How to Make the Most of Your Small Kitchen

As famed chef Mario Batali puts it: "Only bad cooks blame the equipment. I can make almost every dish in my restaurants on four crummy electric burners with a regular oven." We echo Batali's sentiment that you don't need a top-of-the-line Wolf range to prepare a delicious meal, and we'll add hat you also don't need an expansive space to have a functional kitchen that you love to spend time in. There a number of ways to make a small kitchen feel grand; read on below four our eight must-try tips.

everything The most important step in making a small space efficient is getting organized. We may not go so far as to label our jars of pasta, but labeling where things actually go can be transformative. If you have closed cabinetry, adhere small pieces of tape to the front of your glassware shelves, for example, that say things like "coffee mugs," "wine glasses," or "to-go cups" -- you'll be astounded by how easy it is to stick to it. Or, simply draw a map of where everything belongs to keep on hand; you can refer to it if your kitchen becomes untidy, or if you're looking for something specific.
manhattannest Switching to open shelving can make a huge impact in your small kitchen because it eliminates visual heft, creating an airier environment that doesn't feel cramped. Consider replacing your cabinet doors with glass ones, taking the doors off of your cabinets entirely, or installing floating shelves.
cohesive Clutter will make any room feel smaller than it is, but in small spaces, there's only so much we can do to pare down our obsessions. One of our favorite tricks for small spaces is to stick with things that match or have a distinct palette. A set of all-white plates will practically disappear against a white wall, and a collection of pots, pans, and appliances in the same finish will look remarkably neat.
small Do you need wine glasses with four-inch stems when short bistro glasses will do? Do you need a 16-cup food processor if you're only cooking for two? Consider a smaller cutting board for chopping vegetables or an apartment-sized refrigerator if you're not feeding a family. In a word, edit!
iconify_0 Small spaces often also have the misfortune of being dark. If that's the case in your home, forego the curtains and let in as much natural light as possible. Make sure you have ambient lighting overhead, and task lighting to shine light on your prep and cooking areas. Countertops can be shadowed by cabinetry above, so consider installing under-cabinet lighting if that's an issue.
table A small folding table or a table with leaves is a smart option for small kitchens. They will act as island for everyday tasks, but you can expand them if you're tackling a bigger cooking project or hosting guests for dinner. Tall step stools can also double as seating when you want to take a load off or when you have an extra guest at dinner.
color White walls always feel larger than colored walls, but pops of color are essential to creating a happy space that you love to be in. Bring in a bright, cheerful colors in your cabinetry, accessories, lighting, appliances, or even your ceiling.
douglasfriedman1 The kitchen may be one of your home's most functional spaces, but that's no reason it shouldn't inspire you. Hang art that you love, lay down a rug with a pattern you adore, and set up speakers so you can sing along to while you stir. Bring in things that make you smile.
Do you have a small kitchen? What have you done to make it an efficient and enjoyable space? Photographs: Iconify via Coco Cozy, Int2 Architectre via My Paradissi, Polly Wreford, Manhattan Nest, Smitten Studio, Bright Bazaar, Manhattan Nest, Douglas Friedman, Trevor Tondro, Smitten Studio, Domino, Catherine Kwong, Iconify via Coco Cozy, Dwell, Leela Cyd for Rue, Kinfolk, Arkpad, Design Sponge, Accessorize Your Home, Douglas Friedman, Ingrid Asmussen