Every now and then, an interior design trend becomes so pervasive that it deserves to be called a phenomenon. And one quick look at Instagram would suggest the small white kitchen has earned the label.
Small white kitchens aren’t as strange or eye-catching as some other trends. In fact, they’re completely sensible: the color white is known to make spaces look larger and more open, and the crisp neutral makes a natural addition to the kitchen, which is typically a bright and light-filled space.
So if you’re navigating a small kitchen that you know you want to paint white, you’re in luck. Small white kitchen ideas abound—and we’ve rounded up 27 of our favorites, below.
Tuck Away Your Microwave
Counter space is precious in any kitchen, but it’s particularly precious in smaller kitchens as appliances tend to take up a fair amount of room. So, look for ways to relegate them to your shelves and cabinets. Your microwave wouldn’t have to hog space on your counter if it had its own cubby to live in.
Use Curtains to Segment Your Space
It makes sense to create boundaries between different rooms, but doors aren’t your only option. In fact, doors can be a pretty bad option when you’re decorating a small space. Why? When they’re shut, they leave the room feeling cramped. And when they’re open, they demand unnecessary space. So, consider trading your door for a sleek curtain—which will take up little space at all.
Turn a Portable Island Into a Statement-Maker
One easy way to add functionality to a small kitchen? Snag a portable island. There are tons of great options out there, and you can decide whether you want one that matches your kitchen perfectly or one that introduces a new color to your palette, as pictured here.
Invest in Cute Kitchenware
When decorating a small kitchen, open storage is your friend. Shelves tend to be lower-profile than cupboards, so they should make your kitchen feel more spacious. Remember, though, that anything you put on those shelves will be on full display, so it’s worth it to streamline your kitchenware and invest in dishes, mugs, and glasses cute enough to double as décor.
Add Eat-In Space Wherever You Can
Most small kitchens go hand-in-hand with nonexistent dining rooms. So odds are, you’re in need of a little eat-in space, too. Look for unexpected places to sneak in a chair or two. Your kitchen island could easily double as a table—especially if you slide some low-profile chairs underneath it.
Play With Shape Instead of Color
Looking for ways to add personality to your space without sacrificing your crisp all-white palette? It can be done. Instead of choosing classic white subway tiles for your backsplash, opt for triangular tiles. The out-of-the-box shape will add visual interest to your space while keeping things exactly as clean and minimalist as you want them to be.
Store Your Plates Sideways
Stacking your plates may not be the most efficient way to store them. Why? If your plates are circular, you may lose space around the edges. And a plate rack—which stores your plates on their sides—may help you recapture some of this space. Build one into your cupboards, or score a budget-friendly version at your favorite storage solutions store.
Sprinkle in Bold Accents
White may be your base color, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sprinkle in an accent color or two. Look for places to switch up your palette. Your pendant lights, barstools, shelves, and doorknobs are all excellent candidates.
If you want to keep things sleek, you can always color-coordinate all of those accents.
Play With Texture
Adding color is just one way to make a space feel more dynamic, but adding texture can also go a long way, especially when you’re working with a more restrained palette. So, look for opportunities to mix and match materials. Matte metal pendant lights look great next to rustic wooden shelves, and both play well with glossy backsplash tiles.
Cover Your Range Hood
Covered range hoods have become increasingly popular in the interior design space, thanks to their ability to make range hoods fit in with the rest of a décor scheme, so know that your carefully curated palette doesn’t have to end at your range hood. By covering your range hood—or by snagging a white option to begin with—you can keep your palette pristine.
Make the Most of Your Corners
In smaller kitchens, corners can feel like wasted space—that is, unless you make yours as efficient as possible. Instead of letting a seemingly useless corner get you down, look for ways to make it more functional. Could you extend your countertop and add a few barstools to craft a makeshift dining nook?
Stock Up on Small Appliances
If classic appliances just won’t fit into your space, look for smaller options. Trade a full-blown oven for a toaster oven, and swap a 6-burner range for a 2-burner range. These may not be the kinds of appliances you’d find in every kitchen, but they’re better than nothing. And hey—who needs six burners, anyway?
Put a Shelf in Your Window
One underrated place to sneak in storage? Your windows. If a window is deep enough, you can store a few items on your sill, and if you want to take things to the next level, you can even build a shelf into a window. A glass shelf should maximize your storage space without disrupting your view, and you can line it as much—or as little—as you want to.
Customize Your Space With Trim
Outfitting your kitchen with trim and crown molding can get expensive fast. But if your kitchen is on the small side, you can pull off the classic motif without spending too much money.
Draw the Eye Upward
All-white palettes tend to leave rooms feeling more spacious, and if you use them along the top of your space, they may leave your ceilings looking taller, too. Draw the eye upward with white pendant lights, white trim, and white cabinets.
Any one of these elements would make a difference, but combined, they’re just about guaranteed to transform your space.
Look for Sneaky Places to Add Storage
When storage space is of the essence, it pays to get creative. So, look for unexpected places to sneak in more storage. Add cabinets under every counter and on every wall, and double-check to make sure your island is lined with drawers and cabinets, too.
Cozy Things Up With a Rug
Décor can bring a room together, but it can also demand a fair amount of space, so look for opportunities to add low-profile, high-impact accents. One statement-making piece that won’t hog unnecessary space? A rug. And since machine-washable options abound these days, you won’t have to worry about swapping yours out in the event of a spill.
Craft a Matching Dining Nook
If you have room for a dining table and chairs, by all means, add them. And if they’re a ways away from your kitchen, consider keeping them in-palette. The consistent color scheme will visually associate them with your kitchen, making the two spaces feel more connected.
Put Your Prettiest Necessities on Display
When counter space is low, it can feel frivolous to make room for décor. But, there are some clever ways to bridge this gap. One of them? Put some of your prettiest must-haves on display. Leave a bowl of grapes, a few spare pears, and a slightly used kitchen towel on your counter. If you cluster them together, you’ll have a scene worthy of still life—and you’ll free up some pantry space, while you’re at it.
Snag a Sleek White Cooktop
If you want to create the illusion of a more open and spacious kitchen, buy a cooktop that matches your countertops. And no, that doesn’t mean black countertops are your only option. There are plenty of white cooktops out there that are sure to look great on your clean, white countertops.
Keep Your Palette Crisp
Color makes a lovely addition to any home, but if you want your space to look as clean and uncluttered as possible, consider sticking to a pared-down palette. That doesn’t mean that everything has to be white, but keeping your accent colors consistent will help you cut down on visual clutter, which can make your space look and feel more cramped.
Invest in Pretty Hardware
Streamlining your hardware is a great idea in any kitchen, and it’s a particularly great idea in a smaller one. Why? For one thing, you have less hardware to worry about—so it’s easier (and budget-friendlier) to make sure all of it looks great. Being low on decorative accents also means that every piece in your space, from your faucet to your drawer pulls, will have an outsized impact.
Look for Places to Add Character
When decorating a small space, it makes sense to prioritize efficiency at every turn. But that doesn’t mean forgoing personality, character, and décor entirely. Could you leave some of the structural elements in your space textured and exposed? And could you swap some traditional necessities—like your teapot and your bread holder—with sleeker, more décor-worthy options?
Add Art Where You Can
Art can make a striking addition to any kitchen, and it can look particularly bold in a small one. So if you have some wall space to spare, consider adding a painting, and if you’re concerned about keeping your palette consistent, opt for a piece with faint colors or pick something with a lot of white space.
Take a Risk on a Showstopping Accent
It might not seem like it, but bold accents are actually easier to pull off in small spaces than they are in large ones. Why? Bold pieces are often best in small doses, and in small spaces, small doses are all you have. So, take a risk on a striking countertop or a bold backsplash. The accent is sure to transform your space, and if you keep your palette pared-down, it’s unlikely to overwhelm it.
Make the Most of Your Space
When navigating a small space, creativity is a must. Look for unusual ways to add functionality: for example, a slanted ceiling may not pair well with a classic range hood, but it will pair well with a slanted one. Try not to write anything off until you know it’s truly impossible.
Don’t Shy Away From a Reno
A kitchen renovation may sound daunting, but when you’re navigating a small space, it’s often worth it. For one thing, a renovation can give you the functionality you just can’t get from a simple makeover. Plus, since your space is small, there’s not that much to renovate. You can make something truly special without expending too much time, effort, or money.