46 Small Kitchen Ideas with Big Style

Whether you’re building new, renting, or working with an existing layout, add clever storage and create a cohesive design with these small kitchen ideas.

Painted pink kitchen

Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Small kitchen designs require you to be thoughtful about function and style, but it’s amazing what you can do within these creative constraints. These small kitchens illustrate clever designs that are both beautiful and useful rather than overwhelming or cluttered. Learn how to use all the space you have, select stylish storage, and use color, pattern, and material to make over your small kitchen. Our collection of small kitchen ideas will help you create a space you love.

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Use a Round Table

Kitchen round table

Lincoln Barbour

If you want to squeeze seating into a small kitchen, a round table, which is smaller than square or rectangular tables, is the best option. Or consider banquette seating, which doesn’t require the clearance of a chair.

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Opt for Small-Scale Appliances

Kitchen small appliances

Brie Williams

Small appliances can make a huge difference in the functionality of your kitchen. You can find most appliances, such as refrigerators, ovens, and dishwashers, in a narrow or short size for comparable prices to their full-size counterparts.

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Use the Space Above Cabinets

small kitchen ideas

Kritsada Panichgul

The gap between your cabinets and the ceiling can be critical storage space if you have a small kitchen. Here, wooden framing adds warmth and makes the overhead kitchen storage look intentional.

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Remove Upper Cabinets

Kitchen with removed upper cabinets

Dustin Dorr

Taking down upper cabinets, or even just a few of them, allows for a more open feeling in a small kitchen. Put daily-use dishes on the shelves to prevent them from getting dusty.

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Create Openness

Kitchen with open window

Edmund Barr

Removing a small section of drywall can have a big impact on a small kitchen. Here, a small kitchen window lets in natural light, allows chefs to socialize with those in the next room, and creates a breakfast bar. Before attempting this project, consult with an architect or general contractor to make sure the wall isn't load-bearing.

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Build to the Ceiling

Kitchen cabinets to ceiling

Dylan Chandler

This small kitchen lives large thanks to plenty of ceiling-height cabinetry. A stone backsplash and countertop with veining that complements the blue-gray cabinets both increase the glamour of the room and add to the overall serene feeling.

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Play with Color

Painted pink kitchen

Stacy Zarin Goldberg

This small kitchen uses color in a smart, renter-friendly way. All the permanent elements of the kitchen are neutral, but a stripe of warm pink paint near the ceiling adds dimension and makes the kitchen feel inviting.

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Use Hanging Storage

Kitchen hanging storage

James Nathan Schroder

A mounted pot rack helps save cabinet space and doubles as decor when outfitted with shiny copper cookware. If you have limited wall space, hang the rack from the ceiling or over a window.

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Build a Plate Rack

Kitchen plate rack

Nicole Pankopp

This DIY plate rack has a narrow footprint but makes a stylish impact by keeping favorite items on display. A simple frame decked out with shelves and dowel rods stores platters, plates, cookbooks, and more.

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Find Storage Opportunities

Kitchen storage

Edmund Barr

Look down low for storage opportunities in a small kitchen. A hanging rack with hooks for pots fits perfectly at the end of this island, and the industrial aesthetic of the rack nods to the stool and pendant designs.

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Achieve a Minimalist Kitchen

Minimalist kitchen

Edmund Barr

You can achieve a minimalist look in even the smallest kitchen. Buy only what you need, and commit to using kitchen tools that either suit the aesthetic, like the natural tones shown here, or that can be tucked away.

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Choose Complementary Lighting

Small kitchen lighting

Helen Norman

Lighting is critical in any space, but in a small kitchen, you want to create warmth and brightness without overwhelming the room. Here, a pair of clear glass pendants provide ample lighting without adding visual clutter.

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Find the Right Size Island

small kitchen ideas

Werner Straube

Even a small kitchen can have an island if you’re willing to search for the right size. This industrial table fits perfectly in the narrow kitchen. If you’re on the hunt for something similar, look for a table that’s three feet tall and allows for three to four feet between it and the adjacent cabinets.

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Install a Peg Rail

Kitchen peg rail

Carson Downing

A peg rail is another way to utilize vertical space in a small kitchen. Consider wooden Shaker pegs, or take inspiration from these honed black knobs mounted on polished brass panels.

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Try Stacking Appliances

small kitchen ideas

John Bessler

Combining wall appliances, such as putting a built-in microwave above a wall oven, saves counter space for meal prep. Regarding other small appliances, think about which ones you really need, or consider appliances that do multiple jobs, such as a toaster oven and air fryer.

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Use Wall-Mounted Bins for Storage

small kitchen storage

Laura Moss

A wall-mounted storage system allows a small kitchen to be the administrative hub that it is without taking up floor space. The minimal metal bins here match the overall kitchen color scheme, while storage labels make them more functional.

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Choose a Design Moment

Kitchen design element

John Bessler

One way to approach decorating a small kitchen is to choose a moment, like this patterned tile, and keep the rest of your kitchen design minimal. This ensures that your kitchen shows personality without risk of feeling cluttered.

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Stylish Storage Accessories

Kitchen storage accessories


There are endless ways to add vertical storage to a small kitchen, but you also want them to suit your style. Here, a metal fridge rack and retro knife rack match the overall vintage style of this small kitchen.

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Work within a Color Palette


Kim Cornelison

Just because your kitchen is small doesn’t mean you have to limit your decor. Choose a color palette, and give yourself free rein to mix patterns and materials within that boundary. Here, a neutral palette allows for pops of bright color and plenty of texture, giving the kitchen loads of depth and interest.

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Create Movement

small white kitchen

James Yochum

Build movement into a small kitchen with graphic lines and patterns. The pattern made by the beadboard on this small kitchen's ceiling is repeated in the rug to create a feeling of motion through what could otherwise feel like a stagnant white space. Using three small pendant lights instead of one adds to this sense of rhythm.

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Mix Patterns

Kitchen patterns

Annie Schlechter

Don't be afraid to mix patterns in a small kitchen. This look is successful because the patterns are similar colors, they’re the same scale, and a geometric pattern contrasts with an organic one. Neutral cabinets provide a break for the eyes and ensure the kitchen’s overall style is classic and timeless.

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Choose a Color Palette

Kitchen color palette

Stacey Brandford

Shades of blue, yellow, red. and gray form this small kitchen color palette for an effect that’s cohesive and cheerful. By adding most of the color through accessories, such as dishware on open shelves, the color scheme can easily be changed as preferences change.

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Decorate Open Shelving

open shelving kitchen wood counters
Lincoln Barbour

In a small kitchen, trading upper cabinets for open shelving helps foster an airy look. The key is to avoid cluttering up the shelves with too many items. Mix in a few pieces of pretty dishware or drinkware with accessories such as small vases, wood cutting boards, framed art, or potted plants.

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Add an Area Rug

remodeled shite kitchen red color space rug
Laurey Glenn

Rugs can inject a happy dose of color and pattern into a small kitchen without taking up any wall or counter space. Fill open floor space in the middle of the kitchen with a large area rug, or place a runner along the kitchen's central pathway. This bold red and blue rug makes an impactful statement in a small kitchen otherwise defined by white cabinetry and stainless-steel appliances.

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Incorporate Accessories

kitchen with blue base cabinets and white shelves over sink
Dane Tashima

Like any room in the home, a small kitchen benefits from the addition of a few accessories. The open shelves at one end of this kitchen display leaning frames, pretty dishware, and a few food-related books for a simple small kitchen idea to add decor. The assortment of accessories repeats colors and finishes used elsewhere in the kitchen, including the warm brass of the cabinet hardware and faucet.

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Choose Bold Textiles

gray kitchen sink
Adam Albright

Establish the focal point of a small kitchen with colorful kitchen window treatments. This bold Roman shade, for example, draws attention to the window of this small kitchen while delivering another layer of color amid the blue-gray cabinets and concrete countertops. A polished copper pendant contributes extra shine and style.

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Play with Pattern

white kitchen blue wallpaper graphic backsplash red rug open shelves
Edmund Barr

A classic white space is a perfect canvas for experimenting with small kitchen ideas by adding blue-patterned wallpaper to the backsplash in this room. The blue gives the white room space to breathe. In addition, a vintage area rug adds color underfoot. Both of these are reasonably inexpensive and easy to swap if tastes change.

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Maximize Every Inch

pegboard kitchen storage
Adam Albright

There isn't an inch of unused space in this small kitchen. A pegboard covers a sliver of across from the island, offering easily accessible storage for cookware and utensils. Showcasing a mix of metals and wood tones, the hanging items double as small kitchen decor.

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Add Stylish Light Fixtures

Liz Strong home neutral kitchen
David Tsay

Beyond cabinets and countertops, a stylish small kitchen idea for design is overhead lighting with patterned drum shades or unique pendants. Here, a ceiling-mounted fixture with a woven rattan shade adds texture and emphasis to the sink area. By choosing attractive light fixtures, your small kitchen will feel distinctive and sophisticated.

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Make the Most of Extra Space

wooden open kitchen shelves
Edward Gohlich

Use small kitchen decorating ideas to strategically fill unused parts of the wall or countertop space. In this small kitchen, open shelves corral spices, oils, cookbooks, and other kitchen staples all in one easy-to-reach place. Frequently used countertop items are gathered in shallow baskets and trays, so the display looks purposeful instead of cluttered.

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Put In a Plate Rack

white kitchen with open storage slots for dishes
Marshall Johnson

Often found in traditional cottage-style kitchens, a plate rack is perfect for breaking up a run of cabinetry and putting pretty dishware on display. Fill the rack with plates in a contrasting color for a fun accent, or keep it cohesive with dishes that coordinate with your cabinetry. As a bonus, this small kitchen decorating idea also makes putting away dishes quicker and easier.

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Choose Colorful Stools

dark gray kitchen with subway tile backsplash and green stools
Frances Janisch

Add color to your small kitchen with island stools in vibrant color. Either purchase stools in a bright finish or revamp existing furniture with fresh paint. These jade stools provide stylish island seating and establish the foundation for the rest of the small kitchen color scheme.

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Boost Organization

hidden cabinet pockets kitchen fridge
Anthony Masterson

Unused space next to the fridge is an ideal spot to tack up grocery lists, hang keys, or sort mail and papers. To minimize visual clutter in a small kitchen, consider hiding the display behind a closed door. Here, shallow shelves that stash all sorts of essentials are recessed into the wall and disguised by a tall cabinet door.

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Utilize Additional Storage

kitchen rack near fridge subway tile
James R. Salomon

A narrow shelf or rolling storage cart can be a stylish and practical addition to a small kitchen. Choose a low-profile design that can easily slide against a wall or into a corner. Stock it with dishes, glassware, and other items that will look good on display.

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Choose Art with Personality

ice wall art baking station
Helen Norman

Step outside the standards of small kitchen ideas and choose unique art pieces that showcase your personality. Vintage signs, classic advertisements, and art intended for other rooms often look right at home in the kitchen. Select artwork that fits in with your decorating style, whether you prefer a vintage, modern, or classic look.

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Wallpaper the Ceiling

Kitchen ceiling wallpaper

Sarah Alba

Wallpaper on the ceiling makes this small kitchen feel cozy, yet draws the eyes upward to visually expand the room. To achieve a similar look, choose a pattern that complements the permanent elements of the kitchen, like cabinets or flooring. It’s a good idea to make sure your kitchen is well-ventilated before wallpapering, as excess moisture may cause the paper to peel.

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Use Open Shelves Thoughtfully

Kitchen open shelving

Jim Franco

Open shelves go a long way to add style and function to this small kitchen. The top shelf houses minimally used but high-impact decorative objects. The varied scale and vivid color of the ginger jars add interest and contrast. The bottom shelf holds items used every day, keeping them within easy reach.

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Plan Ahead for Storage

Kitchen storage

Kritsada Panichgul

This small kitchen idea shows how you can engineer new storage opportunities into even the tiniest spaces. By using a ductless range hood, homeowners were able to add a cabinet for large pots above the stove.

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Play Up Pattern in Tile

black and white mosaic backsplash
Kim Cornelison

A striking backsplash can be a worthwhile splurge in a small kitchen. In this otherwise standard white space, the patterned backsplash tile adds personality and much-needed movement to the small kitchen. A classic black-and-white color scheme can be easily accented by different colors as styles change.

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Showcase Color

cottage kitchen
Adam Albright

In this one-wall kitchen, open upper cabinets help the room feel spacious and allow space for displaying colorful accessories. Showcase dishware, potted herbs, and other kitchen decor that fits your small kitchen color scheme. Closed cabinets below are perfect for storing items you don't want on display.

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Cover Walls with Color

green kitchen with black countertops
Robert Brinson

For a simple yet impactful small kitchen idea, give walls a cheery coat of color. In this clean-lined white kitchen, kiwi-green walls add playful flair and inspire the rest of the kitchen decor. Primary-color accessories continue the retro-mod theme.

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Install a Showstopping Backsplash

u-shape kitchen with decorative tile
James R. Salomon

Looking for small kitchen decorating ideas that sparkle? This otherwise-subdued kitchen goes glam with stainless-steel tile behind the range. Even a tiny portion of eye-catching backsplash tile in a small space adds drama and personality.

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Display Colorful Linens

classic white kitchen with black countertops
Anthony Masterson

Consider linens a small kitchen design idea in addition to a hardworking kitchen accessory. Colorful towels and vintage aprons are practical and pretty when hung on hooks or displayed in plain view. Mixing colors and patterns adds extra interest to the room.

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Display Collections

white cabinets with grey counters
Stacey Brandford

Make use of small kitchen ideas that double as storage. For example, adding simple shelves between cabinets in front of a window creates a stylish spot to display a collection. The light coming in through the window will make your collected pieces shine.

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Go Beyond Removing Doors

open shelving kitchen pantry
Lisa Mowry

Take an additional step beyond removing cabinet doors and displaying dishes in a small kitchen. For extra style, outfit the now-open storage with textured baskets, bins, and pretty glass storage containers. The small kitchen decorating idea adds texture and color. At the same time, the glass storage containers keep what you need neatly on display.

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Try Patterned Decals

ceramic tiles decorative backsplash
Cameron Sadeghpour

Add some pattern to a plain backsplash with stick-on decals. This small kitchen decor idea is easy to apply and mimics the look of expensive patterned tile. Plus, decals can be swapped out at any time to make changing the look of your kitchen quick and inexpensive.

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