Small-Kitchen Ideas: Traditional Kitchen Designs

kitchen oven and counter with sink
Find small-kitchen design ideas to fit your home's traditional style. These smart, small kitchen layouts maximize space, pack in must-have kitchen amenities, and all without sacrificing good looks.

U-Shape Floor Plan

In this small kitchen, a peninsula replaces a bulky island, creating better flow in the work zone and a convenient place to eat. Placing the range in the peninsula lets the cook chat with guests, glance out the window, or watch the undercabinet TV. Soft gray-green painted cabinetry and custom Roman shades give this traditional cottage-style kitchen a high-end look.

Kitchen Dimensions: 17' x 12'

U-Shape Floor Plan

In a small kitchen remodel, making the most of every inch is a key to success. This awkward corner was transformed into custom storage out of ordinary shelves, large-scale brackets and a small kitchen cabinet. Both the upper and lower storage pieces were painted to match, and the result is a charming beverage center and display space.

Even the smallest kitchen can be hardworking. Make the most of a small kitchen with these smart layout and floor plan tips.

Small-Space Smarts

When space is at a premium, follow these small kitchen design ideas. As you consider your space, look to small kitchen design images for inspiration, make a list of your must-haves, sketch out ideas, and follow smart kitchen design ideas like these ones, to help you design the kitchen of your dreams.

Character Counts

Small kitchen design ideas don’t just have to focus on the practical. Here, materials and finishes mix and match for a custom look, brimming with style. Alder cabinets, oak and granite countertops, and reclaimed oak plank flooring create a kitchen that is full of character and function. Even the small kitchen island is a showpiece, with curvy corbels beneath the countertops and a soft sage green finish.

Kitchen Dimensions: 15' x 10'

Character Counts

Three kinds of tile, including Harlequin tiles, make a statement on the backsplash above the cooktop. Corbels beneath the upper cabinets are crafted from scraps of alder. Granite countertops complement the rustic cabinets. The entire wall ensemble acts as a focal point of the small kitchen layout.

Traditional decorating is both stylish and classic. Learn how to bring traditional decor into your home with these tips.

All About Traditional Style

Traditional decorating is both stylish and classic. Learn how to bring traditional decor into your home with these tips.

Create an Open Floor Plan

A tiny kitchen—once only 10-feet wide—borrows space from the dining room to create a larger space that is a focal point in the home. While the space was expanded, quarters still remained tight in the small kitchen layout, which now resembles a galley kitchen, rather than a boxed is square. The kitchen’s core functions (wash, prep, store) are arranged within an efficient triangle, while a narrow island serves as bonus space, complete with a prep sink. Artisanry-inspired inset cabinetry, some with glass-front doors, a walnut-top island, and an apron-front sink give the space old-fashioned charm.

Kitchen Dimensions: 10' x 19'

Create an Open Floor Plan

Maximize storage in cabinets with custom touches like tailored sizes and crown molding. Deep drawers hold even extra-large pots. Glass-front upper cabinets show off a collection of colorful party dishes.

Work with What You Have

New windows, marble counters and backsplash, oak floors, open shelving, and a lighter paint color on the cabinets make a once-cramped kitchen live larger without adding an inch to the small kitchen layout. Open shelves, instead of upper cabinets, lighten the visual weight of the space. Shiny surfaces, such as the stainless steel island, professional grade range, and backsplash, help reflect light around the room, giving the impression of more space.

Kitchen Dimensions: 12' x 11'

Work with What You Have

Kitchen design for small spaces often relies on meshing necessities with decorative elements.  Here, copper pans hang from unfinished steel hooks for easy access next to the range, and marble shelves show off white dishes. Both elements keep essentials within reach but do so with visual flair. A black walnut table with soapstone countertop to the left of the range was built over a radiator and adds landing space for baked goods. A mantel over the range hood offers an additional display area.

Floor-to-Ceiling Storage

Vertical storage maximizes space in this long and narrow galley kitchen with cabinets that reach all the way to the ceiling. The additional cabinet space is perfect for keeping occasional use items, like platters and seasonal dishes. Glass-front doors keep the tall cabinets from overwhelming the space.

Kitchen Dimensions: 16' x 10'

Floor-to-Ceiling Storage

While white is touted one of the best small kitchen design ideas, it can sometimes look stark. In this kitchen, white covers most of the visual surfaces - the cabinets, countertops, backsplash, and even the paneled appliances. Creamy yellow paint and rich wood floors warm up the space, creating a small kitchen design that’s warm and inviting, but bright and open, even within a small kitchen layout.

Clean-and-Casual Design

Timeless cabinets painted a modern gray taupe, stainless-steel appliances resting on oak floors, and classic mullion window designs paired with contemporary open shelves yield a kitchen that is the perfect blend of traditional and modern. An open cabinet next to the sink offers space for displaying cookbooks and ceramics and balances the range hood on the opposite side of the window. A shallow shelf over the range keeps frequently-used oils and spices within arm's reach.

Kitchen Dimensions: 18' x 13'

Clean-and-Casual Design

The narrow silhouette of a built-in custom cabinet adds storage and display space to the small kitchen. The multipurpose unit houses dishes and dry goods and is as beautiful as it is functional. Since it was designed to fit the space, the measurements could be specified to the small kitchen layout.

Streamlined Design

A new hardworking island includes seating, lots of storage, a microwave, and a second sink in this updated kitchen. The cherrywood island adds warmth amid the white perimeter cabinets and picks up wood accents throughout the house. While narrower, the dimensions of the island suit the small kitchen layout.

Kitchen Dimensions: 18' x 11'

Streamlined Design

A slide-in range is backed by eye-catching tile and topped with an architectural-style hood. Custom cabinetry incorporates architectural character in the hood and decorative brackets. Gold tones in the tile and wall color bathe the kitchen in a sunny glow, while nickel knobs and pulls on the cabinets add sparkle.

High Impact, Low Cost

Give a small kitchen a dramatic facelift with cosmetic changes that don't break the bank. Adding glass fronts to cabinet doors, installing a wine rack above the fridge, and framing a pressed-tin backsplash detail above the range, all pack a punch, but don't cost a fortune. New, shimmery "jewelry"—brushed-nickel cabinet hardware from a home center—is the finishing touch on the redesigned space.

Kitchen Dimensions: 14' x 12'

High Impact, Low Cost

Painting cabinets is an easy, inexpensive way to update a dated kitchen. White or another light option may have been the obvious route, but black makes a statement in this space and the eggshell finish lends a sophisticated touch. The small kitchen layout was already compact and cozy, and black on the cabinets, soffit, and peninsula enhance the intimate feel. Granite veneer on top of existing countertops gives the kitchen a high-end look for less.

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