20 Custom Touches for Small Kitchens


Add beauty and smart function to a small kitchen with these creative ideas. Discover how to add storage, make the most of a small space, and add beautiful design ideas to your kitchen.

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Maximize Every Inch

kitchen cabinets

Make the most of every square foot in a small kitchen. Often this small space on the other side of a doorway would be left empty, but this kitchen has a drink station and additional cabinetry, creating a custom and super-smart solution.

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To the Ceiling

kitchen storage

When a cabinet is tucked into a tight corner, use a vertical hinge to avoid banging the door into the wall. This way the door lifts up and out of the way—the perfect solution for a small space.

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Utensils on Display

Cottage Cabinets

Keep everyday utensils within easy reach with an S-hook system hung right onto a beaded-board backsplash. It's also the perfect way to know where your quarter teaspoon is when you need it.

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Use the End


Turn the end of a row of cabinets into usable space with chalkboard paint. Create the perfect place to jot notes and grocery lists, while adding personality to a plain spot in the kitchen.

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Wine Storage

wine storage

Sometimes a tiny cabinet isn't good for anything—except a bottle of wine. Remove the door and add a few small shelves to create the perfect spot to store extra bottles.

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Small Kitchen Makeover

See how this small kitchen got big style on a budget.

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Shelves for Storage and Display

Cottage Cabinets

Open shelves and white cabinetry keep the look open and airy in this cottage kitchen. Vintage dishware and floral-pattern china create a pretty display that not only looks great but also remains within reach of the kitchen's main prep zone.

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Natural Light Backsplash


A well-lit kitchen feels larger than a dark one, and natural light beats fluorescent any day. Here, a row of narrow windows functions as a backsplash and drenches this small, stylish kitchen in sunlight. Keep window treatments to a minimum to make the most of your light in a small space.

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Open-Shelf Storage

kitchen island

Boost storage and display space in a kitchen by capping off a run of cabinets with open shelves. These shelves face the adjoining breakfast room and offer a convenient spot for storing cookbooks without weighing down the kitchen with closed-off cabinets.

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Looking Up

Storage on Display

Top a window or a passageway between rooms with a wide ledge for storage and display. This over-the-window shelf puts the homeowner's collection of olive oil bottles in view and draws the eye upward, emphasizing the kitchen's soaring height and the ceiling's rustic wooden beams.

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Island Organization

Kitchen island

Island storage doesn't need to be enclosed. Removing a few cabinet doors from this island provides easy access to items while adding an open feel to the small kitchen work space. Wicker baskets contain the contents of each shelf to ensure everything stays neat and tidy.

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Ceiling Drama

teal kitchen

Create instant architectural appeal and volume in a small kitchen by opening up the ceiling and exposing beams. Painting elements white creates a clean, spacious feel. Here, bright blue walls above the cabinetry also help draw the eye upward toward the unique ceiling treatment.

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Kitchen Design Drama

storage niche

Add architectural interest to a small kitchen with a creative treatment along an empty wall. In this kitchen, a pair of niches between the studs offers storage and display space for a small collection of glassware. Tiny metallic tiles call attention to the cutouts.

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Maximize Your Layout

Put every square foot you have to good use with these tips for making the most of a small kitchen.

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Countertop Creativity


Carefully planned details give a small kitchen standout style. Granite-look laminate countertops pair well with the classic white cabinetry and the ogee edge treatment adds understated elegance.

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Sliding Spice Rack

pullout kitchen storage

Every inch counts when you're creating storage space in a small kitchen. This handy pullout cabinet adjacent to the range is perfect for storing spices, oils, and herbs within arm's reach of the food-preparation zone.

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Easily Accessible


Kitchen designers favor lower cabinets with drawers because the contents can be seen with one fluid motion. Drawer dividers for silverware and cooking utensils help keep items tidy.

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Cutting Board Convenience

Cutting board

Ensure a cutting board is always within reach by incorporating a pullout version into your kitchen cabinetry. For added convenience, store knives in a drawer directly below the cutting board. This pullout is located next to the sink, which makes cleanup a breeze.

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Two-Tone Cabinetry

Colorful kitchen

Create drama and add character to a small kitchen by painting the island a different color from the rest of the cabinetry. This cheery yellow island complements colors in the subway-tile backsplash. Choose bright colors or light-shade stains to ensure the island's hue doesn't weigh down the small space.

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Declutter with an Appliance Garage

kitchen cabinetry

The less clutter there is on countertops, the more spacious your kitchen will appear. Create a storage space between upper and lower cabinets by adding doors, and use the cubbyhole for hiding small appliances. For convenience, include an electrical outlet at the back of the cabinet.

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Baskets for Beauty

Salvaged Table Turned Kitchen Island

Conceal clutter and get organized by using baskets to store small items out of sight. Large baskets like these add texture to the space, while holding items like hand towels, vegetables, snacks, and serving utensils.

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Creative Counter Space

kitchen countertop

Creative stow-and-go solutions are a must in a small kitchen space. Here, a rolling cart tucks neatly into this island to offer additional workspace as needed. The cart can be wheeled throughout the kitchen to give multiple cooks room for meal prep and staging.

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Sleek Cabinets


Inexpensive stock cabinets mimic pricey European imports and enlarge the look of a small kitchen. Metal feet attached to the bottom of the cabinetry help the tiny space feel open and light. Trendy wooden countertops and brushed-aluminum pulls boost style and glamour.

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Glass-Front Cabinet Doors

Break Up Cabinetry Blocks
Kitchen: Sink

Glass-front cabinets ensure a small kitchen remains light, airy, and inviting. If you don't like the idea of having your dishware on display, frosted glass-front doors have a similar effect, but can obscure any mismatched contents.

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Faux Built-In


A false wall built around a freestanding refrigerator gives it the look of an expensive built-in. A shelf above the fridge provides storage and display space for decorative dishware and cookbooks. Chalkboard paint transforms the outer edge of the unit into a handy message center.

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