stayed.

Awesome Accents

    Two picture ledges holding plates and art create interest on a previously blank wall. Bright colors in the rug, stool, and art allow add bursts of color in this neutral kitchen. A fresh coat of gray paint on the walls in the same hue as the backsplash tile, but lighter, makes the room feel spacious.

Shelf Style

    Black wall ledges on the back wall tie in the black from the countertops and create a place to display artwork.

Double Duty

    A double bowl stainless-steel sink replaced a white sink. The high arch on the new chrome faucet makes cleaning large pots easier.

Nickel Accents

    Another gray element -- brushed-nickel hardware -- added to the cabinet doors and drawers is another budget-savvy update.

Backsplash Beautification

    Petite 2x2-inch gray hexagonal matte backsplash tile complements the black countertops.

Kitchen 3: Updated Vintage

    The couple stripped layers of decorating to reveal the Minneapolis kitchen's original charm, then cheered it with bright hues. The homeowners painted the floor and selected a recycled-glass mosaic tile backsplash to add fun without fussiness. An eco-friendly bamboo counter adds more golden grains to the room.

Color Therapy

    Golden yellow and white paint refreshes a wood floor that was stripped of glue and old vinyl.

Breakfast Nook

    A bargain oak table looks twice as cool when only half of it is used, plus it fits the small space better.

How to Retrofit a Table

    What you'll need:
    22-inch board
    Wood screws

    1. Shop for a vintage table. The homeowners bought this oak table on the cheap because it was missing a leaf.

    2. Remove any sliding mechanisms or hardware underneath the table. Cut the table in half lengthwise with a table saw.

    3. To secure the table to the wall, cut a 22-inch board to 1 inch less than the width of the table.

    4. Screw the board to wall studs at a height flush with the underside of the table.

    5. Use wood screws to fasten the table to the board from underneath.

Cute Curios

    Favorite collectibles add pops of color on high on this out-of-the-way shelf above the table.

Filed Away

    A vintage oak file cabinet adds storage and extra surface space.

Catalogued Storage

    The large drawers of this vintage filing cabinet keep the homeowners' kitchenwares organized and within easy reach.

Kitchen 4: Create a Serene Space

    A compact 72-square-foot floor plan didn't limit the homeowners from creating an open, welcoming kitchen in their cozy bungalow. They combined it with a hallway space to form 120 square feet in only 30 days.

Metallic Accents

    Cool and sleek stainless-steel appliances contrast with the cabinetry's warm wood tones. The homeowners took advantage of store promotions to get good prices on the appliances.

Counter Space

    Slate tiles in the backsplash blend with the concrete countertops.

Garden View

    An avid gardener, the homeowner created a garden window over the sink to show off his green thumb.

Kitchen 5: Contemporary Galley

    This galley plan (15x9 feet) places the ovens next to the cooktop so cooking and baking happen in the same area. Two wall ovens and the adjacent cooktop form an efficient cooking zone, clad in mosaic tile from countertop to ceiling.

Multitasking Space

    Tucked away on an adjacent wall, a built-in desk creates an efficient home core centered on the kitchen and satellite spaces. The cabinet-depth refrigerator is a budget- friendly alternative to a built-in model. Cabinets reach to the ceiling above the refrigerator and pantry to create a built-in look and pack in extra storage.

Upping the Ante

    An undermount sink, pullout faucet, and oversize cabinet hardware are upscale touches. The contemporary backsplash in the kitchen's work zone features hand-chopped glass tiles with coordinating grout.

Perfect Peninsula

    A new peninsula creates valuable counter space and defines the breakfast nook. Granite countertops echo the neutral color palette.

Cookbook Cubby

    Built into the end of the peninsula, narrow shelving keeps cookbooks handy.

Kitchen 6: U-Shape Update

    The U-shape layout creates additional counter space and cabinet storage in this updated 16x 9-foot kitchen. Moving the range to the right centered it on the wall and created room for another run of cabinets, boosting storage and counter space for food prep and making this kitchen more efficient. The slide-in range has continuous grates so it's easy to move pots from burner to burner. The range hood adds upscale architectural interest in addition to being hardworking.

Upscale Accents

    Gain an upscale look by adding three simple elements: a bridge faucet, an undermount sink, and quartz-surfacing countertops. The combination of a high-arc faucet and a deep sink makes it easy to wash large pots and pans.

Faux Built-in Microwave

    An inexpensive stainless-steel trim kit creates a sleek look for the undercounter microwave.

Style Service

    Pendant lights illuminate the serving area and distinguish it from the rest of the kitchen. Recessing the refrigerator into the wall freed space for additional cabinets and countertop storage. To create the feeling of a built-in refrigerator, the homeowners tiled the wall around the unit with the same mosaic they selected for the backsplash.


Try our FREE ultimate decorating toolbox to design your kitchen. Imagine it, plan it, then do it with Decorating Inspiration!

Top Brands

Share Your Thoughts