Style knows no boundaries. Whether you’re decorating a tent on a remote beach, an industrial loft, or the tiniest kitchen known to man, there’s always an opportunity to exert your own personal sense of style on a space. You may not love that there are only a few feet between your refrigerator door and the cabinets across from it, but with some thoughtful use of color, pattern, and material, you can turn even the narrowest galley kitchen into a place you love to look at. We’ve scoured the web to find the cream of the crop of small kitchen ideas for you.
We hope these 50 style-savvy small kitchen ideas will inspire you.
Try Open Shelving
This narrow kitchen is laid out like so many rental apartment kitchens we’ve seen before. Nixing closed cabinetry in favor of open shelving elevates the space dramatically, while the wall art adds a punchy bit of personality. It also gives an opportunity to showcase decorative dishware and other items you may normally be forced to keep behind closed doors.
In this bright white modern kitchen, the designer used clean lines, a light palette, and simple, minimalist style. The result creates an airy, spacious feeling—despite the room’s small square footage. Since there’s not much countertop to speak of, the designer brought in a kitchen table, which can also be used for prep work.
Use Modern Cabinetry
There’s barely enough room to turn around in this tiny kitchen, but its designer did a wonderful job of preventing a claustrophobic feeling by using modern, clean cabinets. The sleek lines and horizontal layout give the appearance of more room, which is a bonus. A white color palette also helps open up the space.
Incorporate Luxe Materials
This kitchen may be petite, but luxe materials—like black marble countertops and golden cabinet pulls—give it a fine jewelry effect. You can get a similar look but switching out your hardware for something more luxurious. In narrow spaces like this, too much pattern or color can be overwhelming, so the designer opted for cream cabinetry and just a touch of pattern in a herringbone mat.
This beautiful small kitchen has so many things to love: simple open shelves, a fuss-free hood, rustic wooden countertops, beautiful seafoam green cabinetry, and classic black-and-white tiled flooring. It’s a perfect example of how dreamy a small space can blossom with thoughtful consideration of details. You can do the same by taking into account what your kitchen needs and designing with those aspects in mind.
Sensing a theme here? Clean white walls and cabinets are almost always a foolproof choice for small kitchens, given their ability to make a small area look larger. A beautiful collection of cutting boards and freshly picked blooms add a little personal style to the simple look of this kitchen.
Play with Color
White is failsafe, but if you love color, don’t shy away from it. Design firm Dzek made a one-of-a-kind choice with these floating shelves, deep forest green cabinets, and speckled countertops. Adding some of your favorite colors can make your kitchen a place you're excited to be in, which is important given how much time you'll likely spend there.
Add in Pastels
Layers upon layers of pastel colors, sleek hardware, white marble counters, a well-loved area rug, and indoor plants make this bright kitchen remarkably unique and cheerful. Despite its awkward shape, it’s still a space we’d love to cook in. If you're trying to find a middle ground between all-white and color, pastels can serve as a great solution, especially when used sparingly.
Fake It 'Til You Make It
Live in an apartment with laminate counters and dated appliances? As this beauty proves, there’s hope yet. The trick here is to remove your cabinet doors to create a feeling of openness (and effectively fake open shelving), then use pretty dishware and serving pieces to function as décor.
Let Architectural Details Shine
Sleek cabinetry and a monochrome palette give this European kitchen simple beauty. The graphic, architectural details—like the accordion sconce and the paned window—take it to the next level. Pay attention to the unique parts of your kitchen that already exist, and figure out a way to highlight them thoughtfully.
Add Fun Accessories
Even the most basic space can feel full of personality with the addition of a few unique accessories. Choosing personal, even unusual, accessories to grace your space with can change the entire feeling of the room–don't be afraid to experiment. As an example, we love the futuristic chrome pendant, folk candelabra, and figurative linocut in this Scandinavian kitchen.
Head to IKEA
A cramped kitchen can be transformed without having to break the bank. Call on affordable brands like IKEA and shop for supplies at Home Depot to update your cabinets, shelves, and lighting. Then give everything a fresh coat of paint. Despite all of this kitchen's low-budget elements, the geometric runner gives it a designer finish.
Get Statement Lighting
If you're looking for a way to upgrade your theme, what better way to go about it than choosing a stunning statement lighting piece? This New York City kitchen, decorated by BHDM Design, is a great example. A bit of gray paint, a stylish ceiling fixture in the breakfast nook, and a smart vertical storage space gave this small galley kitchen a sophisticated update.
This small kitchen has style in spades. The bright white cabinets and asymmetrical pendant lights had us at hello, but the interesting mix of a colorful striped runner, retro country-style furniture, and lived-in linen curtains pack in the personality. When it comes to your personal style, find items that make you feel at home as well as fulfill their intended purpose–if you love your space, it's likely others will, too.
Ditch the Hardware
Designed by French architecture firm A+B Kasha, this small and oddly-shaped kitchen in an old Parisian building looks like it was originally a closet. Still, its designers installed handleless wooden cupboards and a classic hood to take it into the 21st century. Removing the hardware can create a sleek finish worthy of admiration.
Install Custom Cabinets
Make smart use of your limited space by installing custom cabinetry sized and shaped exactly to fit your kitchen tools and serving pieces. A short shelf houses everyday coffee mugs, while little cubbies provide shelter for mixing bowls and cake stands.
In a small kitchen, keep all cabinetry housed beneath the counters and just the prettiest pieces on display so the space feels airy and clutter-free.
Take Cues from Architecture
Taking design cues from architecture is always a smart idea. We love the way the rustic wood-paneled walls blend seamlessly into the floating shelves. The wooden furniture also does a nice job of reflecting the architecture, so if you’re working with a kitchen that blends right into the formal dining room, take note from the above.
Quite the romantic space, this petite kitchen looks like it was inspired by a Parisian patisserie. White marble cabinets, a magenta runner, blooming florals, and ladylike details give this galley kitchen a gorgeous personality, while strategically placed mirrors add flair. You can add mirrors to your space to not only serve as sophisticated dećor but also add to the illusion of a larger space.
Keep It Timeless
Clean country accessories give this compact kitchen a farmhouse vibe, but the foundations of it—subway tile, granite counters, and white beadboard—are classic and timeless, should the owners want to go in a different direction. Keeping your dećor simple and classic can allow a clean slate for larger change later on. It can also work well if you prefer to leave things as they are since they'll never go out of style.
Be Strategic with Appliance Placement
The hoodless stovetop on the kitchen island is a genius use of space—and that pastel, vintage-inspired serving set might be the cutest collection ever. We love how it draws on the sleek light pink and white marble backsplash, tying the space together. If you want to add an edgier feel, try going darker with your cabinets, like the navy ones shown here.
Use Earthy Tones
This contemporary kitchen has something many smaller spaces don’t: warmth. We love how its designers extended the earthy-toned cabinetry into the kitchen stools and vases. Adding nature-inspired hues and plants can allow your small kitchenette to feel like an extension of the outdoors, and a larger space altogether.
Not only is hanging your pots and pans on the wall a solution for a lack of square footage, but the trick also adds a graphic element to the surroundings. Especially if you have a collection you're proud of, it makes perfect sense to display them for others to see. Don’t believe it if someone says you can’t make space for all your cookware in the kitchen.
If you have a soft spot for both traditional and modern aspects, don't fret–you can incorporate both. A mix of traditional furniture and modern appliances gives this Swedish kitchen a healthy balance. The floor adds a fun pop of pattern.
If you're trying to create a sophisticated kitchen to work with, try decorating with industrial elements: think wrought iron, brick style, and neutral colors. This kitchen does the style justice. Hello, gorgeous subway tile, sexy industrial pendant light and stools, rustic exposed wood beams, and barely-there floating shelves. We don’t believe we’ve seen a more enigmatic kitchen.
Update Your Appliances
A simple way to add a modern feel is to switch out your older appliances for sleeker versions. This dated little kitchen was given a sophisticated new look with lacquered surfaces, light wooden cabinets, and brand-new appliances. It feels 100% East Hampton, although it’s situated in the heart of New York City.
Let the Natural Light In
While the color white can do wonders for making a small space feel larger, it's not the only design concept to keep in mind. Allowing in natural light by keeping your windows bare will make the outside world feel like an extension of your kitchen, especially if your windows are naturally large. Pairing with white walls and floors will make your kitchen appear much more spacious.
Try a Dining Nook
Trying to create a designated space to eat in the mornings isn't only for larger kitchens. Instead of a large dining room table with chairs all the way around, pick a table and invest in a small sectional to go against the corner. Additional chairs can be added and taken away as needed. The result is a cozy space to eat and enjoy your day.
Ditch Your Dining Table for the Bar
If you're really limited on space, consider forgoing a dining table altogether and opt for bar seating instead. Purchase stunning yet comfortable stools and place them at the countertop and give the counter double the purpose. It saves room yet still looks stylish.
Try a Vintage Floor Runner
Runners were essentially made for long narrow spaces–so use them. If you're leaning towards a mostly white kitchen, your rug can be a chance to showcase color and personality. Whether you want something simple, bold, patterned, or vintage you're bound to find an option that suits your style needs and makes a big impression.
Opt for Shallow Cabinets
It's not unusual to need extra storage space, yet finding it in a smaller kitchen can be quite the challenge. Extra cabinetry is always an option, but the idea can seem bulky. However, there are plenty of cabinets that aren't quite as deep or wide–you can easily find shallower options to fit your storing needs that are fit your aesthetic yet are compact and not in the way.
Install Cabinets All the Way Around
Trying to find space for everything in your kitchen may feel like a hassle, but it doesn't have to be–it just takes some reimagining of your layout. Try installing cabinetry not only above and below your sink but on the sides as well in a connected rectangle. You can choose open or closed shelving, but the result is more storage space that doesn't look cluttered or clunky. Another tip: choose a stunning color for your cabinets, given they will be taking up most of your wall space this way.
Use Floating Shelves
If you're feeling like your cabinets truly are cramping your space, take out your upper cabinets altogether and replacing them with floating shelves. Whether you lean towards longer options or several smaller versions arranged in a particular manner, you have plenty of options and styles to choose from. The result is a much more open atmosphere that doesn't skimp on the storage space.
Extend Your Theme to The Dining Room
In open concept floor plans, you are lucky enough to make your smaller kitchen feel larger by allowing it to flow into the next adjacent room. However, the illusion can be hindered if your theme and color scheme from one room is vastly different from the other. When designing and decorating your kitchen, include similar color schemes, patterns, and finishes from the rooms surrounding it to make the space feel like an extension rather than an interruption.
Dare to Go Dark and Dramatic
While some may prefer to go with white or brighter colors in a smaller space, we still love a moody color scheme. If you're a fan of darker tones, the key is to create contrast and varying textures to keep things lively. The green backsplash breaks up the dark wood cabinets, while the gold faucet and rustic decor add a distinct sense of style that isn't overshadowed by the deep hues dominating the space.
Get Creative With Floor Tiles
Your walls aren't the only place you can get creative when it comes to dećor–your floor has plenty of possibilities. Especially with smaller square footage to work with, laying tiles is a great way to add some serious personality. We love this mosaic pattern floor tiles in this kitchen–it adds a modern flair and is the star of the show.
Combine Rustic Wood With Black Cabinetry
Kitchens are a great place to implement a rustic theme. Pairing black upper cabinets with dark, unfinished wood for the lower ones really sets the tone for the space. Add the wrought iron and wood floating shelf and the other black and wood accents in the dećor and you've got a simple, classic style anyone would love.
Clear Some Counter Space
With limited counter space, it's often the goal to downsize your appliances and other storage items to keep your space clear. Knife blocks are handy to keep your cutlery where you can reach, but can be a bit clunky. Rather than storing your knives in a drawer, try installing a magnetic knife strip on the wall–it opens up counter space while still keeping your knives where you can access them.
Make the Most of Unusual Shaped Spaces
If your kitchen has an unusual shape, that doesn't mean it can't be stylish. Make the most of unusual space shapes by using bold colors to brighten things up. You can also cut down floating shelves to fit reasonably wherever you need storage. Hang up utensils and other items you consistently use and pare down the things you don't need to save space.
Get Playful With Patterns
If the idea of placing wallpaper or patterns all across your walls feels overwhelming, try concentrating the design on a smaller aspect instead. The island can be a perfect area to showcase a fun design and add some flair to a neutral space. Removable wallpaper can be a non-committal way to test things out and change things up on occasion.
Try a Monochromatic Color Scheme
Monochromatic color schemes aren't just for larger kitchens–they work incredibly well in any size. Decorating can feel overwhelming at times, but sticking with similar colors throughout a room can help alleviate some of the stress and create a cohesive look. You can go bold or stick with traditional neutral colors, like the soft gray pictured above, but the result creates a streamlined and modern atmosphere.
Downsize The Island
Kitchen islands are a common staple. However, in smaller spaces it can difficult to determine if one will fit without becoming a nuisance. Rather than ditching an island altogether, try downsizing so you can keep the surface space without taking up too much room. Another option for creating more space: place cabinets around the corner and create a small station for your morning coffee to keep things out of the way yet still easy to reach.
Align Your Appliances
Appliances easily take up a larger amount of space, but are absolutely necessary. Investing in smaller versions is always an option, but also strategically placing them will do wonders. Lining up your microwave with your oven or dishwasher in a compact fashion will keep everything neat and accessible while freeing up space to be used for other things.
Let Your Backsplash Set The Theme
If you're having a hard time figuring out where to start when creating a theme, pick on a specific area and allow that to set the tone for the rest of your dećor decisions. The backsplash is an ideal candidate, given its placement and wide array of possibilities. This backsplash filled the space with hand-painted terracotta tiles that served as the inspiration for the color palette and overall feel of the kitchen.
Play Around With Pink
You don't have to stick with neutral colors–all the other color options are on the table. A medium pink on the walls, chairs, and tile floor add a retro feeling to the eclectic vibe, and are contrasted with white cabinets to keep things balanced. Incorporate warm wooden accents to add some texture.
Get Fancy With Your Faucet
Even the smallest aspects can make a giant impact–especially when it comes to plumbing and hardware. Even if your theme is mostly modern, you can mix styles by switching out your faucet for something more ornate. A fancier faucet can be a quick and easy way to add some serious style without going overboard.
Try Color Blocking Your Cabinets
If your goal is to make a big impression in a small space, look no further than your kitchen cabinets. While you can paint all your cabinets the same shade, you can also try color blocking as a stunning delightful option. Color blocking is the technique of pairing two or more colors together and can create a variety of stunning combinations to fit your preferences. If you're feeling daring, try using brighter hues on your upper cabinets to brighten things up.
Draw the Eye Upward
You may not have much horizontal space to work with, but that doesn't mean you're out of luck, While you're decorating, keep in mind the concept of drawing the eye upward–whether by using an accent wall with vertical lines or placing dećor higher up on the walls to capture attention. Take advantage of your vertical space and keep the attention focused there to distract from the smaller square footage.
Install an Eye-Catching Backsplash
Using the space available to you is important, especially when you're trying to create a focal point. A stunning backsplash is ideal for showcasing your creative side and playing around with color and design. Even a simple geometric pattern makes a statement in an all-white kitchen and doesn't require additional space.
Use Upper Cabinets for Handy Shelving
Rather than installing additional shelving along with your cabinets, take into account if there is any unused space you can work with. If your cabinets don't stretch to the ceiling, the top can be used for additional shelving of dećor items you may not need to access constantly. It can serve as a chance to add some personal and distinct touches or for storing your collection of cookbooks that are likely taking up valuable counter space.
Have Fun With Wallpaper
Paint and tile are common in kitchen settings, but don't underestimate the potential of wallpaper. Removable wallpaper can serve as the perfect opportunity to add some exciting design to your space, even if it's just on one wall or around to top serving as a border. You don't have to stick to solid colors or subtle designs–the possibilities are endless.